The Book - In the Night Kitchen
Sendak seems to specialize in dreamlike situations. Similar to Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen involves a little boy's nighttime adventure. Mickey hears noises outside his bedroom, but when he yells for quiet, he falls down down down, past his parents and out of his clothes into the Night Kitchen. Thinking he's the milk, the bakers mix him into their batter, but Mickey jumps out and forms the dough into an airplane. He then flies to a giant milk jug and delivers the bakers their milk for the "morning cake". After a cock-a-doodle-do, he slides down the milk jug and back into his own bed.
While Dream Kitchen shares many elements of Wild Things - little boy protagonist, dream-sequence, adventure in a strange land, leaving and returning to the safety of the bedroom - it lacks the charm of Wild Things. Naughty Max and his raucous monsters are strangely endearing. Mickey and the bakers are just strange. Now, in all fairness, I do not have any little boys. If I did, perhaps naked Mickey (yes, he's naked for much of the story, and yes, he's anatomically correct) and his cock-a-doodling, dough flying, milk providing adventure would be more appealing to me. (BTW - I think Freud would have a heyday with this story!)
Still, the story is beloved by generations of children, and as a Caldecott Honor book you the know the illustrations are fabulous. Little Page seemed to like it, and so might your own children. So check it out and then let me know your opinion!
The Recipe - MYO Playdough
If you are still buying playdough, please stop! Making your own is so simple and so cheap! As an added bonus, you know if your child sneaks a bite here or there, there's absolutely nothing harmful going into their little body. I whipped up this batch in just a few minutes as a surprise for Little Page when she gets home from school. You can add food coloring to make your dough any color of the rainbow, but I left this batch dough-colored for making pretend bread, cookies, or morning cake!
In a pot over medium heat mix:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 t cream of tartar
- 1 t oil
- food coloring
Stir over medium heat until the mixture starts to form a ball of dough.
Knead the ball on a counter until it is smooth and any food coloring is completely worked into the dough. Once it is cool, place in a plastic bag or container for storage. This will keep for a long time!