The Problem With Goodnight Moon

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Thanks to the little one, I’ve been reading the infamous Goodnight Moon book every day for the past two months. And while my parents never read this book to me (or any book, from what I remember) and we never owned a copy until now, I do appreciate the genius behind this picture tale. The primary colors. The miscellaneous but easily recognizable objects ingeniously placed around the room, away from the text. The rhyming and cadence. The anthropomorphic characters. The anonymous narrator (which I assume isn’t the sleepy bunny). The “old” lady who doesn’t even look that old, so just calling her that is really rude. The fact that there’s a tiger skin rug on the floor in a house inhabited by BUNNIES.

Here’s the thing. The book opens by introducing the reader (or, in this case, a three month old baby girl who could care less about what I say to her right now) to the various objects  around the room…

In the great green room,

There was a telephone

And a red balloon

And a picture of…

Then we slowly wish them all a good night.

Except for the telephone.

WHY DON’T WE WISH THE TELEPHONE A GOODNIGHT? Is it because nothing really rhymes with “telephone?” Is it because a phone never sleeps, always ready to ring in the middle of the night due to some family emergency? Why do we go as far as to wish “nobody” a goodnight, but skip over this amazing communication device? Or the stupid bowl of mush? If there’s one thing in this world that doesn’t deserve a farewell, it’s a gross bowl of mush. Who the hell leaves an open bowl of food next to their bed overnight anyway? Does the little bunny hate the telephone? Is he too young to use the telephone? Speaking of which, isn’t he a little too young to have his own phone in his room? My mom wouldn’t let us have our own phone until I was at least in fourth grade, and even then, we couldn’t have our own line, even though some of my rich classmates did. It was awe inspiring to see their own phone number listed next to their name in the school directory, a whole separate line from their parents. How grown up was that? But smart move, mom, because no one ever called me anyway. Just like today. Wah.

And guess what? Margaret Wise Brown is DEAD. She’s been dead since before I was even BORN. I’ll never have an answer about the poor telephone.

PS. I do love how the quote from the book on GoodReads gets the opening stanza completely wrong though. It’s a cow jumping over the moon, you guys. Not a cat. Since when do cats jump over the moon? DON’T YOU KNOW YOUR NURSERY RHYMES? And the painting of the cow is featured like five billion times throughout the book. Aren’t you paying attention? I hate everything.

  1. You are going to have a ton of fun with all the other children books coming up! lol

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