Have you ever read the story "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown? Most of you are probably quite familiar with this bedtime tale, as it is more than 60 years old at this point. It wasn't until I became pregnant and was given a copy at a baby shower that I became aware--and enamored--of it.
"Goodnight Moon" is the story of a little bunny who says goodnight to all the things in his room before he goes to sleep. It's an evening ritual in which many children partake. The bunny says 'goodnight' to many things in his room, which is to say his whole world, including kittens, mittens, clocks and socks and other things that rhyme.
He also says 'goodnight' to nobody. Literally, in the text there is blank page except for what he says: "Goodnight nobody."
I don't get it. Seriously. I don't get it. My one girlfriend who was also unfamiliar with the book until she had a child said she had to read it many times over before she got it. And she can't explain it.
Oddly enough, it seems appropriate for the story given the young readers for whom it is intended. Still, one would think I was mature enough to understand the fine inner workings of Goodnight Moon. Perhaps not.
I mean, I get "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" and "Guess How Much I Love You" and other kids books. I get "Where the Wild Things Are." But Goodnight Moon has me stumped.
When I was a kid we didn't have such stories, those that asked for a little more imagination. I had Cinderella and Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Those stories were straightforward and easy to digest. I didn't have a book that tried to get me to think about the concept of nobody, let alone saying goodnight to no one.
My son seems to understand. He is nearly 4 months old. He smiles or coos at 'goodnight nobody.'
Perhaps whenhe's is old enough he can explain it to me.