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Goodnight Moon


Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon
A page from the book
Author Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator Clement Hurd
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Harper & Brothers
Publication date
September 3, 1947
Pages 32pp
OCLC 299277
[E] 21
LC Class PZ7.B8163 Go 1997
Followed by My World

Goodnight Moon is an American children's picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It was published on September 3, 1947, and is a highly acclaimed example of a bedtime story. It features a child saying good night to everything around: "Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon ...".


  • Synopsis 1
  • Literary significance and reception 2
  • Allusions and references 3
  • Publication history 4
  • Sequels 5
  • Satire 6
  • References 7


Goodnight Moon is classic children's literature in North America. The text is a rhyming poem, describing an anthropomorphic bunny's bedtime ritual of saying "good night" to various objects in the bunny's bedroom: the red balloon, the bunny's dollhouse, the kittens, etc.

Literary significance and reception

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.[1] Based on a 2007 on-line poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children".[2] In 2012 it was ranked number four among the "Top 100 Picture Books" in a survey published by School Library Journal.[3]

Author Susan Cooper writes that the book is possibly the only "realistic story" to gain the universal affection of a fairy-tale, although she also noted that it is actually a "deceptively simple ritual" rather than a story.[4]

Brown bequeathed the royalties to the book to (among many others) Albert Clarke, who was the nine-year-old son of a neighbor when Brown died. In 2000, reporter Joshua Prager detailed in the Wall Street Journal the troubled life of Mr. Clarke who has squandered the millions of dollars the book has earned him and who believes that Brown was his mother, a claim others dismiss.[5]

In 2005, publisher HarperCollins digitally altered the photograph of illustrator Hurd, which had been on the book for at least twenty years, to remove a cigarette. Its editor-in-chief for children's books, Kate Jackson said, "It is potentially a harmful message to very young [children]." HarperCollins had the reluctant permission of Hurd's son, Thacher Hurd, but the younger Hurd said the photo of Hurd with his arm and fingers extended, holding nothing, "looks slightly absurd to me".[6] HarperCollins has said it will likely replace the picture with a different, unaltered photo of Hurd in future editions. In response, a satirical article demanded the removal of other potentially dangerous objects in the book, such as the fireplace and balloon (a choking hazard for young children).[7]

The book has been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Catalan, Hebrew, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Korean, and Hmong.

Allusions and references

Goodnight Moon contains a number of references to The Runaway Bunny. For example, the painting hanging over the fireplace of "The Cow Jumping Over the Moon" first appeared in The Runaway Bunny. However, when reprinted in Goodnight Moon, the udder "for caution's sake was reduced to an anatomical blur" to avoid the controversy that E.B. White's Stuart Little had undergone when published in 1945 (Making of Goodnight Moon, 21). The other painting in the room, which is never explicitly mentioned in the text, portrays a bunny fly-fishing for another bunny, using a carrot as bait. This picture is also a reference to The Runaway Bunny. The top shelf of the bookshelf holds an open copy of The Runaway Bunny, and there is a copy of Goodnight Moon on the nightstand.

The telephone is mentioned early in the book, but is absent from the litany of 'Good night ...' salutations. The primacy of the reference to the telephone indicates that the bunny is in his mother's room and his mother's bed.[8]

Publication history

In addition to multiple octavo and duodecimo paperback editions, Goodnight Moon is available in board book edition, a book whose pages are actually stiff cardboard to make it suitable to give to a very young child, as well as a "jumbo" edition, suitable for use with large groups.

  • 1991, USA, HarperFestival ISBN 0-694-00361-1, Pub date 30 September 1991, board book
  • 1997, USA, HarperCollins ISBN 0-06-027504-9, Pub date 28 February 1997, Hardback 50th anniversary edition
  • 2007, USA, HarperCollins ISBN 0-694-00361-1, Pub date 23 January 2007, Board book 60th anniversary edition


My World, billed as "a companion to Goodnight Moon", and also written by Brown and illustrated by Hurd, was published in 1949.[9]


In 1993 Animaniacs parodied Good Night Moon in an episode called "Nighty Night Toons".

In the 12th season episode "Insane Clown Poppy" of The Simpsons, Christopher Walken, voiced by Jay Mohr, reads "Goodnight Moon" to a group of terrified children.[10]

In Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, after realizing that he can now be happy now that Batman's dead, Batman says goodnight to the Batcave, his allies, and his enemies in a tone similar to "Goodnight Moon."

In 2009, Bruce Worden and Clare Cross published Goodnight Keith Moon online, in which The Who's former drummer has already died by the first page. It was adapted into a picture book in 2011 by Can of Worms Press.

In 2010, CollegeHumor posted five Science Fiction spoofs of well-known children's stories, including a mashup of Goodnight Moon and Frank Herbert's novel Dune, entitled Goodnight Dune.[11] In 2011, author Julia Yu adapted the image on CollegeHumor into a full homage of Moon, also titled Goodnight Dune[12]

In 2011, Ann Droyd published a book called Goodnight ipad--a parody of Goodnight Moon, where a family of rabbits are addicted to electronic devices including the phone, tablet, computer, and big screen TV, and how the old woman of the family throws all the electronic devices out the window.

In 2013, GWAR lead singer Oderus Urungus did a "live audio read" of the book.[13]

In 2013, ZeniMax Online Studios created a parody of the book titled "Goodnight Mundus" for the MMO The Elder Scrolls Online. The game's loremaster Lawrence Schick is seen reading the book aloud in a video parody posted by their official YouTube account[14] and the contents of the video were later added as a book in the game.

In 2014, Rolling Stone magazine published "Goodnight Spoon," recounting a debauched experience by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards in a Paris hotel.

The University of Minnesota Press published the 2015 book Goodnight Loon, full of Minnesota Northwoods language. The original text's bunny is replaced by the university's mascot, Goldy Gopher.[15][16]


  1. ^ "The Writer's Almanac for the week of May 21, 2007". 
  2. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  3. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". "A Fuse #8 Production". Blog.  
  4. ^ Cooper, Susan (1981). Betsy Hearne; Marilyn Kay, eds. Celebrating Children's Books: Essays on Children's Literature in Honor of Zena Sutherland. New York: Lathrop, Lee, and Shepard Books. p. 15.  
  5. ^ Prager, Joshua (September 8, 2000). "Runaway Money". Wall Street Journal. p. A1. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  6. ^ Wyatt, Edward (November 17, 2005). Goodnight Moon,' Smokeless Version"'". New York Times. Retrieved 2005-11-23. 
  7. ^ Karbo, Karen (December 4, 2005). "Goodbye, Moon". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  8. ^ Pearson, Claudia. Have a Carrot: Oedipal Theory and Symbolism in Margaret Wise Brown's Runaway Bunny Trilogy. Look Again Press (2010). ISBN 978-1-4524-5500-6.
  9. ^ Brown, Margaret Wise, and Hurd, Clement. My World (Harper, 1949). ISBN 0-06-024798-3.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Five Sci-Fi Children's Books". College Humor.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ [2].
  15. ^ "Goodnight Loon".  
  16. ^ Grossman, Mary Ann (November 30, 2014). "Children's books for the holidays and year-round".  
  • Marcus, Leonard S. Making of Goodnight Moon. New York: HarperTrophy, 1997.
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