"This book is not visually stimulating nor is there any real prose."
September 3, 2019 10:31 AM   Subscribe

 
This is great. To the person who said "I could do better. I wish I weren't loo lazy to return it." I give 1 million chef kisses.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:42 AM on September 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


I never understood the love for Goodnight Moon.
We got several copies given to us as if it were a family heirloom or something.

And honestly, it's just not good.
Maybe you had to have it read to you when you were a kid to develop some sort of subliminal love for it but these reviews are right. I can't believe this book sold enough copies to buy someone a cup of coffee, let alone a house.
posted by madajb at 10:43 AM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Isn't the whole point of that book to bore the kid to sleep?
posted by LindsayIrene at 10:44 AM on September 3, 2019 [40 favorites]


Yeah. It's supposed to be mellifluous piffle that lulls children to sleep. It works as that. Looking for it to be anything else is sort of willfully missing the point. That's why these reviews are so much fun.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:57 AM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


What? People wrote reviews of toddler books like Goodnight Moon? Pardon me if I am sounding get off my lawn-ish, it was about 17 years or so ago I read this to my youngest, but I always thought the book was secondary to sitting on my lap, enjoying some quiet time with dad and letting my voice sooth them to sleep.

I could have read them the newspaper and they would have been happy.
posted by AugustWest at 10:58 AM on September 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


I have read GM approximately 9,000 times over two kids, and if you haven't seen your kid's eyes light up when you say "Goodnight house, and goodnight moose" and they say "No! MOUSE!", well, I feel sorry for you.
posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on September 3, 2019 [109 favorites]


I share the hatred for this book, but I can't deny that both of my kids liked it (and I appreciated it for its ability to bore children to sleep).

The artwork is terrible, too.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:59 AM on September 3, 2019


I love the shit out of this book and have read it to my kid about eighty billion times.

Curious George? Now that's a book that sucks.
posted by bondcliff at 11:04 AM on September 3, 2019 [28 favorites]


People wrote reviews of toddler books like Goodnight Moon?

Of course they did, and do. Children's literature is important goddamnit, and the first books are just as important and varied as any others.
posted by howfar at 11:06 AM on September 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


i like the one where he turns to drug abuse to cope with the endless travails of curious monkey life
posted by poffin boffin at 11:06 AM on September 3, 2019 [19 favorites]


"... Goodnight, lousy book! You are garbage."

Ha ha ha ha ha. Hater reviews are hilarious.
posted by salvia at 11:07 AM on September 3, 2019


I love the book, too, and it's one of our seven-year-old's go-to-bed books along with Madeline. I recite them from memory, though. I haven't actually read the books in a couple of years.

Goodnight moon
Goodnight stars
Goodnight po-pos
Goodnight fiends
Goodnight hoppers
Goodnight hustlers
Goodnight scammers
Goodnight to everybody
Goodnight to one and all.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:08 AM on September 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


I like how she kept in the response about the review downvoting service which promises to get negative reviews off the first page.
posted by clawsoon at 11:09 AM on September 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Goodnight Moon lasted a couple of years in our house, and was moderately well received by the intended audience. Never for bed, though. I have a no-books-before-bed policy. Books are for breakfast.

There are worse books, because there are Dora books.
posted by clawsoon at 11:12 AM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


kirkaracha, that scene is the only reason I have any positive feelings at all about that book.

I mean, I don't hate it or anything, it just seems bland AF.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:13 AM on September 3, 2019


Goodnight Moon and Sandra Boynton's "The Going to Bed Book" were my go to bedtime books until Little Purr could express an opinion on what we'd read each night. I had them memorized, so could rock and recite them half asleep most nights. "Good night nobody" is on my top ten favorite lines of all time. I think I read somewhere on this site that the pages alternate between the scene and elements of the scene, and each cycle gets darker and darker.

Now we read variations of "learning to read" chapter books which seem to stretch out longer and longer into the night. I'd trade curious george for all of the endless spongebob books that keep mysteriously appearing at our bedside.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 11:18 AM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


I have a no-books-before-bed policy. Books are for breakfast.

I have questions.
posted by jessamyn at 11:20 AM on September 3, 2019 [83 favorites]


I didn't get the appeal of the book either until my kid hit the right developmental period -- basically, when he was old enough to know words that I said, but wasn't able to say much himself. And for those three or four months, by God, he fucking loved Goodnight Moon because I could ask him where the house or the mouse or the mitten was, and he would point to it, and we! could! communicate! with! each other! He was too young to care about narrative, and loved the absurdly bright, saturated, high-contrast colors.

And yeah, there are a lot children's books that are much, much, much worse than Goodnight Moon. Like, at least with Goodnight Moon, the prose is pleasant to read out loud. The sentences feel good in your mouth.

For example, the McMullan Stinky and Dirty books are fucking banned in our house even though our kid loves the Amazon show, because the writing feels like chewing pebbles. There is no rhythm! There is no meter! The rhyming scheme is fucking absurd!
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:20 AM on September 3, 2019 [26 favorites]


I mostly share the hatred for this book, but "Good night nobody" is great. My kid seemed to like it for a number of years and it's quick and simple, with a decent cadence, when you're just trying to make a small child go to bed.
posted by asnider at 11:21 AM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not my favourite book - never read it as a child and plus it sort of sucks for mush that nobody gets Good Nighted before it does - but it beats the hell out of The Good Humour Man in the Old Books People Apparently Love That I Was Not Aware Of Until I Became a Parent category.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:23 AM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


If you want a book with "Good Night" in the title to show your kid before bed, the answer is "Good Night, Gorilla."

