The Naked Truth

First, let it be said that I am generally in favor of having a cute little naked kid scamper across the pages of a picture book. This book is truly excellent, and very nice to read to someone who gets into trouble a lot.
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And of course, these writers and/or illustrators (whose idea is most of the butt imagery anyway, I wonder?) know their audience.
Nothing
thrills as much as a bare bottom, which is amazing considering how
often they're around their own bare bottoms every day. And then, sometimes you get more than bottom, which makes everyone scream happily (in my house, anyway). In the Night Kitchen has (in addition to the skin) that dark magical sense that so many of Sendak's books have. Spooky in the best possible way (sorry for the teeny tiny image).

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What's odd is how many of these feature boy bottoms as opposed to (or in lieu of) girl bottoms. Why is that? Even this book, which has a big sister showing her little brother the ropes, (and which I've covered in more detail here), shows the boy's behind, while the girl looks on in happy shock from the tub. I don't have a picture and my camera is broken, so all I can show is the cover.

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Why no tiny cute girl behinds, I wonder? I think I know, but I wish it weren't so. At least we get to see these, and long may our children shriek in delight over them.

6 thoughts on “The Naked Truth

  1. we loooooooooove In the Night Kitchen. C knows it by heart and we always chuckle when she gets to “Gobbiss the milk and Gobbiss me” (we’re not a religious household)

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  2. I love “In the Night Kitchen,” too, but I wonder sometimes if that book would see the light of day if the MS were submitted to a publisher now. I think it would be deemed “too weird” and then there is that whole naked-with-a-penis-while-falling-into-a-bottle-of-milke thing… Funny, isn’t it, that we can pride ourselves on being so “advanced” but in some ways our culture has become more restricted?

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  3. Recently my five year old was sent home with a book all about bums and the pleasures of nudity, the raucousness of the way kids strip. I was saddened by the lack of depiction of “front bottom”– so much of interest to children and part of the naked joy… I am contemplating whether I accept this or think the illustrators/publishers took an easy route out of controversy. Can’t remember the title. My son’s teacher said she was glad I was the parent of the child who chose that book, because she’s been receiving parental complaints. Little did she know my criticism!

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  4. Annie Marshall: Yes, only In the Night Kitchen seems to have braved the world of the front bottom. Everyone else has been scared off or shut down. Alas.

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