A page from the book
|Author||Margaret Wise Brown|
|Publisher||Harper & Brothers|
|September 3, 1947|
|LC Class||PZ7.B8163 Go 1997|
|Followed by||My World|
Goodnight Moon is an American children's picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It was first published on September 3, 1947, and is a highly acclaimed example of a bedtime story. It is about a child saying good night to everything around: "Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon..."
Goodnight Moon is classic children's literature in North America. The text is a rhyming poem, describing an anthropomorphic bunny's bedtime ritual of saying "good night" to various objects in the bunny's bedroom: the red balloon, the bunny's dollhouse, the kittens, etc.
Literary significance and reception
Goodnight Moon slowly became a bestseller. Annual sales grew from about 1,500 copies in 1953 to 20,000 in 1970; and by 1990, the total number of copies sold was more than 4 million. Based on a 2007 on-line poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.
Author Susan Cooper writes that the book is possibly the only "realistic story" to gain the universal affection of a fairy-tale, although she also noted that it is actually a "deceptively simple ritual" rather than a story.
Brown bequeathed the royalties to the book to (among many others) Albert Clarke, who was the nine-year-old son of a neighbor when Brown died. In 2000, reporter Joshua Prager detailed in the Wall Street Journal the troubled life of Mr. Clarke who has squandered the millions of dollars the book has earned him and who believes that Brown was his mother, a claim others dismiss.
In 2005, publisher HarperCollins digitally altered the photograph of illustrator Hurd, which had been on the book for at least twenty years, to remove a cigarette. Kate Jackson, editor in chief for children's books, said "It is potentially a harmful message to very young [children]." HarperCollins had the reluctant permission of Hurd's son, Thacher Hurd, but the younger Hurd said the photo of Hurd with his arm and fingers extended, holding nothing, "looks slightly absurd to me." HarperCollins has said it will likely replace the picture with a different, unaltered photo of Hurd in future editions. In response, a satirical article demanded the removal of other potentially dangerous objects in the book, such as the fireplace and balloon (a choke hazard for young children).
Allusions and references
Goodnight Moon contains a number of references to The Runaway Bunny. For example, the painting hanging over the fireplace of "The Cow Jumping Over the Moon" first appeared in The Runaway Bunny. However, when reprinted in Goodnight Moon, the udder "for caution's sake was reduced to an anatomical blur" to avoid the controversy that E.B. White's Stuart Little had undergone when published in 1945 (Making of Goodnight Moon, 21). The other painting in the room, which is never explicitly mentioned in the text, portrays a bunny fly-fishing for another bunny, using a carrot as bait. This picture is also a reference to The Runaway Bunny. The top shelf of the bookshelf holds an open copy of The Runaway Bunny, and there is a copy of Goodnight Moon on the nightstand.
The telephone is mentioned early in the book, but is absent from the litany of 'Good night ...' salutations. The primacy of the reference to the telephone indicates that the bunny is in his mother's room and his mother's bed.
In 2010, CollegeHumor posted five Science Fiction spoofs of well-known children's stories, including a mashup of Goodnight Moon and Frank Herbert's novel Dune, entitled Goodnight Dune. In 2011, author Julia Yu adapted the image on CollegeHumor into a full homage of Moon, also titled Goodnight Dune
In addition to multiple octavo and duodecimo paperback editions, Goodnight Moon is available in board book edition, a book whose pages are actually stiff cardboard to make it suitable to give to a very young child, as well as a "jumbo" edition, suitable for use with large groups.
- 1991, USA, HarperFestival ISBN 0-694-00361-1, Pub date 30 September 1991, board book
- 1997, USA, HarperCollins ISBN 0-06-027504-9, Pub date 28 February 1997, Hardback 50th anniversary edition
- 2007, USA, HarperCollins ISBN 0-694-00361-1, Pub date 23 January 2007, Board book 60th anniversary edition
- "The Writer's Almanac for the week of May 21, 2007".
- National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 19, 2012.
- Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
- Cooper, Susan; Betsy Hearne, Marilyn Kaye (eds.) (1981). Celebrating Children's Books: Essays on Children's Literature in Honor of Zena Sutherland. New York: Lathrop, Lee, and Shepard Books. p. 15. ISBN 0-688-00752-X.
- Prager, Joshua (2000-09-08). "Runaway Money". Wall Street Journal. p. A1. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- Wyatt, Edward (2005-11-17). "'Goodnight Moon,' Smokeless Version". New York Times. Retrieved 2005-11-23.
- Karbo, Karen (2005-12-04). "Goodbye, Moon". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
- Pearson, Claudia. Have a Carrot: Oedipal Theory and Symbolism in Margaret Wise Brown's Runaway Bunny Trilogy. Look Again Press (2010). ISBN 978-1-4524-5500-6 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21324
- College Humor, "Five Sci-Fi Children's Books" http://www.collegehumor.com/post/6362893/five-sci-fi-childrens-books
- Brown, Margaret Wise, and Hurd, Clement. My World (Harper, 1949). ISBN 0-06-024798-3.
- Marcus, Leonard S. Making of Goodnight Moon. New York: HarperTrophy, 1997.
- Pearson, Claudia H. Have a Carrot: Oedipal Theory and Symbolism in Margaret Wise Brown's Runaway Bunny Trilogy. Birmingham, Al: Look Again Press LLC. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21324