It is the greatest book of all time.

It's got a gorilla in it!
posted by bondcliff at 11:24 AM on September 3, 2019 [21 favorites]


"Goodnight Three Wolf Moon"... lol.
posted by clawsoon at 11:25 AM on September 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


No time like the present for Goodnight Keith Moon.
posted by talking leaf at 11:26 AM on September 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


bondcliff—Goodnight Gorilla is one of my automatic “new baby gift” board books! I love that book. So much fun to share with kiddos!
posted by bookmammal at 11:28 AM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


Much prefer the sequel, Good Morning Death Star.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:30 AM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


jessamyn: I have questions.

I found that books - any books, whether they intended to be soothing or exciting - got my daughter excited. That's not helpful when trying to get to sleep. It is helpful when trying to drag oneself out of bed in the morning to have something exciting to look forward to.

(It has also been helpful because her developmental delay means that she needs extra motivation to take bites, chew, and swallow. "Wait! Before we turn the page, take a bite...")
posted by clawsoon at 11:31 AM on September 3, 2019 [25 favorites]


Goodnight Gorilla is one of my automatic “new baby gift” board books! I love that book. So much fun to share with kiddos!

Right? I mean for the balloon alone.

But, of course this book also has a bunch of one-star reviews!

This book absolutely sucks. I have no idea why everyone raves about it. Most of the pages don't even have words on it so you have to explain everything that is going on in the book. I like books that my toddler can learn stuff from so this one is useless.
posted by bondcliff at 11:35 AM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


BEWARE--occult book

Huh, that's a new one.
posted by Melismata at 11:38 AM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


mellifluous piffle

That would be an excellent user name.
posted by Foosnark at 11:40 AM on September 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


“Most of the pages don’t even have words...
Um—yeah, that’s kind of what makes Goodnight Gorilla so much fun to share with little ones. They get to tell the story their own way! (Oh man, don’t get me started on this. Wait. Too late!)
posted by bookmammal at 11:43 AM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


...Am I the only one who found this book terrifyingly ominous as a child? Absolutely feared it. "Good night nobody" was absolutely mortality-threatening self-erasure at the end.

*Shudder*
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:48 AM on September 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


I love to read Goodnight Moon out loud, and it never fails to get a toddler's eyelids droopy. I like the alternating pages of color and of B&W even if that was probably just to save money originally.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:50 AM on September 3, 2019


Wasn't Mellifluous Piffle the name of the opening act for Morrissey in the early 1990s?
posted by slkinsey at 11:50 AM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


Also seems like a good time to share the sublime Goodnight Dune, previously.
posted by Gorgik at 11:53 AM on September 3, 2019 [15 favorites]


My kids loved this book. My kids especially loved to say "Goodnight bears sitting in chairs," No idea why, really, except...

This book was more about the soothing rhythm than the actual story or subject. We would read three or four books each night, most of which would have better characters and story than GM (I'm nodding to you Max Stravinsky and Olivia the Pig), but we would usually end with Goodnight Moon. It became a pre-sleep ritual akin to the playing of the National Anthem right before the static in the days before all-night TV.
posted by cross_impact at 11:53 AM on September 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


I never imagined there would be Goodnight Moon haters.

Is it weird to go to the doctor and get asked if you're having health issues caused by being dead inside?
posted by GuyZero at 11:54 AM on September 3, 2019 [26 favorites]


Also: what exactly is the mush? Is it hair creme? Is it baby food?
posted by GuyZero at 11:55 AM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Curious George? Now that's a book that sucks

What? You mean you don't like a book about a man in a yellow safari suit who kidnaps an ape from Africa, almost kills it, and gives it cigars to smoke? Weird.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:56 AM on September 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


Of course I knew there must be Goodnight Moon haters, but I didn't expect to see so many here on Metafilter. I thought we'd all be rolling our eyes at the people who don't get the brilliance of "Goodnight nobody."
posted by Redstart at 11:59 AM on September 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


what exactly is the mush?

Like the gruel they fed orphans like Oliver Twist, only less watered down.

In the book, though, the word "mush" is the setup for the rhyme with "hushhhhhhhhh" which my kids would all join me in saying in unison.

And, I'll bet you, Margaret Wise Brown put the word "hush" in there for the intended effect for which I was grateful.
posted by cross_impact at 12:01 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Much prefer the sequel, Good Morning Death Star.

Good Night, That's-No-Moon.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:03 PM on September 3, 2019 [25 favorites]


I have grown to love the extreme randomness of this book. Like, it makes no sense, it's low-key hideous, that room is gigantic, there is no sense of scale. I love it! But I also love that every person I've heard read it reads it a different way. Every time my husband puts our baby to bed I think, "What book is he reading?" And then realize it's of course Goodnight Moon. It's always Goodnight Moon. It's just that he emphasizes completely different elements than I do. And he notices the same thing when I read it. It's amazing.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 12:03 PM on September 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


...Am I the only one who found this book terrifyingly ominous as a child? Absolutely feared it. "Good night nobody" was absolutely mortality-threatening self-erasure at the end.

That's the point! gotta start the existential crisis early
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 12:04 PM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


BEWARE--occult book

Huh, that's a new one.


