Our book of September is Goodnight Moon! It is an American children’s book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It was published on 3 September 1947, and is a highly acclaimed bedtime story. This book is the second in Brown and Hurd’s “classic series”, which also includes The Runaway Bunny and My World. The three books have been published together as a collection titled Over the Moon.
Goodnight Moon features an anthropomorphic bunny’s bedtime ritual of saying “good night” to various inanimate and living objects in the bunny’s bedroom: a red balloon, a pair of socks, the bunny’s dollhouse, a bowl of mush, two kittens, etc.: “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon …”, in a rhyming poem.
Goodnight Moon slowly became a bestseller. Annual sales grew from about 1,500 copies in 1953 to 20,000 in 1970; by 1990, the total number of copies sold was more than 4 million. Currently, the book sells about 800,000 copies annually and in 2017 has sold an estimated 48 million copies cumulatively. Goodnight Moon has been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Catalan, Hebrew, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Korean, Hmong, and German. Based on a 2007 on-line poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”. In 2012 it was ranked number four among the “Top 100 Picture Books” in a survey published by School Library Journal.
Goodnight Moon’s lyrics exemplifies the concept of object permanence; as writer Ellen Handler Spitz puts it, it teaches “young children that life can be trusted, that life has stability, reliability, and durability.” The quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make Goodnight Moon a perfect book for the end of the day.
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