by Jack Minor –
An official with the district said they have removed a cartoon video from the Meeker Elementary school library featuring a naked boy swimming in a glass of milk.
The video, titled “In the Night Kitchen” was based on the book of the same name by Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild things Are.” The video shows a young boy, Mickey, who dreams he is in a kitchen where the cooks are baking a cake.
As Mickey leaves his bed in a dream state he is completely naked, showing his rear end.
He falls naked into a giant mixing pot with the batter for the cake. Later in the seven minute video, the boy is shown swimming in a glass of milk. When he leaves the glass, Mickey’s private parts are shown.
Because of the nudity and other innuendos in the book it proved controversial upon its release in 1970 and continues to be so.
Roger Fiedler, Communications Director for the District, told the Gazette that the showing of the video was a mistake.
The video shown to the second grade students at Meeker was a compilation of four video cartoons of the following children’s books. “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen, “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey, “In the Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak, and “Strega Nona” by Tomie dePaola.
The video, by Scholastic, simply said, “Owl Moon” on the label. The video was shown to the students after they had read Owl moon and Strega Nona as part of a lesson where they would compare and contrast the differences between the books and video.
Fiedler said the teacher was unfamiliar with “In the Night Kitchen” and began to show the video. The first two cartoons, “Owl Moon” and “Make Way for Ducklings” were without incident. When the first scene involving Mickey falling through the air began, the teacher immediately turned off the video and the activity was ended. At no time did the students see the frontal nudity featured later in the cartoon.
Fiedler said the district is unaware of how Meeker obtained the video, however, for the time being it has been removed from the library.
Cathy Nelson, principal of the school, met with all of the second grade teachers and reviewed the district’s policy of showing of films in schools to ensure similar incidents can be avoided in the future.