Honestly, this seems like one of the more plausible occult books? Goodnight Moon absolutely feels like a ritual to me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:13 PM on September 3, 2019 [10 favorites]


For a while my daughter loved finding the mouse in different spots on different pages, so I bought her a stuffed mouse that looked just like the one in the book, but I missed the window and she didn't care. It's a cat toy now.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:18 PM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


And, I'll bet you, Margaret Wise Brown put the word "hush" in there for the intended effect for which I was grateful.

The poem - because it's really a short poem with illustrations, it's not a book in the adult sense - is probably baby's first meta-text wherein they're read a story about the activity they're engaging in, namely going to sleep. The poem is a template for how one settles oneself down to go to sleep and, as a low-key poem, is itself an element in that activity. The only way it could get more meta would be to have a line saying "Goodnight, Goodnight Moon" and have the child send the story itself to sleep.

But the "hush" is clearly there both descriptively as an observation of the bedtime ritual as well as proscriptively in that it lets the child know that their caregiver (the "old lady") wants them to be quiet now. And children are often receptive to patterning even if they're often resistant to direct order. Reading a book about saying "hush" reinforces quiet time far more than actually telling the child to hush.
posted by GuyZero at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2019 [32 favorites]


Goodnight Cthulhu
Goodnight Hastur
Goodnight Humanity
Goodnight Master
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


And now I post Goodnight Dune.
posted by jquinby at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


I liked reading the book to my kids, in part, because there are three parts to it, each with their own voice.

Part 1: The narrator sets the scene, and exhaustively catalogs everything in the room.
Part 2: The kid insists on saying good night to everything in the room in a frantic attempt to delay bedtime, slowing down as they get sleepier and more random ("Goodnight Nobody! Goodnight Mush!")
Part 3: The loving, yet exasperated, rabbit finally puts a stop to it, whispering, "Hush...."

Always worked great for my small monsters, and introduced quite a bit more narrative complexity than "Go Dogs Go".
posted by jenkinsEar at 12:21 PM on September 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


Goodnight Cthulhu

Sweet Dreams Cthulhu is honestly one of the four-year-old's favorite books. I wedge in C Is For Cthulhu just enough that her kindergarten teacher is going to call someone.
posted by Etrigan at 12:22 PM on September 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


Like, it makes no sense, it's low-key hideous, that room is gigantic, there is no sense of scale.

Pretty sure this is how most kids experience early childhood.
posted by GuyZero at 12:22 PM on September 3, 2019 [31 favorites]


When I read Goodnight Moon for the first time to my kid, later that same evening, I happened to watch the very first episode of Animaniacs -- which had a parody of Goodnight Moon (and it is brilliant). I'd never watched an episode before, had no idea about the parody, and there it was. An occult sign!

Anywy, that's when I realized how big of a deal the book was in American culture.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 12:24 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Good Morning Death Star

Alderaan says hello!
You twinkle above us
We twinkle below
Good morning Death Star
You are no moo-on
Commence primary ignition on…
Our fully operational battle station
Gliddy gloop gungan
Nibby nobby naboo
La la la so lo
Sabba sibby jabba
Nooby abba jarjar
Le le lo lo
dooby ooby jarjar
dooby abba jabba
exploding planet singing song
posted by zamboni at 12:27 PM on September 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


Our book was Oh Say Can You Say, you know, when I wasn't recording Micro Machines commercials.
posted by BeeDo at 12:32 PM on September 3, 2019


Harold and the Purple Crayon 4 Life
posted by ejs at 12:35 PM on September 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


Choo choo! *waves merrily* Come on aboard and join me on the "Good night, Gorilla" hater train!

Why the hate? Because it's a book about an oblivious white man who is absolutely awful at his job-- which, as zookeeper, entails primarily keeping the animals in their fucking cages-- and then after he goes to sleep his wife gets up and fixes all his fuckups for him, presumably without pay. The end! Sleep tight, patriarchy!

If there's any consolation in that book it's the subtle implication that the wife is fucking the gorilla.

my older kid loved that book so much, which gave me plenty of time to stew with no outlet, why do you ask
posted by phooky at 12:43 PM on September 3, 2019 [25 favorites]


If there's any consolation in that book it's the subtle implication that the wife is fucking the gorilla.

The last thing I expected to read in a "Goodnight, Moon" discussion.
posted by clawsoon at 12:46 PM on September 3, 2019 [41 favorites]


Always put my kids to sleep with Where the Wild Things Are. Any movie with both Kevin Bacon and Bill Murray is a winner in my book. Even if it is an occult movie.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:50 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Goodnight Moon is basic stuff. For the hardcore weirdness, move on to Little Fur Family.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:51 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Goodnight Moon is basic stuff. For the hardcore weirdness, move on to Little Fur Family.
At 50,000 copies printed, it has been estimated that 15,000 rabbits were killed and skinned to provide enough fur.
Hardcore weirdness did not disappoint.
posted by clawsoon at 1:01 PM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


For the hardcore weirdness, move on to Little Fur Family.

I know every word to that damned song.
posted by jessamyn at 1:01 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Choo choo! *waves merrily* Come on aboard and join me on the "Good night, Gorilla" hater train!

Why the hate? Because it's a book about an oblivious white man who is absolutely awful at his job-- which, as zookeeper, entails primarily keeping the animals in their fucking cages-- and then after he goes to sleep his wife gets up and fixes all his fuckups for him, presumably without pay. The end! Sleep tight, patriarchy!

