‘Goodnight Moon’: The Criticism Continues

August 6th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  7 Comments

I’ve already said here that I think Goodnight Moon falls way short of its reputation. But my son picks it up nearly every night lately, demanding that it be read to him before sleeptime. Needless to say, we cave in.

Except that he doesn’t quite read it. As soon as we get to certain pages, he gets very agitated, and begins to point to the upper right-hand quadrant of the illustration. Why? Because the red balloon, emphasized in the book’s early pages, disappears. It’s missing from two of the color spreads in the center of the story. Then it comes back. In other words, this title has been in print for 60-plus years, and it has been read by millions of children, and my 17-month-old has just now flagged a major continuity error. (Though admittedly, he’s not the first.)

I’m so proud. And slightly frightened. The kid’s shaping up to be a copy editor, poor thing, and (as a former c.e. myself) I wouldn’t wish it on him.


  1. Distracted Daddy says:

    August 6th, 2010at 9:00 am(#)

    Wow. You’d think they would have caught that. Haven’t read that book to my daughter yet. But now all I’ll notice is that missing balloon.

  2. Gregor says:

    August 6th, 2010at 12:17 pm(#)

    In Where the Wild Things Are the moon goes from waning to full in one page turn (after ‘let the wild rumpus start!’) Have we uncovered a conspiracy?

  3. Christopher says:

    August 6th, 2010at 12:21 pm(#)

    Conspiracies, everywhere! Next up: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the Grassy Knoll.”

  4. Aaron says:

    August 6th, 2010at 8:24 pm(#)

    I read my eight year old daughter “Shut Up Moon”. She loves it.

  5. JasonS says:

    August 9th, 2010at 1:02 pm(#)

    “Goodnight nobody” still gives me chills.

  6. Ron says:

    August 9th, 2010at 5:44 pm(#)

    I disliked it at first – then realized that it guides both the reader and the audience into the disjointed consciousness we all experience right before sleep. It does this freakishly well. I now see it as a success on all levels (including the missing balloon – which just follows suit perfectly with other visual incongruosity, like disappearing picture frames and objects).

    If you want to hate a popular board book – set your sights on Guess How Much I Love You, wherein the adult dashes it’s child’s attempts to express itself. The much larger rabbit employs bullyish one upmanship until the tike collapses, defeated and exhausted. WTF?!


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