I’ve often wondered why a book as simple as Goodnight Moon has been such a runaway hit for generations.
I know parents who’ve read it a few hundred times to their little ones. (You’re probably one of them.) I’ve seen it being mentioned in movies. I don’t know a single recommended reading list for babies that doesn’t include Goodnight Moon.
How could something so simple be so powerful?
Precisely because it is. Simple. I guess.
Long before I began reading Goodnight Moon to my daughter, we had developed a bedtime ritual that wasn’t very different from the idea in the book. We would carry our baby in our arms and take her to every room in the house, wishing every picture frame, light bulb, window, her toys and books, the moon and stars and her dear grandfather’s portrait and pretty much everything in her line of view and ear shot, a good night.
It’s not like we planned to do it. The bedtime ritual pretty much created itself and stuck with us. Sometimes, a specific toy or new book would get a special mention in our goodnight tour. Sometimes, we’d wish her imaginary pals. Almost every night, we would recollect the names of all her cousins and wish them a good night!( even if the day was just beginning in their part of the world)
And so, a ritual that began as a bedtime game to get her into sleep mode, has become a habit. Something she has come to expect and we have come to include almost subconsciously into our routine.
And so, when you think about it, it’s not surprising that Goodnight Moon is so popular. It’s probably a ritual that many of us do with our kids, instinctively and naturally. By including familiar objects in their bedtime ritual, we help them feel more comfortable and relaxed. (Or so we think. They’re probably just buying time and having the last laugh. )
Goodnight moon is considered a classic among books for babies, not because it has a ground-breaking idea. It doesn’t. Or because the writing is dramatically different or creative. It’s not. It’s just a book about a little bunny going to bed. Or trying to stall bedtime.
It’s a timeless classic simply because it captures the essence of a simple, universal bedtime ritual in beautifully illustrated pages that your baby (and mine) can relate to.
Whenever I read Goodnight Moon to M, I realize that there are probably as many versions of Goodnight Moon out there as there are babies.
And I’m curious, what’s your version of Goodnight Moon? I’d love to know.
Activities to try with the book:
- Spot the objects mentioned in the poem
- Guess what objects appear on the next page
- Be the first to find the gray mouse on each page
- Name the objects that are not in the poem
- Make up your own Goodnight Moon poem, using the rhyme scheme or cadence as reference