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Goodnight Moon

Page history last edited by Ian Hunt 12 years, 1 month ago



Plot Summary and Genre


Goodnight Moon was written by Maragret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It is a classic children's bedtime story written about a rabbit's routine before he goes to bed. Before his bedtime, the rabbit goes around the room and notices items within eye sight and says goodnight to all of them. Everything from the pictures on the wall to the mice to the clock are mentioned and said goodnight too. As the story continues, the rabbit gets more and more tired before finally saying "Goodnight noises everywhere," just as he falls asleep.

This book falls under the category of a fiction picture book because the illustrations expand the story, and the layout and design are visually appealing to the reader, with the vivid colors and details in the images. The illustrations also help to expand the textual elements, especially since there is very minimal text. Furthermore the genre of this picture book is contemporary realistic fiction. The book is about a little rabbit saying goodnight to the items in his room before going to bed, which is realistic in today’s world. Even though the characters are rabbits, they have human like qualities, shown by the rabbit being tucked into bed, saying goodnight, with an older female rabbit watching over him. His room also contains pictures, a clock, and a telephone, making the story seem realistic. It can also be considered this genre due to the theme reflecting actual children’s lives. Also, the dialogue of the main character sounds natural, as he is saying goodnight to the items in his room, as children often do.



Textual Elements 


-- Setting --


    The book takes place in a great green room in the home of the rabbit that is going to bed. It takes place from 7:00 pm to 8:10 pm, which is the time it takes the rabbit to say goodnight to everything in the room and fall asleep. Goodnight Moon occurs during the winter, shown by the snow on the ground outside and the hanging mittens and socks in his room, next to the fire.


-- Characters --


The rabbit -- He is main character but is never mentioned directly in the book. He is the one who is going around the room noticing all of the items and saying goodnight to them.


The old lady -- The old lady is not mentioned by name but she is shown sitting in a rocking chair knitting and saying "hush." She could either be the rabbit's mom or grandmother but it is not known who she is.


There are no other animal or human characters in this book besides the mouse and the kittens but they are only mentioned while saying goodnight and shown in the pictures.


-- Point of view --


It is not stated who is telling the story but it can be assumed that it is from the little rabbit's perspective.  However, while a young child is reading the story, it is very easy for the reader to take on the point of view and pretend they themselves are saying goodnight to the things in the room.


-- Theme --


The importance of rituals -- The little rabbit cannot go to bed before he says goodnight to nearly everything in the room. 


Innocence -- The outside world seems to have no effect on what is happening when the little rabbit is going to bed. He is not worried about life tomorrow or the problems that may have occurred during the day. He is just happy to be in bed and say goodnight to all of the objects in his bedroom.  This theme is also prevalent in the idea that the little rabbit saying goodnight to inanimate objects in an effort to reassure them as he is being reassured himself.


--Text/Font Choices--

Goodnight Moon uses the same style of font throughout the whole story, which is a simple bold font. On the black and white pages, the font is in black located below the images, aligned to the left. On the colored pages, the font is written in orange located in the corner of the page in dark blue bubbles.


Artistic Elements 


There are many artistic elements to this book. The illustrator uses bright water colors to make certain aspects stand out. Bright reds are used for the floor and a vivid green is used for the walls of the room. When the room is shown as a whole, color is used to make the room inviting and warm.

Goodnight Moon is illustrated in two types of drawings one being small ink drawings in black in white like the kittens, mittens and cow jumping over the moon. The other is wide bright colors, full spread between two pages of the little rabbits room. 



But when individual aspects of the room are shown, they are black and white.


On the pages where the black and white pictures are shown in the center of the page, demonstrated above, with white empty space around it, the negative space is making a type of silhouette of the pictures. This makes the reader focus on the image, since besides this illustration in the middle, and the black text below it, the page is empty and white.  In one page, the author and illustrator use the white space as the object indicated by the text.





This shows the readers that all of the aspects of the room need to be included for it to be complete. The pictures play a huge role in the story because there is so little text on each page. Instead of having the readers focus on what the text is saying, the pictures help tell more of what is going on in the story. This story is heavily focused on the illustrations, but still needs the text to make sense of the story. If the text of saying good night to the objects was not present, the story would only consist of pictures of items in the rabbit's room.




