Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for "Great Green Rooms" and Goodnight Moon

It's been close to ten years since I read this book to a child
and still I can recite it from memory
"In the great green room
there was a telephone
and a red balloon
and a picture of a cow jumping over the moon..."
Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, is perhaps the best loved and most comforting of all modern
bedtime stories.  Since it was first published in 1947 it has sold more than 4 million copies, often to new parents who loved their own copies to death as children. 
The book first came to our house as a board book, in a set with The Runaway Bunny (another popular book at our house), a first
Christmas gift from his grandmother. By the time the Boy was two, our copy was being held together by clear plastic packing tape, for we went almost nowhere without it.
When the Girl came along, I got her a copy of her own, as I did  with several other favorites the Boy showed no sign of surrendering.
It really didn't matter though, because by that time I knew the story so well I could hold up the pictures and tell the story without even looking at the pages.
In the story the narrator first names all the items in the room, including a telephone, a balloon, some animals (kittens and a mouse) and even actual bedtime items (a comb, brush, and bowl of mush). Then the child (a little boy bunny, in fact) says goodnight to everything, starting with the moon outside his window. The patterns of the rhythm and rhyme are perfectly calculated to lull a child to sleep, and indeed with any luck, by the time we get to "Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere" there is hopefully nothing to do but turn out the light.
Books like this are all about comfort and security: the security of being safe in one's own bed, the comfort of the bedtime ritual.  If you ever read this book to a child you know what I mean: you probably felt better
as soon as you read those first few lines. (You probably went right on with the list too, at least in your head.)
I don't expect my kids to necessarily raise their children as we raised them.
(Or even to necessarily have children, for that matter.)
Different thing work for different people and different times.
But I do hope they will each find a child, whether their own
or someone else's, and give them this bedtime gift
of the room and the moon wishing them pleasant dreams,

This blog post is part of the A-Z challenge. For more info please click on the icon above.


  1. Ah...I almost think I need to grab our copy and soothe myself with it today! (Am sure one of the teens would love to read it to me)

    1. My teen could probably recite it...sounds like a great idea.

  2. Enjoyed your post. Mike Mulligan was our favorite.


    1. Oh that's another good one. Make way for Ducklings was another classic at our house.