If there's any consolation in that book it's the subtle implication that the wife is fucking the gorilla.


but the balloon tho.
posted by bondcliff at 1:02 PM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


Much prefer the sequel, Good Morning Death Star.

Good Morning Death Star
The earth says hello
You menace above us
We cower below
Good Morning Death Star
You keep us in line
My love and me as we sing
Our early morning fearful song
posted by nubs at 1:05 PM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


and on non-preview, I see zamboni and I are sharing some headspace
posted by nubs at 1:07 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


I love Little Fur Family so much! But Margaret Wise Brown gets so much weirder than that. I love the story in her Wonderful Storybook where the little girl gets a steam roller for Christmas and accidentally runs over a lot of people and animals, squashing them "flat as shadows." (There is a happy ending for almost everyone who was flattened.)
posted by Redstart at 1:07 PM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


A few years back, someone here revealed that this book was an homage to Gertrude Stein, according to the author. Explains some of it.
posted by njohnson23 at 1:11 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Then there's Goodnight Smartphone. Not as great as it could be, but there are some zingers in there. (Goodnight sheets. Goodnight tweets.")
posted by salvia at 1:12 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


(Almost) All the Goodnight Moon Parodies, Ranked. I coulda sworn there was one about yuppie parents in the 1980s/90s, can't find it. These are good though.
posted by Melismata at 1:17 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Goodnight Moon is basic stuff. For the hardcore weirdness, move on to Little Fur Family.

From Wikipedia: It has also been suggested that the book is a story of life and death, and "... the power struggles implicit in growing up.... By sparing the lives of the fish, the bug, and his miniature counterpart, the fur child shows that he knows how to use his new-found power benignly and well. In the poignant logic of the tale, acquiring that knowledge is recognizing the power of love."[


So...the little fur child doesn't MURDER the various creatures he encounters, therefore knowing he knows how to use his new-found power (the power of life and death?!) benignly and well...um...cool?

Plus the use of real fur mention upthread...wow...where do I get a copy?
posted by asnider at 1:24 PM on September 3, 2019


Goodnight Mittens.
posted by nikaspark at 1:25 PM on September 3, 2019


But Margaret Wise Brown gets so much weirder than that.

Margaret Wise Brown is the best. The Important Book is probably my favorite kids’ book: baby’s first ontology treatise.

She lived an incredible and far-too-short life. Do yourself a favor and read her Wikipedia page.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Goodnight Moon is garish, it's weird, it's vapid, it's random. It's fucked up. It me.
posted by nikaspark at 1:29 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Also The Runaway Bunny is some Mommy Dearest shit. That book is terrifying.
posted by nikaspark at 1:30 PM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


Oh, and when you look at the Margaret Wise Brown Wikipedia page, follow the link to the page of her partner-of-ten-years, Michael Strange. Talk about an amazing life; someone should do an FPP about her.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:33 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


LITTLE FUR FAMILY

My grandma had a tune for that song, which is the right and correct way to sing it.

Also, in Goodnight Moon I really like "goodnight nobody," it makes the whole book as far as I am concerned.

The scale/size of the room is a class indicator imo, it's a room that the kid spends all day in. The nursery. Probably once a day the kid and the old lady leave the room to go downstairs, where the grownups are doing grownup things. The child must dress for this outing, and behave properly, and then return upstairs to eat their mush and go to bed.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 1:41 PM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


"The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a monkey in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon. Probably at the pet hospital."
posted by Chuffy at 1:47 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]




Lawn Beaver: Probably once a day the kid and the old lady leave the room to go downstairs, where the grownups are doing grownup things. The child must dress for this outing, and behave properly, and then return upstairs to eat their mush and go to bed.

Speaking of class indicators, my Grade One teacher gave me a richly-illustrated copy of a "Wind in the Willows" excerpt as a prize for something or another. I was 40 before I figured out what the hell was going on in that book, what with the adventures of a decent upper-class chap.
posted by clawsoon at 1:53 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


I always felt like there were missing pages to the book. The cadence and rhyming scheme was all over the place and I never really enjoyed reading it. Good thing we had, like, 3 copies of that sucker.

There were other books in our extensive library that my kids liked more, so I was happy whenever they chose something else.
posted by Chuffy at 1:58 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


The scale/size of the room is a class indicator imo

Plus the child's guardian is "the old lady". Parent? What are those?

Children's books of that era were written by, and for, upper-class families. I've never seen one that was otherwise, though I'd love to.
posted by GuyZero at 2:01 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


I know a 19 year old who is really into cooking and enjoys a debate over what is the best bowl full of mush. Porridge? Risotto? Polenta? Big influence that book.
posted by bendybendy at 2:10 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


My favorite Amazon reviews are by someone who went through hundreds of advanced physics textbooks, gave them one star review, and wrote slightly different comments on each explaining that they were angry that there was no audio-book version that they could play for their kids. I never figured out whether it was some sort of ironic stunt, part of a larger (probably ill-conceived) marketing scam, or just a weirdo who thought an audio book of Shanker's Quantum Mechanics would actually be useful bedtime reading for children.

I've never read Good Night Moon. I had never heard of it until I was in my 30s, despite the fact that it was published roughly when my mother was born. I recognize most of the other common children's books that pop up in popular culture, but not this one. I'm just going to assume that I've somehow drifted into a parallel universe in which Margaret Wise Brown wasn't hit by a trolley on her way to the post office to send in the manuscript.
posted by eotvos at 2:14 PM on September 3, 2019


Did your universe have the Bernstein Bears?
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:21 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


I coulda sworn there was one about yuppie parents in the 1980s/90s, can't find it.

