Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Best Book Ever?

Today I had to take Lincoln to the pediatrician for a nasty-looking rash spreading up one leg, which started at a blister he got at football practice. It turns out he has bullous impetigo which is treated in a pretty straight-forward fashion with antibiotics. I was initially scared he was developing MRSA, the flesh-eating and antibiotic-resistant skin infection that is spreading rapidly through the world of youth contact sports. The first pediatrician who examined him, who was pregnant, practically leaped backward out of the exam room in initial fear that he had shingles, of all things, which is apparently related to chickenpox and therefore a risk factor for babies in utero. She called in Dr. Jackie Gottlieb, who is a pediatric icon in the Stone Mountain area. It took her all of one second to diagnose, prescribe and wish us a good day. What a relief.

Anyway........I wrote all that to say that while we were in the exam room waiting to be seen I found a copy of the classic young child's bedtime story, Goodnight Moon, first published in 1947. Millions of copies of this little book are in print, and I probably read this sweet tale to my kids hundreds of times over the first years of their lives. I hadn't thought about it in years but reading it today carried me back to those many nights tucking the kids into bed.

For those who don't know, this is a very simple description (it hardly merits being called a story) of a young bunny falling asleep. With each page an object in the little bunny's bedroom is told "goodnight". Kittens, mittens, socks, clocks, pictures, a balloon, a bowl of "mush" (which I always changed to "cereal" because who the heck knows what mush is any more?), etc. Eventually it's the stars, the air, the "noises everywhere" that are being bid a good night. My favorite line is "Goodnight nobody." Perhaps only "Jesus wept " surpasses the powerful brevity of those two simple words.

Along with "Guess How much I Love You" and "Love You Forever", this book defines the reassuring innocence and safety of a parent's love. There are some very funny deconstructions of "Goodnight Moon", which is a true mark of its status as a classic of its genre. I can't imagine a world in which it would ever go out of print.

Goodnight nobody.

1 comment:

Angela said...

"goodnight nobody" were the two words we always said with different inflection then snuggled closer as we laughed and looked into each other's eyes. thanks for bringing back this dear moment I shared with my children as well as the children I nannied.