Watch the Animation of Maurice Sendak’s Surreal and Controversial Story, In the Night Kitchen

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.

Bonus Mate­r­i­al:

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.