Rich's Reviews > Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
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's review
Dec 10, 2008

really liked it
Read in August, 2007 , read count: 500

** spoiler alert ** I first read this book in August of 2007, and I liked it so much that I've read it every evening for nearly 500 consecutive days now. I was initially attracted to the simple sweetness of the story, but with each reading another complex layer is revealed, and more questions arise.

A close inspection of the room's artwork gives you your first clue that not all is right with this world. The cow jumping over the moon? Standard nursery wall fare. The three bears? More storybook silliness, but wait... there's no Goldilocks in the picture, or overturned chairs/porridge bowls. There are just three naked bears in an empty room, sitting quietly in low chairs with their arms crossed. Madness, but nothing compared to the depraved picture on the opposite wall, in which a grown rabbit wearing wading pants is using a carrot on a line to fish for bunnies.

Then there's the full bowl of mush carelessly left next to the bed. The mouse will certainly eat the mush once everyone is asleep, provided that the kittens don't eat the mouse first. And I do not know much about 1940's culture, but I think it's legitimate to ask whether a family of rabbits in a single-room-occupancy could afford such treasures as helium baloons and leopard-skin rugs.

Who exactly is living in this room? There is an adult, but the bunny never says "Mommy" or "Nana" but instead only refers to "the old lady whispering 'hush'." I don't want to believe that the protagonist was kidnapped down by the river by the Evil Fisherman Rabbit, but it becomes increasingly difficult to believe otherwise.

As the bunny goes through his nightly routine, the story leaves Fairyland and enters the Theatere of the Absurd. "Goodnight comb and goodnight brush," the bunny whispers, lest the old lady hush him again. "Goodnight nobody, goodnight mush." Whoa. That's some existential stuff right there. "Goodnight nobody"... the silly playfulness of a child, or the stark realization of life's essential emptiness? And "goodnight mush" may be the saddest two words in the English language.

The final page brings with it more mysteries. (Spoiler alert!) The old lady has suddenly disappeared, presumably eaten by the kittens who now occupy her rocking chair. Meanwhile, the bunny babbles "goodnight noises everywhere," desparately tring to silence the clamor in his head.

All in all, "Goodnight Moon" is a complex tome that my son (literally) and I (figuratively) can really sink our teeth into.
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message 1: by Elise (new)

Elise Hilarious review! Thanks for the read :).

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