My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In the Night Kitchen is the story of a little boy who dreams of some pretty horrific stuff. A child of the 60s-70s psychedelic acid rock craze, this children's book reminds me an awful lot of the creepy Raggedy Anne and Andy movie that came out a few years later.
Okay, stay with me here cause I am gonna run through this. A kid hears a noise in the night which leads him to falling into darkness. He falls into some batter and three cooks then decide to bake him into a cake. He makes a plane out of the batter and promises to get them milk for the batter instead of him. He does so, prompting an odd "milk in the batter" sequence before the kid wakes up and finds there is cake in the morning.
Did I mention he does most of this nude? On at least three separate occasions you get a full monty shot of this kid's junk. This horrifying issue of baking children into cakes is brought up as well and is done so with pretty straight forward intent. If you want to go out on a limb, you could tie the nudity and the milk to get a symbolic wet dream scenario, but honestly that is kinda gross and I do not want to think too hard on the subject of this kid's junk. Also, there are probably some parents that will object to the giant red "Cock a Doodle Doo" written at one point in the book.
In the Night Kitchen is a fun acid trip of a story, and that is okay because it is all played as a dream sequence. While some symbolism is there if you really try, this story is a fairly simple tale that will delight most readers. However, the odd addition of nudity may turn some folks off, as stylized as the art is. I would not have a problem showing this to my kid, but be careful showing it to anyone else's, if you know what I mean.