Heeding the advice of Charlotte Mason, I decided to be more selective of the types of books I read to my children. Charlotte advised that only living books should be presented to the readers. Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.”
Goodnight Moon is one such classic living book. This is an American children’s book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It was first published in 1947, and is a highly acclaimed example of a bedtime story. It is about a bunny saying goodnight to everything around: “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon…”
Honestly, I wasn’t very attracted to the illustrations. Surprisingly, XXM takes to the book very easily. He even requested us to reread to him every other night. This comes as a surprise to me as he has other books lying around the room but he never did sit down and enjoy reading a book like Goodnight Moon.
I was motivated by his efforts and went on youtube to find others’ rendition of the story as I find my narration very dry and unappealing. And lo and behold I did find some very good videos. My favourite is:
She narrates in a very pleasant and soothing voice and the video animation retained the original illustrations. XXM loves this video as well to the extent that he fancies the vid over the book. But I am trying to draw his focus back to the book.
As I researched more into this book, I have come to realise the reason for the success of the illustrator is the wealth of details Hurd incorporated into the book. Although the entire story takes place in a single room, the careful reader or child will notice numerous details from page to page, including:
- the hands on the two clocks progress from 7 PM to 8:10 PM.
- the young mouse and kittens wander around the room. The mouse is present in all pages showing the room.
- the red balloon hanging over the bed disappears in several of the color plates, then reappears at the end.
- the room lighting grows progressively darker.
- the moon rises in the left-hand window.
- the socks disappear from the drying rack.
- the open book in the bookshelf is The Runaway Bunny.
- the book on the nightstand is Goodnight Moon.
- in the painting of the cow jumping over the moon, the mailbox in the right-hand side of the painting occasionally disappears.
- in the painting of the three bears, the painting hanging in the bears’ room is a painting of a cow jumping over the moon.
- the painting of the fly-fishing bunny, which appears only in two color plates, appears to be black and white (or otherwise devoid of color). It is very similar to a picture in the book “The Runaway Bunny“.
- the number of books in the bookshelf changes.
- the pendulum of the bedside clock disappears in the final room scene
- the stripes on the bunny’s shirt change
- in the last page the word bunny is gone off the brush
I copied the above from wikipedia. To be honest, I did not notice any of the above. I am truly embarrassed :-p