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Like Max in Where The Wild Things Are, in this book Mickey escapes reality to enter his dream, a night kitchen where bakers bake, all night long, to make the morning cake. And like in dreams, things can be out of proportion. The kitchen looks like a beautiful city built with giant food containers that make you feel small, like a kid in a grown-up’s kitchen.

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In the book In the Night Kitchen, the bakers have a problem and Mickey is able to come to the rescue, and thanks to him, there will be cake in the morning. The story is a great example of how you can make kids feel important through food. Give them a small part to play that makes them proud, and they will come back. Like when you race with a child and you let them win.

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There are many other things I like about In the Night Kitchen. Maurice Sendak doesn’t make a big deal of the final cake. You actually never see it done, or if there is something that looks like a steaming cake coming out of the oven, it looks very similar to the cake before it entered the oven. The story is more about the process, the ‘making of,’ the fun, the busy-ness, and the emergencies in the kitchen. The kitchen is where things happen – just like the big city after all.

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I think about this book at least once a year, when I stay up late baking for a fundraiser. It’s been a busy weekend, but what it was, really, is a dream come true!

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