Maybe you're thinking of Pat the Yuppie?
posted by box at 2:27 PM on September 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Maybe you're thinking of Pat the Yuppie?

LOL, that is hilarious!! Thanks! :) The only line I can remember is "goodnight, custom orthodontic device" or retainer or mouth guard or something like that.
posted by Melismata at 2:31 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


I read Goodnight Moon to my now 13-year-old every night, and when she was 3, she finally said, mom, what is this book about?

"It's about death," I said, because I think it is.

Goodnight Moon remains a popular book in our house.
posted by staggering termagant at 2:33 PM on September 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


"It's about death, sweetie. Just like sleep. Good night."
posted by phooky at 2:38 PM on September 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


I once made a bet with an education lecturer that out there somewhere would be an academic article about Goodnight, Moon with the title
Goodnight Nobody: [something lit-cryptic] of Goodnight Moon
I won.
posted by Paragon at 2:48 PM on September 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


MetaFilter: something lit-crypic
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:50 PM on September 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


The best part of Goodnight Moon is how dreamlike it is — especially the illustrations. The old lady is there, and then she's not, and then she's back again. First we see the framed picture of the cow jumping over the moon, then the "goodnight" close-up loses the frame and we're in that scene. The socks on the drying rack are there and then they're not when we get the "goodnight" close-up of the mittens. And why does the little house have a light on inside?
posted by stopgap at 2:51 PM on September 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


I sympathize with these grumpy reviews.

This book absolutely sucks. I have no idea why everyone raves about it. Most of the pages don't even have words on it so you have to explain everything that is going on in the book. I like books that my toddler can learn stuff from so this one is useless.

This is honestly my main problem with Good Night, Gorilla.

Don't love Goodnight Moon much, either. I never read it growing up, and wasn't even aware of it until that scene in the Wire. I bought it for my kid thinking it was a bedtime classic, but neither of us are into it.

I like some Margaret Wise Brown's other books, though, like The Runaway Bunny and the one with the dog who could hear everything.

2.5 year old's current favourite bedtime book is probably Where is the Green Sheep?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:53 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


The only line I can remember is "goodnight, custom orthodontic device"

1993's Boom Baby Moon starts:
Goodnight intercom in my crib/
Goodnight fireproof feeding bib
and ends with:
Goodnight orthodontic spoon/
And hardcover copy of 'Goodnight Moon'
Somebody ought to write a modern update.
posted by box at 2:53 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: something lit-crypic
Aw dammit, caught me before the typo edit! Haha, love it.

My daughter loves Goodnight, Moon for many of the reasons listed above ("moon" was one of her first words and she points out the moon with great enthusiasm every time we read), but that thing with the mittens bothers me Every Single Time.

I like that the clocks in the room show that it takes twenty minutes for this rabbit to go to sleep.
posted by Paragon at 2:56 PM on September 3, 2019


This book absolutely sucks. I have no idea why everyone raves about it. Most of the pages don't even have words on it so you have to explain everything that is going on in the book. I like books that my toddler can learn stuff from so this one is useless.

Isn't explaining stuff beyond the text like the main way children benefit from having books read to them?
posted by stopgap at 2:59 PM on September 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


> GuyZero:
"The only way it could get more meta would be to have a line saying "Goodnight, Goodnight Moon" and have the child send the story itself to sleep."

That actually could be a line because a copy of Goodnight Moon is sitting on the bookshelf under the picture of the bunny fly fishing. Or I think so anyway; there isn't enough detail in my copy for me to be 100% sure.

also the picture of the cow jumping over the moon is also inside the picture of the bears in chairs.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 3:02 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Goodnight, Gorilla" is great, as others have mentioned. There's a gorilla and a balloon. But, there's more.

Turn to the page where the guard, Joe, is walking back home with a string of animals behind him. You'll notice in one house there is a figure in the window. A few pages later the wife (who, I like to think, is the zookeeper) is walking all the animals back. There is a second figure in the window. Obviously the first figure called for their SO, "You have got to see this". When the wife is walking back after returning all (she thinks) the animals, there is a third, smaller figure in the window. Clearly the couple got their kid of out bed because, holy crap, the zoo animals are walking around outside.

I love that.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:03 PM on September 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


Goodnight orthodontic spoon/
And hardcover copy of 'Goodnight Moon'


THAT'S IT BOX THANK YOU!! <3
posted by Melismata at 3:10 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Plus the child's guardian is "the old lady".

Right? The sudden presence of a quiet old lady life-size bunny whispering "hush" is when the plot starts to take an almost Lynchian turn to go with the saturated interior design.
posted by salvia at 3:12 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also I agree with these 20 questions about Goodnight Moon. Why is the mush left out? Was green+chartreuse ever in style? Is the child bunny actually named Bunny?
posted by salvia at 3:15 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Shoutout for The Big Red Barn.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:16 PM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


Also why the hell is there a painting of a large rabbit fishing for smaller rabbits
posted by ominous_paws at 3:16 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


The scale/size of the room is a class indicator imo

Clearly Goodnight Moon was an inspiration for Friends.

Also why the hell is there a painting of a large rabbit fishing for smaller rabbits

It's one of several references to The Runaway Bunny. In context it's sweet but here it's kinda creepy.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:19 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also when we only had two cats they looked like the ones in Good Night Moon and for a little while my daughter believed the ones in the book were our cats.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:22 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


...Am I the only one who found this book terrifyingly ominous as a child? Absolutely feared it. "Good night nobody" was absolutely mortality-threatening self-erasure at the end.