This book presents a unique aspect which is very enjoyable to young readers and that is being able to search for pictures mentioned in the text in the main picture (in this book, the great green room).  This is a very fun activity that provide the reader with incentive to read the text.  Reading the text provides the reader with next object to find in the main room.  This also promotes the reader to passively associate words in the text with objects in the pictures. 


Goodnight Moon is drawn in the form of representational art. The illustrations show a realistic portrayal of characters and objects. The characters are shown in pajamas and nightgowns, while in the younger rabbit’s bedroom, before going to sleep. The rabbits are drawn to look realistic of what the reader would imagine them to look like. There are also pet cats playing with yarn on the floor, and pictures of cows, and bears that appear to be accurate to real life. The objects in the room are also accurate, like the fireplace, bookshelf, toy house, and furniture. Lastly, the events taking place in the story are literal as the little rabbit is saying goodnight to the objects in his room along with the moon and the stars.

The composition of this book has two general styles. First, there is the layout of the rabbit’s room covering the whole spread of the two pages. On these pages, the text is located in the corner of the page, in dark blue bubbles. The other composition style in this book is white pages with black and white pictures in the middle. Here, the text is written below the picture in black.



Analysis and Critique



This picture book is exceptionally effective in literary terms and with it's artwork. The author is able to turn a simple book into a bedtime classic. The simple yet elegant way the book uses rhymes makes the book feel like we are reading a poem, which makes for an easy read for kids as well as adults.  While this is enjoyable to listen to, it is also a learning tool for early readers.  Rhyming helps develop phonological awareness by helping readers associate sounds in different words that sound the same.  Goodnight Moon has many examples of rhyming that will help early readers establish a sense of what constitutes a word that rhymes and what does not.  The book's simple approach to presenting the text also helps promote rhyme learning.  There is almost no unneeded text to bog the reader down.  The words that rhyme are mostly on the same opened page so he reader can quickly look back and forth at each word and can compare the graphemes directly.  The book turns this simple story almost into an adventure, seeking out different objects in the room and making sure each one gets their own special goodnight. Brown uses an uncomplicated style which makes is for the reader to follow along without having to think too hard.

Perspective, Voice, and Style


The illustrations are what really brings this book to life. Hurd is meticulous in the details of each picture. For example, in each picture of the great green room, the small mouse can be found in it. The mouse moves around from place to place, at one time being by the fireplace, only to be on top of the book case a few pages later. Elements like this really bring the story to life because it allows the reader to explore the drawings and see what is really going on as the little rabbit is saying goodnight. From the first page to the last, you can slowly see the room get darker and darker, just as if you were in the room with the little rabbit as he was getting ready to fall asleep. Small details in the pictures are what makes Goodnight Moon incredible, such as noticing that a copy of Goodnight Moon is on the table next to the little rabbit's bed. Pictures like the clock continuing to move forward every time it is shown, or that the moon slowly makes its way higher in the sky as the book goes on are things that are hard to appreciate the first time you read this book but really add character to the story.

Social Relevancy


Socially, this book is more relevant now more than ever. Goodnight Moon has become on of the most popular children's books of all time and is considered a staple in a child's book collection. Even though this book was written over 60 years ago, people still relate to being a child and going to bed, saying goodnight to anything and everything. Adults remember when their parents would tuck them in and read this book to them multiple times. They remember the vivid pictures and the famous line, "Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light and the red balloon." These adults want Goodnight Moon to be a part of their own childrens lives just like it was part of theirs.



While Goodnight Moon is very simple in concept, an overt message is clearly present with hidden connotations.  Many young readers are children who may have trouble or difficulties with the idea of going to bed.  Whether it be not wanting to be alone as they fall asleep or they fear the dark, many children have difficulty with falling asleep.  Goodnight Moon presents a method of falling asleep by saying goodnight to everything in the bedroom.  This helps children feel like they are not alone in the room and established a sense of safety as they fall asleep.  This idea is helped with the presence of an adult (in Goodnight Moon, the quiet old lady) in the room as the child says goodnight.  Goodnight Moon exemplifies this ritual in a story that is very appropriate for bedtime reading.  What starts as a story ends in a bedtime activity that eases the child to sleep comfortably.     






Brown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight Moon. Clement Hurd. New York City: HarperCollins Publishers, 1947.





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