Tuesday, February 28, 2006

a visit to the night kitchen

Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen is legendary in the library world. How dare the great Sendak think he could get away with full frontal nudity in a children's book. Little Mickey's "parts" are just hanging there! Although I have never seen a defaced copy myself, stories of librarians, markers and sharpies (how Freudian is that?) in hand, covering up little Mickey's little.....penis are legion. We actually own an old paperback edition and I must say that it is a big hit at our house. Keep in mind that we are a house where a penis is a penis. We've shocked a few with our frankness. No peters, johnsons, wee-wees or pees-pees here. We calls a spade a spade.

Why is Mickey naked? Why does he crow, tummy and penis thrust foward? One only need live with a little boy to know the answer: because he can. Because a little boy has not yet learned that his body is yucky or shameful. It feels good to run free. It feels good to "go commando" once in a while. That's all. Sometimes, Dr. Freud, a cigar is just a cigar.

Our big boy has enjoyed the story several times. Last night little brother discovered it. We read it twice before bed. This morning he brings it to me in the middle of the morning rush--milk! Milk! "I'm in the milk and the milk's in me! God bless the milk and God bless me!" Time rushes on. Does this mean we've outgrown Mem Fox's lyrical Time for Bed? What's next? Where the Wild Things Are?

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