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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Goodnight Moon

Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Clement Hurd
Publisher: Originally published in 1947, reprinted in 2012 Macmillian Children's Books

Goodnight Moon is heralded as a classic of North American children's literature. I became familiar with the book from a language blog I read many years ago, in which the poem had 
been translated into Polish. Having not initially read the poem in English, it made so much more 'sense' in the English translation and I grew to love it (and yet this poem makes very little 'sense' at all). Having scribbled the lyrics of Goodnight Moon down from the language blog, I actually read it aloud to Alf and Bert when they were little from a scrap of paper. It became a ritual at bedtime to read this poem, which is of course, what Goodnight Moon is all about (the anthropomorphic bunny's bedtime routine). 

Three years on and having purchased the board book version, this book remains consistently part of the bedtime routine in that one of my children (at least) will always, choose this to read out to their baby brother. The poem is rhythmic and surreal. Illustrator Clement Hurd has used bold psychedelic orange and green alongside black silhouette and shadow, making the illustrations quite haunting, ethereal. 

Goodnight Moon seems to be enjoying a new / renewed fame in the UK at the moment, as I've seen it on sale in art galleries and being pushed in more highend book shops lately. I assume this is because it is deemed a young children's 'classic' and is easily marketable as an American cult classic at that. I would like to see  The Quangle Wangle's Hat be reinvented like this, in the same way, as to me it's tantamount to Goodnight Moon in its ethereal nature and has the same iconic pictorials. 

Loved by my older children as an easy- read to the baby each night, Goodnight Moon is perfectedly pitched at the 1-2 year age range. It holds their attention in a rather hynoptic way, with its 
duo-toned block pictures, such as the lamp, and use of black and white, such as the house. I'm sure I've read before that babies under 4 months only see in this basic colour wheel, so again Goodnight Moon is ideal for the very youngest of bookworms and their parents.

In all, this is a really lovely, dreamy, familiar, ritualistic read, and it always puts a neat full stop on the night. 

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