Saturday, September 13, 2008

a confession

I really hate the book "Goodnight Moon".

Yes, we have two copies. Yes, I still read it to my daughter when asked, and I try not to communicate my disgust. Here's why I hate it:

1. It's hideous. Green, red, black, and white with random shots of weird, bright blue. It's like the illustrator chose the most unattractive, cacophonous colors in the spectrum. Like Christmas and Hannukah got together and threw up.

2. It's creepy. "Goodnight nobody"? "Goodnight old lady who was whispering hush"? Who is nobody? Why is there an old lady in this poor kid's room? If it was a grandmother or other relative, that might be okay, but she's just some old lady who appears to come and go randomly, judging by the illustrations. And the grammar-- where is the comma after "goodnight"? It bothers me.

3. And saying gooodnight to "mush" is just bizarre. That's going to be one solid block of oatmeal gnarliness by the morning, if it's not full of roaches and silverfish. Or maybe that mouse will get it? So it will be full of mouse dookies. Even better.

4. It rhymes "Goodnight, moon" with "Goodnight, cow jumping over the moon". You can't rhyme the same word! Now just rhyme "friend" with "end", and I can go quietly vomit.

5. In one picture, there are mittens and socks drying on the line. Later, it's just mittens. Where did the socks go?

6. Why is there an unprotected, roaring fire in a toddler's room? Little bit unsafe in the post-Industrial Revolution world, isn't it? Not to mention the lack of fire detector, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher. Somebody seriously has it out for this kid.

7. Why are there two clocks in this kid's room? And a telephone? Do you know any toddlers who need a telephone in their room? Cleo's phone repertoire consists of, "Hi," Whatchoo doing?", 'I have a nice daddy," and "I want to go to Monkey Joe's and eat a quesadilla and jump high high HIGH high". Maybe it's to call 9-1-1 when the hideously striped curtains catch fire?

8. And the tiger skin rug. How would a rabbit obtain a tiger skin rug? I've been to the airport-- I know that it's illegal poaching to own a tiger skin rug. So this little rabbit is parented by homicidal, poaching tiger hunters who provide him with a plethora of Victorian clocks, candlesticks, fire pokers, a latex balloon, and some mouse-turdy mush while leaving him in a room at night with a creepy old lady and a roaring fire. No wonder he needs help getting to sleep!!

9. And what does he read when he needs to go to sleep? His own copy of Goodnight Moon, right there on the bedside table. Eek. I just don't want my creepy, ugly kids' books to get that meta.

10. "Goodnight noises everywhere?" The whole book is about saying goodnight to things, visible items in a room, then we get to "nobody" and "noises". It's just so stupidly random and inconsistent. I like random, but I like wacky and interesting random.

So there you have it. I can't stand this book. Lots of kids' books get on my nerves, from Dr. Suess teaching my child the alphabet using made-up nonsense words to the All-Encompassing Cult of Elmo. But for some reason, Goodnight Moon really has a place in my heart as the Worst Children's Book We Own, and I have no idea why it's considered a "classic", except that folks seem to like to inflict the scary elements of their childhoods on their children.

Which is why i'm getting Cleo the boxed set of ALF for Christmas.


Blair said...

I'm glad that our copy of Dr. Seuss's ABC lives at the library. If I'm lucky, one day N. will forget about it. I got so sick of answering questions about the frigging fiffer-feffer-feff.

I'm kind of "meh" on Goodnight Moon.

tatgurl said...

I have always wondered how on earth that book became a "classic". I have never liked it and my kids have never really enjoyed it.