“In The Night Kitchen” relies on the penis for its success and notoriety.

This reading of In the Night Kitchen got a lot of attention on the Internet last week with the passing of James Gandolfini.

And Gandolfini delivers a spectacular reading of this Maurice Sendak classic, but let me go on the record as saying that I do not like this book at all.

Perhaps it’s because I first read the book when I was 40 years-old and therefore lacked the childhood nostalgia that can occasionally prop up lesser works of art, but I find the story to be strange, creepy, frightening, unnecessarily graphic and most important lacking a cohesive and compelling narrative.

Frankly, I think that had Sendak not included the little boy’s penis in the illustrations, this book would have disappeared into obscurity.

I think the inclusion of the penis gained the book its initial notoriety and has continued to allow it to stand out as something different and unusual.

But not very good.