What do you mean, "as a child"? (Shudder)
posted by Jahaza at 3:27 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hippos Go Berserk or GTFO....
posted by mikelieman at 3:28 PM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


"moon" was one of her first words and she points out the moon with great enthusiasm

My kid is like this too. He enjoyed City Moon
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:30 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love Goodnight Moon, with the mush and "goodnight nobody" and everyone having their own rhythms for it. I kind of want to make a collection of recordings different people reading it, although I know they'll probably mostly annoy me because they're doing it wrong. Goodnight Gorilla is wonderful too (especially with the dodgy implications).

How do people here feel about Not Now Bernard? It really doubles down on the horror, with the weird angles and surprise twist. My kids love it to the point that I can recite it from memory.

I can't understand the people who'd give one-star reviews for these books. Those should be reserved for all of Julia Donaldson's books except Paper Dolls.
posted by wilberforce at 3:44 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


If I hadn’t learned a cadence from my husband this book would never have worked for me.

It was pretty, but I couldn’t attach to it. When I overheard him read it, night after night, as he dropped tempo radically when the Goodnights started, I heard it as poetry and always read it in his tempo.

I think it’s my favorite baby book. But if I hadn’t heard him read it, I’d probably be a one-star reviewer.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:51 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


I have read this book roughly eleventy billion times and while I don't exactly hate it....well, I kind of do hate it. Exhibit A: The garish colors are hard to look at, even after eleventy billion times. I assume they were intentionally garish, but still.

Exhibit B: The couplet "Goodnight moon/Goodnight cow jumping over the moon" is just terrible. "Moon" rhyming with "moon"? Are you freakin' kidding me?

Exhibit C: A comb and a brush? Why are these on a nightstand? Why not the bathroom?

Exhibit D: Mush is oatmeal, which is fine. But a half a bowl of mush sitting on the nightstand, before bed? Did the kid just eat half of it and is going to bed without brushing his/her teeth? Is that mush going to stay there all night? That bowl of mush gives me a lot of anxiety.

Exhibit E: That dollhouse is just off, somehow. Can't put my finger on it, but I think the perspective lines are off. Or something.

The state rests, Your Honor.
posted by zardoz at 3:54 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


A: Bunnies are limited to dichromatic (two-color) vision, so the color scheme works perfectly for bunnies.
B: "Goodnight moon/Goodnight cow jumping over the moon" isn't a rhyme, it's to be read as a pun. You are supposed to say: "Goodnight moon/Goodnight cow jumping over the moo-oooon". It still doesn't rhyme, and also it's not funny, but there you have it.
C: There is no bathroom. These are animals. They just go wherever.
D: The mush isn't for Bunny. The mush is for the mice.
E: There are wee, tiny human people living in the dollhouse. You can just make out the shapes and eyes in the windows.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:01 PM on September 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


This thread reminded me of a couple of books that I loved as a child before I learned to read -- I remember being fascinated by the pictures.

Turns out that (thanks, Duck Duck Go!) one of them was also a book by Margaret Wise Brown: The Color Kittens published in 1949. The other was The Little Squeegy Bug by Bill Martin -- apparently re-illustrated in 2005, but this is the version baby me remembers.
posted by TwoToneRow at 4:14 PM on September 3, 2019


"Where's the mouse?"
posted by Windopaene at 4:25 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


For everyone who thinks Goodnight Moon is creepy; you are definitely not alone.
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:32 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


I always figured the world of Goodnight Moon was created by "one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville, in a place that used to be Ohio. And, if by some strange chance, you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing: you have entered The Twilight Zone."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:00 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


It is interesting to read the hate for Goodnight Moon. I came to it as an adult when a million people gifted it to us when I had a kid. It wasn't a favourite, though I never hated it, my kid loved other Margaret Wise Brown stories more - Color Kittens and Runaway Bunny especially. So for the haters out there, if you think Goodnight Moon is awful you should try out some generic verse written for children from the early 20th century. My wife was a big fan of that stuff when she was a kid so had a lot of it. I tried some of it but holy most of that stuff was terrible.

Interesting too that people read to children verbatim from a book. I don't think I ever read one exactly as they were written especially the older ones. I changed them up all the time if I didn't like the rhythm or the story details. Like the curious George stories, those got heavily redacted and altered as they are often nuts. George tripping on ether deeply disturbed my kid. Though we both agreed that if an ape entered our home and painted a jungle scene in our living room we'd be totally impressed rather than angry.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:07 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Bonus: In 10 Minutes till Bedtime, a delightful story of a parade of hamsters joining a boy's bedtime ritual, by the same author as Goodnight Gorilla, the march of the zoo animals can be seen in the background of one of the illustrations.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:20 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had no idea my favorite book as a tot, "Pussy Willow" was written by Margaret Wise Brown!
[I guess because as a tot I couldn't read]
This was a great book because of the superb watercolors by Leonard Weisgard, not especially because of the egotistical kitten who wanders around for a year insulting other animals before finding his damn pussy willows. Still, I will give Wise Brown a pass on "Goodnight Moon" because of "Pussy Willow".
posted by acrasis at 6:02 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


Did your universe have the Bernstein Bears?
posted by jenkinsEar


Probably not, but it very well could've had the Berenstain Bears...
posted by Chuffy at 6:05 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fuck You Sun
posted by waving at 6:16 PM on September 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


if you think Goodnight Moon is awful you should try out some generic verse written for children from the early 20th century.

