I was sorry to hear that we lost a great artist and writer this week. Maurice Sendak, author of the iconic Where The Wild Things Are, has passed away. As an aspiring children’s book author, I admire Sendak’s artistry, his imagination, and his enduring contribution to the literary lives of children.
Candidly, I am also mad at myself for not reaching out to Sendak before it was too late. One of the items on my to-do list was to contact Sendak requesting an answer to a burning question. (“Call Sendak With Question” was just under “get a job,” “buy a bra that fits,” and “learn to love Harry Potter books.”).
So, I am asking y’all, my proxies for the beloved Sendak:
What the hell is the book, In The Night Kitchen, about?
Sadie loves this book and I vascillate. Sometimes, I think it’s naughty– I mean, what’s with Mickey being naked in the batter? And the sexual imagery: “But right in the middle of the steaming and the making and the smelling and the baking Mickey poked through…” I always wonder if the book is better suited to adolescent boys when I read, “He kneaded and punched it and pounded and pulled.” I wanted to ask Sendak if this was a manual for self-pleasure.
I am almost ok with the seedy under tones of this story, because my kids haven’t caught on, and frankly, I don’t get out much.
Sometimes I think maybe it’s just a whimsical story about three rotund bakers and a spirited little boy. It’s not Mickey’s fault my mind is in the gutter.
But in the wake of Sendak’s death, I mourn the man and the answers I will never get. I guess the good news is there’s one less item on my to-do list.