GGC Does Not Recommend: Goodnight Moon

WTF is so great about Goodnight Moon???

Goodnight Moon is arguably the most well-known American Baby Book which says a lot about America I think. For one, the book sucks. It says nothing. It barely rhymes and although the pictures are fine, it's just very ho-hum booooooring. No diss on Margaret Wise Brown. Runaway Bunny is genius. I love everything about that book but Goodnight Moon just sucks. Ass. It's an overrated piece of baby poop-pop-lit and I am pretty sure I am the first to say it. (try googling GOODNIGHT MOON SUCKS. Nothing comes up... until NOW!)

We received many books at Archer's baby shower. Being voracious readers many of our friends/strangers bought Arch books. Not surprisingly we received 12 Goodnight Moons. Over 50% of Archer's library. No offense if you bought us a Goodnight Moon and are reading this but how unoriginal are you? Psh. I exchanged all but one of the GNM's for books like Outside Over There (my childhood favorite) and Aesop's Fables. Books with at least *some* substance. I mean. Good Dog, Carl says a whole lot more than Goodnight Moon and it doesn't even say anything!

Anyway, this has been a recent epiphany because last night as always I collected Archer's board books from his bookshelf. We opened Goodnight Moon and I stopped mid-(the following) sentence:

Goodnight moon/
Goodnight cow jumping over the moon

Yikes. How the hell did this book get so popular? Moon and Moon? Not only that but the iambic pentameter is totally off...

I kept reading, slowly until I ran into the climax:

Goodbye nobody/
Goodnight mush

Unless I am missing the pre-post-modern, existential significance, I am pretty sure that the author just ran out of ideas and stuck in, nobody because of a deadline. I'm not saying that children's books have to mean something, but "Goodnight Nobody?" Pulease.

I will admit that I am a bit snobby when it comes to books. It probably has something to do with the fact that pop literature has made it near impossible to write/sell a novel that does not boast Manolo Blahnik sandals on the cover. Or a martini. Or pink. Authors like Knut Hamsun, Virginia Woolf and Colette would never get the chance to be banned today because no one would publish them. Too much character, not enough story- etc, etc.

I imagine there are scores of children's book authors whose manuscripts have been turned down because of this precedent:

A comb and a brush/
And a bowl full of mush*

Anyway. I am realizing as I write this how terrible I sound. Shame on me, but seriously shame on us for kissing The Emperor's ass. There are wonderful children's books out there. And then there's Goodnight effing Moon.


*wtf is up with "mush?"


Anonymous | 11:41 PM

THANK YOU! I had the same issue with Goodnight Moon. I just don't get it. I didn't read it as a child so maybe that's it. Or maybe the popularity has something to do with the fact that it's so boring kids fall asleep? I don't know. Though I admit an even worse book is Good Night Gorilla - there's just no point in baby books where the plot-line is VISUAL!

And I totally understand your book preferences! I never like (or even get through) any of the bestsellers everyone is talking about. Most of them are written like crap. I don't get the appeal and then I sound like a pretentious snob when I'm asked why I don't like them. Seriously, when did our writing standards fall so low? (My blog and comments not included - I hold those to a low standard.)

Anonymous | 7:46 AM

Try being an Child Care professional and reading this book one billion times. Makes you want to strangle the bunny AND the old lady in front of all the shocked children.

I myself, prefer the "Big Red Barn" by Ms Wise Brown. Also, My baby girl ( now 7!) enjoyed the famous "Row, Row, Row your goat" and "Peek a Moo!" (Bernard Most)

And a much better Bed time book is Mem Fox's "Time for Bed".

Alisyn | 7:47 PM

Aww, I have a soft spot for Goodnight Moon. I have to agree with you, though - it *is* kinda lame.

However - Hazel is in a Dr. Seuss stage right now, and I find myself longing for the days when 10 page board books would satiate her. Have you read any Seuss lately?? They're so freakin' loooooooooong.


I know. Dr. Suess books are long but they are so clever and funny! I can see how reading five Suess books might be a tad time consuming but alas... its worthy reading material.

Sidenote: My Mom read this post and called me. "I have to disagree," she said. "I loved Goodnight Moon and so did you when you were a wee one. It's a great book because it IS so simple."

Okay Mom but you're going to have to comment here. I just can't hear your argument unless it's dot com.

Anonymous | 10:23 PM

OK...I will comment. GGC, you LOVED Goodnight Moon. In fact, you wouldn't go to sleep without it!! The book was written to be baby's FIRST book. Words like "MOON" (usually pronounced "MOOM") and "MUSH" are easy to say and because there is so much repetition and it is so simple, babies LOVE it!!! I agree,though, that when I first was given this book by my good intentioned over-achieving "experienced" mom friend, I didn't get it, either, but when witnessing YOU reciting the book MEMORIZED at one year of age, I was hooked. Also, you LOVED finding the comb, brush, mush, moon, cow endlessly. Just like "Baby Einstein" movies seem a wee bit simple and yet are adored by babies, "Goodnight Moon" appeals to the "budding intellect." I am guessing that by the time Archer begins begging you for GM before bed, you will be a convert (AND glad that it is short!!!) (And it doesn't hurt the tongue like "Sox on Fox"!!!!!

your adoring Mom

PS Runaway Bunny is much more sophisticated because it was written for the older more rebellious child!! :) (I can't imagine who THAT might have been!!!xxx)


You must be mistaking me for someone else.

Anonymous | 9:25 AM

Looks like someone got a new haircut! It looks great Bex!

the stefanie formerly known as stefanierj | 6:51 PM

I was far more disturbed by the Runaway Bunny line "'if you become the wind and blow me,' said the little bunny..." It made my tummy feel funny.

But I am a GNM lovah--my friend thinks it's a zen thing what with the SH sounds in mush, hush, brush, etc. But yeah, I remember asking the same question about goodnight nobody and goodnight conclusion was that there must have been some serious weed smoking before MWB sat down to write that one....

Anonymous | 10:17 AM

Thank you for writing this post. Now I can finally come out of the closet. I thought it was just me. WTF??

Anonymous | 12:30 AM

THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one.

starkweather | 10:20 PM

Aww, come on GGC, this book is awesome. I love being bored to tears and I always have. Probably always will. It's the right thing to do and the right way to do it. Also, I really liked that he said good night to nobody. I relate to that more and more as I get older, really.

Anonymous | 10:27 AM

Anyone who names their child, "Archer" has no right to complain about this book.

Anonymous | 8:27 AM

I don't understand how anyone could not appreciated this book unless they don't understand how children learn and develop. First of all, it has color pictures, as well as black and white, so young children can actually see the pictures before their eyes fully develop. Most of it rhymes, so it is easy to remember and who cares if all of it doesn't rhyme. Has every good book you have read rhymed? It also names what the objects are on the pages, so children can learn to match the pictures with the words. My daughter has learned to say many of the words in this book and she can point to the pictures and tell me what they are. She just turned 1and has been able to do these things for months. I attribute that to reading the book quite often. I love this book and It's a lot more educational than your ridiculous blog.

Jen | 8:29 PM

Thank you thank you...Finally someone agrees. What is up w/ this book? I checked it out at the library all excited about this "Great book" COME ON!!! I was soooo bored, I think I yawned at EVERY LINE.....wait wait maybe that's it....child sees mommy bored and tired and almost lifeless Bam Wham Child falls asleep. -----Boooo Goodnight Moon X-P