I hadn’t read Goodnight Moon in about 20 years before this happened:
15th percentile body weight and height, 50th percentile head circumference
She loves books. LOOOOOVES books. So there’s been a good amount Goodnight Moon up in these parts for the past year or so. And upon reading it again for the first time, I was surprised.
I was surprised by how completely random and creepy Goodnight Moon is.
The lines and pictures from this book reside in the same eerie, dream-like haze as early childhood memories. There is a ghostly familiarity to them. But when my grown-up mind saw the pictures with grown-up eyes and heard the words for the first time in many, many years, my initial thought was, “HOW is this book so popular??”
There is no story. The rhymes aren’t super fun or clever. And take, for instance, the mush. We wish it goodnight, as it sits, cold and colorless, next to a blank page that says “Goodnight Nobody.”
There is the picture on the wall across from the three bears sitting in chairs of a big rabbit fishing for a little rabbit with a carrot on a string. What.
And then, of course, the quiet old lady whispering “hush”:
Nightmare material like woah. Case in point:
Tell me there’s no resemblance.
And yet, despite the objective weirdness, Goodnight Moon is soothing. And warm. And because it lacks the typical structure and singsongy-ness, as you read it the second (or third, or fourth) time, it doesn’t grate. It is simple and familiar and calming. And the glowing light of the stars and the dollhouse windows on the last page…I love the last page.
So, like every other parent and grandparent, we’ll keep a few copies around, reading it over and over and over again, burying the same strange story with the same strange pictures deep into someone else’s childhood memory, to be rediscovered later.