Yeah, go over Tootle or Scuppers the Sailor Dog and get back to me about Goodnight Moon.
posted by GuyZero at 9:24 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


Exhibit E: That dollhouse is just off, somehow. Can't put my finger on it, but I think the perspective lines are off. Or something.

Non-Euclidean geometry.
posted by benzenedream at 9:25 PM on September 3, 2019


Ha I actually do a one star lookup for a lot of the books I read to my kids.
posted by iamck at 9:58 PM on September 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also there is something strange in goodnight moon. I'm fairly certain that inside the toy house are the bears in the chairs, and the cow jumping over the moon has the rabbits house in the background making everything strangely recursive. Also why did they kill that tiger to make a rug. Also why are the toy house lights on at night. Also why are there two clocks. So many questions (I've read this thousands of times)
posted by iamck at 10:02 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Goodnight, Moon is fine. It is basically the mindfulness/anti-anxiety exercise of naming things you see in the room. And yes, the colors clash dramatically, but I always liked the color shift when the lights go out, very convincing colors.

You know what book sucks for going to bed? Dr. Seuss' "Sleep Book". It is an ungodly length - something like 74 pages of loopy rhymes and made-up words. For going to bed! I assume with the intention that the little tyke will shut his eyes and nod off at some point in the middle which has never happened and never will happen and my only move was to try to flip like 8 pages at a time and try not to get caught. Through endless repetition of this book, I have become the Ricky Jay of multiple page turns.
posted by lubujackson at 10:09 PM on September 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Two appropriate New Yorker cartoons:

One

Two (maybe kinda NSFW)
posted by bryon at 10:17 PM on September 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


If a couple readings of Goodnight Moon don't do the trick, You can just resort to Go the Fuck to Sleep
posted by mach at 11:39 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


But seriously, The Night Kitchen was always the favorite bedtime book around our house.
posted by mach at 11:42 PM on September 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Mush doesn't rhyme with hush. Mush rhymes with bush.

That always bugged me.
posted by rouftop at 11:42 PM on September 3, 2019


I will take a Boynton over Goodnight Moon any day, Although the Going to Bed Book is more calming than Tickle Time I tolerate Goodnight Moon as mindless bedtime reading, but as my Daughter gets older and more verbal, I am looking for stories with a few more words.

I got the beer parody Goodnight Brew as a gift, and didn't realize until I saw the parody list above that the same author has written multiple Goodnight Moon parodies. Having dozens and dozens of parodies is the true sign of a classic, right?

I find Runaway Bunny creepy. Where are all the parodies of it?
posted by CostcoCultist at 12:13 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]




Mush doesn't rhyme with hush. Mush rhymes with bush.

The noun rhymes with hush. The verb rhymes with bush. One mooshes one’s muhsh.
posted by Etrigan at 4:09 AM on September 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


The brush that says "Bunny" on it can still send me into a fit of helpless snorting giggles that absolutely wrecks the hush-it's-bedtime mood, even after several thousand readings.

Is the bunny's name Bunny? Is every bunny really named Bunny? Then how can they tell their brushes apart?? I get this unbidden image of the whole anthropomorphized bunny family in robes and pajamas with drawstrings standing around this brush, bewildered, trying to figure out whose it is. Like if all the toothbrushes in our house were replaced with one labeled "FOR HUMAN TEETH." At which point my giggling startles my kid back awake and I have to take a breath and start over.

The book is utterly weird and it works so well. It took me a while, but I even like that the logs wouldn't fit in the fireplace.
posted by miles per flower at 6:22 AM on September 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


I realized while reading that there is a fundamental divide as basic as over-and-under or sit-or-stand-while-showering: some people are happy to have a misty and largely unexamined happy memory and some people want to ... do something else.

But I do have to agree with one point: the Bearenstein Bears were uniformly awful.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:02 AM on September 4, 2019


Bearenstein Bears were uniformly awful.

The worst - I'd read Goodnight Moon a billion times over anything Bearenstein Bears. So preachy with a morality firmly rooted in the 50s.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:12 AM on September 4, 2019


Bearenstein Bears

You might want to sit down for this . . .
posted by mubba at 7:25 AM on September 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


mach: If a couple readings of Goodnight Moon don't do the trick, You can just resort to Go the Fuck to Sleep

Quoting Samuel L. Jackson from the linked video: "Everybody tells you reading stories will put kids to sleep, but it never works. It didn't in my house."

Vindicated.
posted by clawsoon at 8:18 AM on September 4, 2019


I like that the clocks in the room show that it takes twenty minutes for this rabbit to go to sleep.

This reminds me of a blog post which seems to have disappeared off the internet but which I was able to find quoted...
[W]e know that the full moon in the sky covers an angle of about half a degree of arc. On our big copy of the book, the diameter of the moon in the final illustration is just about 7/8" (I only have an English-unit tape measure here), while the distance from the corner of the window to the outer edge of the moon is 2 and 5/8", exactly three times the diameter. So the moon has moved through about 1.5 degrees in the course of the story.

