Goodnight Moon

I’m sick to death of the vast majority of Edith’s already extensive library. We’ve read every one of them a million times, and by “we’ve read” I mean I have doggedly insisted on pushing through them while Edith claws at my face and repeatedly attempts to slam the book shut and throw it across the room.

But I never seem to tire of Goodnight Moon. I didn’t have a strong opinion of it prior to having my own child, but I now think it is the perfect baby book, the best one ever written. There’s something about the incantatory cadence and the rich and calming illustrations that makes repeated reading feel ritualistic and profound rather than tedious. I don’t know what it is exactly. And it visibly soothes Edith, who never stops squirming and is especially active at bedtime — she settles while we read it, and she thoughtfully taps the gradually dimming table lamp on each page.

At some point over the past few months, I got into a habit of reading it to Edith every single night at bedtime as her final bedtime book. I didn’t even realize this had become a nightly staple until the other night, I started to carry her to her bed after only one book (I was over it) and she looked up at me with a shocked expression and an outraged squawk. I carried her right back and remedied my mistake, and now we never skip it.

4 Comments

  1. I’m not sure it’s even still available, but Sleepy Me by Marni McGee was this sort of book for me and my kids. There’s a bigger version and a board book, and the bigger version is the better one. It’s calming and incantatory (though with much sparser phrasing than Goodnight Moon) and I loved sort of gently, softly cooing it to my children. The illustrations are sweet by not my favorite style.

    If you happen to want to introduce Edith to science fiction, there’s a cool variant on Goodnight Moon titled Goodnight Dune that works surprisingly well (though is not nearly so lulling).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elizabeth says:

      I will check it out! Meanwhile, I have never read Dune.

      Like

      1. Probably you’d hate Dune. Lots of people find it dry and dull, but I think it’s surprisingly lyrical and lovely at times. And the world-building is compelling enough that George Lucas lifted a lot of it pretty much wholesale (so did Robert Jordan). I do feel like you’d find it kind of bad, though.

        Liked by 1 person

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