By now you’ve heard the sad news. The beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak died yesterday at the age of 83. Of course, he’s best remembered for his classic tale, Where the Wild Things Are (1963). But some readers may hold a special place in their hearts for his 1970 picture book, In the Night Kitchen. It’s a surreal story that was named one of the Outstanding Children’s Books of 1970 by The New York Times. It’s also a story that stirred up some controversy. At points in the illustrated book, the three year old protagonist appears naked, shocking some critics and readers. These days, you’ll find the book ranking 25th on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000.
In 1980, illustrator Gene Deitch got beyond the controversy and produced a five minute, faithful adaptation of In the Night Kitchen. It appears above, and it’s now rightfully added to the Animation section of our big collection of 475 Free Movies Online.
- Maurice Sendak’s Fresh Air interview recorded last September was extremely poignant and worth a listen.
- Art Spiegelman (Maus) visited Sendak in 1993 and created a great illustration of their meeting in The New Yorker.
- The Mind & Art of Maurice Sendak: An insightful video sketch recorded last year by the Tate Museums.
- Sendak on Death (And Life). From documentary by Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs.
My favorite is Pierre. Carole King sang it to my kids and grand kids.