In The Night Kitchen


Written By: Maurice Sendak


Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Before beginning your read-through, take a moment to look over the cover and illustrations throughout the book. Ask your child questions about what they predict will happen in the book by asking:

What do you think this story is about?

What do you think Mickey’s clothes and plane are made out of?

{Flip to a certain page} What do you think is happening in this picture?

Who are those men in the white hats and aprons? What are they doing?

An interesting element of this dream world that Mickey enters is the buildings in the city that look like food containers and have different cooking tools like whisks and strainers. Bring this to your child’s attention by flipping through the illustrations and saying, “Look at the city that Mickey is flying over. This building says the word “cake” on it. And that object on top is used to mix  cake ingredients together. This building says “jam” on it and looks like a jar of jam. Why do you think all of the buildings look like different food ingredients?”For older children, ask “How are these buildings different from the ones that we see in real life? Why do you think that is?”


As You Read

Vocabulary Building:

Encourage your child to stop if they come to a word that they not familiar with. Allow him/her to discover the meaning of the word using the surrounding words, as well as the illustrations on that page. A few examples of new word in In The Night Kitchen include:

1. KNEADED

2. CHANTING

Making Connections:  

One way to keep your child engaged in the story is by asking how this story relates to your child’s own experiences. Ask him/her if a particular event in the story is similar to something that has happened in his/her own life. For example, when Mickey helps the bakers make the morning cake, ask your child, “Can you think of a time when you helped me cook or bake? What were we making? Was it yummy? Did you have fun? Why or why not?”


After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask your child questions about what you have just read by asking:

How did Mickey end up in the Night Kitchen?

What did the bakers need help getting? Why?

What were Mickey’s clothes and plane made out of?

How did Mickey help the bakers?

The Night Kitchen is a dream land that Mickey visits late at night so ask your child about a dream that they have had recently. Ask, “Can you think of a cool dream that you have had in the past? What was it about? Would you want to visit the Night Kitchen? Why or why not?”


Activity: Baking Mickey’s Morning Cake

Supplies: ¼ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of white sugar, ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ cup of softened butter, ½ cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 egg, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, 1 pinch of salt and ⅓ cup of raisins, 8-inch round cake pan, small bowl, and 2 medium sized bowl.

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You and your child can make your own yummy morning cake like Mickey and the bakers with this easy-to-follow recipe from All Recipes!

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Then grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. Combine the  brown sugar, ¼ cup of white sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl and set it aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream butter and ¼ cup of white sugar until it is light and fluffy. Next, beat in the sour cream, vanilla and egg. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture and blend them together.
  4. Spread half of this batter in a prepared pan and add raisins over this layer. Sprinkle half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the raisins and then spread the remaining batter over the top.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Take it out of the oven, let it cool and then you’re ready to dig in!
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