Did you ever hear of Mickey, how he heard a racket in the night…

Our worn copy of In the Night Kitchen

… and shouted QUIET DOWN THERE!

The first thing I learned from Facebook this morning was that Maurice Sendak died. His life is part of my family history because he wrote and illustrated a book that was my son’s favorite as a little guy – starting well before the age of 2. Our book is well-worn from repeated reading and carrying it about from place to place – always at the ready to sit and enjoy it one more time.

Sendak is probably best known for Where the Wild Things Are. The favorite at our house was In the Night Kitchen, the story of Mickey who wakes in the night and has an adventure with three bakers who look like Oliver Hardy and who shout repeatable refrains like  “Milk! Milk! Milk for the morning cake!”

A Page from "In the Night Kitchen"

As was true for several of his books, there was a bit of controversy over In the Night Kitchen – in this book because of the anatomically correct illustrations. When I delivered my son to a mom in our baby-sitting co-op, I’d take along his book and tell her that if there were any problems, just read this book. Upon my return, I would sometimes get a raised eyebrow and a comment about the “interesting” pictures. But we didn’t care ’cause “We bake cake! And nothing’s the matter!”

Back in December, I was moved by this interview with Maurice Sendak on Fresh Air on NPR.

Thanks for the memories Maurice and Mickey.

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