Now, the Earth rotates through 360 degrees in just about 24 hours, which is 15 degrees per hour (the Moon's motion is slightly slower, owing to its orbital motion, but it's not a significant difference for our purposes). This suggests that the bunny's goodnight ritual takes about 0.1 hour, or six minutes. Coincidentally, this is approximately the time required to read the book to [my daughter] at bedtime, as she points out all the important features of every picture ("Mouse right there! Mouse is sneaky!").

Of course, there's another way to estimate the passage of time in the book, which is the clocks shown in the various pictures. The clock in the first picture shows almost exactly 7:00, while the clock in the final picture shows approximately 8:10, for an hour and ten minute duration. Coincidentally, this is approximately the time it takes to get [my daughter] to go to sleep after reading Goodnight Moon
...
These two methods clearly do not agree with one another, which means one of two things: either I’m terribly over-analyzing the content of the illustrations of a beloved children’s book, or the bunny’s bedroom is moving at extremely high velocity relative to the earth, so that relativistic time dilation makes the six-minute rise of the moon appear to take an hour and ten minutes.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:00 AM on September 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


I admit to only skimming the second half of this thread for time purposes, but I don't think anyone has said this:

Goodnight Moon was a pretty revolutionary book for its time. Margaret Wise Brown was probably the first author for children who recognized the importance of the minutia of everyday life to a child. Nobody before her wrote books about things that are noisy or quiet or important or about saying goodnight to everything in your bedroom. At the time, it seemed ridiculous and now, since it's been done a thousand times over, maybe it seems boring. But she recognized the way young kids interact with the world and it was ground-breaking.

Also, it's soothing and lovely.

Also, in her free time, she hunted rabbits.
posted by tangosnail at 10:32 AM on September 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


Also, in her free time, she hunted rabbits.

1945, the era when you expressed your love of animals by killing them.
posted by GuyZero at 10:52 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


tangosnail, your comment reminded me of the fact that when Older Lurglette was younger, part of her going-to-sleep ritual involved me carrying her around the house while she said goodnight to everything. I drew the line at saying goodnight to each book on the bookcases, but each bookcase got its own separate goodnight.

I am happy that Younger Lurglette's going-to-sleep ritual involves climbing into bed and passing out 30 seconds later.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:52 AM on September 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


"Hmm. Also a rabbit hater."
posted by kirkaracha at 12:09 PM on September 4, 2019


Margaret Wise Brown was probably the first author for children who recognized the importance of the minutia of everyday life to a child.

Unsympathetic though he appears in relation to his own children, I think it's fair to say that the two classic Milne anthologies have a lot of examples of this form.
posted by howfar at 1:49 PM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just stopping in to drop off Goodnight, Room by Skogkatt, the absolutely best Goodnight Moon fanfic that could ever be written. (Summary: "Bunnies ... in ... SPAAAAAAAACE!")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:44 PM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Aw I’m glad a few people do like Goodnight Moon. It splits opinion in this house, until baby is old enough to form her own opinion and cast a deciding vote. I love the rhythm of the verses, I find it soothing and soporific. My husband really hates they rhyme moon with moon.
posted by like_neon at 2:48 AM on September 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Just read Goodnight Moon to my toddler again last night. He does weirdly enjoy it. I guess I do kind of read it (especially starting at the "goodnight" part) as one long ... verse? It doesn't bother me too much compared to some of his other books, and I am not required to come up with creative voices like in Little Blue Truck where I have to figure out how to clearly differentiate between the goat and the sheep with more than a single leading consonant or else he looks affronted.

Speaking of Runaway Bunny, I recommend Runaway Mummy. My daughter brought it home from the library a week or two ago and it parodies Runaway Bunny in a few ways I found hilarious, so that was a nice surprise. (In linking that I've now discovered that there is also a Goodnight Goon so I need to check that out now)

I save my rancor for Are You My Mommy (mostly because it says "SNORT" but backhoes do not actually snort so what the fuck kind of noise am I supposed to make to call that thing).
posted by olinerd at 7:22 AM on September 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, and a shoutout to Splash! by Flora McDonnell. My kids loved that book, and it was fun to read it to them.
posted by Chuffy at 9:45 AM on September 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


These two methods clearly do not agree with one another, which means one of two things: either I’m terribly over-analyzing the content of the illustrations of a beloved children’s book, or the bunny’s bedroom is moving at extremely high velocity relative to the earth, so that relativistic time dilation makes the six-minute rise of the moon appear to take an hour and ten minutes.
The house could also be slowly rotating on its foundation like the way that magician made the Statue of Liberty disappear.
posted by clawsoon at 9:57 AM on September 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


This thread is excellent, thanks.
posted by theora55 at 1:35 PM on September 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I’m late to the party, but by the time she was old enough to talk, I let my daughter pick out whichever book she wanted to read. Goodnight Moon was an early favorite, & I thought it was sweet. Sometimes, she’d pick an alphabet book & I’d help her sound out letters. She was functionally literate by the time she was 4 because books were a sacrosanct part of our daily life, & if she wanted a book, she got a book, her choice. I think at age 3, or so, she just announced “Daddy, I’m ready to learn to read.” Who am I to get in the way of that? Stellaluna was a later favorite & she thought the Very Hungry Caterpillar was hilarious, & of course all the Seuss.

I’m not going to come in here & trash any book they helped instill a love of reading & learning in any kid.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:39 AM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]


I just want to throw in My Monster Momma Loves Me So, as books which weird parents may enjoy reading to their little ones. 15 years later, and I still think I can recite most of it from memory. It’s a lovely, odd book.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:45 PM on September 9, 2019


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