In the Night Kitchen was the first book my parents bought me, before I was even me, before I even was. They inscribed it with the date and place they purchased and wrote the dedication to their "Little Whoseit." I still have that copy. The cover is wrapped in the fabric of flour sacks.
As a kid I always imagined that each time we opened the book, a little cloud of flour dust poofed out and into the air. Maybe this book is why I love baking so much. Maybe it is why I am a night owl. Maybe it is why I love vintage kitchen tins and cans.
Over the years I have loved sharing Mr. Sendak's work with my boys and with kids at school.
This is a favorite as well and I read it to the boys before bed tonight. Miles took it to bed with him to read and re-read, and Wylie mulled over whether he was happy for Jeanie that she found her passion or sad for her owner whom she left behind. I am not sure he ever decided, though he was leaning towards happy when he finally went to bed.
And this is why we love Maurice. His work keeps us guessing, gets us thinking and inspires us. His stories and artwork implants itself into our hearts and imaginations, and takes us places we may have never gone otherwise. Thank goodness.