Ida is looking after her baby sister while her papa is away, but Ida is jealous and resentful of her. However while not paying attention Ida's sister is kidnapped by goblins. She then goes on a fantastical adventure to get her back, but she gets caught up in the quest that she almost misses her. Her sister is rescued from the goblins and Ida becomes more attentive of her sister.
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- Other books written by Maurice Sendak, whose most famous work is probably Where the Wild Things Are.
- Sendak was inspired to write this book from stories he heard on the Lindburgh kidnapping
- The 1986 movie, Labyrinth, is based off this book. The closing credits state "Jim Henson acknowledges his debt to the works of Maurice Sendak.