All of my Issues With the “Goodnight Moon” Bedroom

I’ve read Goodnight Moon almost every night for the past two years.  It’s a wonderful book which my son enjoys.  Here are some of my issues with the bedroom depicted in it.

1.  The Size of the Bedroom

aa goodnight moon 1
Nice bedroom and/or place to possibly hold the 2024 Olympics

This bedroom is enormous.  There is no one, I think, who has not noticed this.  As someone who has lived in apartments only slightly larger than “a little toy house,” it’s mildly vexing that this bedroom is the size of a banquet hall in Downton Abbey.

 

2. The Little Toy house.

This little toy house would rent out for $2500 a month in Manhattan (not including utilities)
This little toy house would rent out for $2500 a month in Manhattan (not including utilities)

This is not that little of a toy house.  Not only could the rabbit easily fit inside the “little toy house,” the little toy house also has working electricity.  Why are these rabbits so civilized?  Is this some f**ked up Watership Down sequel???

 

3. This Just-Discovered Transcript of a Conversation Had by the Interior Decorators

The color scheme we're going for is "exploded paint factory."
The color scheme we’re going for is “exploded paint factory.”

“So what color have we decided on for the upstairs child’s bedroom?”

Which child’s bedroom?”

“The enormous one.  The one with the expansive tomato-colored floor.”

“I was thinking for that room maybe a dark green?”

“Really?  Dark green?  You don’t think maybe dark green walls with a tomato-colored floor is a bit much?”

No, it’ll look amazing.  We can break up the monotony of the color with some dark green and yellow striped curtains.”

“That’s an amazing idea.  On non-matching red and yellow spearhead curtain rods?  Do you think a tiger skin rug would be overkill?”

For a young child’s room?  No.  Not at all.  ”  

4. This Bookshelf

"For tonight would you rather read 'Hop on Pop' or the entire Encyclopedia Britanica?"
“For tonight would you rather read ‘Hop on Pop’ or the entire Encyclopedia Britanica?”

Why are these books so thick?  This is a child’s bedroom, not a law library.  Unless this rabbit is defending a doctoral thesis, there’s no need for him to own every non-fiction hardcover from Farrar Straus and Giroux.

 

5. The Idea That Anyone Would Keep a Comb and a Brush and a Bowl Full of Mush on the Same Table

Almost as appealing as a nailclipper next to a plate of sunny-side up eggs.
Almost as appealing as a nailclipper next to a plate of sunny-side up eggs.

I’m right now trying to picture a situation in which I would place my unwashed hairbrush next to a bowl of cream of wheat and even the idea of it is turning my stomach.

Oh, you’re eating a bowl of warm cereal?  How do you take it?  With milk, cinnamon and dozens of soggy, long white hairs?

*Vomits onto neatly stacked fireplace logs*

 

6. The World’s Smallest Most Useless Clothesline

Somewhere a personal organizer is having an aneurysm from this thing
Somewhere a personal organizer is having an aneurysm from this thing

After living in New York City for almost a decade I’m very big into “intelligent use of space,” and the fact that this much floor space is taken up by a free standing clothesline that’s being used to dry ONE pair of socks and ONE pair of mittens makes me grind my teeth.  Mount it on the wall, idiots!  The people at IKEA would have a seizure if they looked at this room.  Also, isn’t there a laundry room or something?  Just put it in there.

 

7.   Continued…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

“So what color do you think for the child’s bed?”

I was thinking like a tomato-ish red color?”

“You remember the floor’s a tomato-ish red color.”

Yeah.”

“You don’t think that’s a lot of red for a child’s bedroom?  We don’t want it to look like the Amityville Horror kill room or anything.”

You don’t trust me?  I’ve been decorating children’s bedrooms for almost twenty years.”

“No, I trust you, I trust you.  So you want to do all the furniture in red?”

Are you out of your f**king mind?  Of course not.  For the rest of the furniture I was thinking something sophisticated, like a mustard yellow.”

“For everything??  All the furniture?”

All the furniture.”

“Even the little toy house?”

Are you seriously asking me this?  No.  Of course not.  The little toy house should be red.”

 

8. The Dangerously Non-childproofed Fireplace

Also, nothing says "child's bedroom" like an expensive mantelpiece clock bordered by Cookie Monster-blue funeral urns.
Also, nothing says “child’s bedroom” like an expensive mantelpiece clock bordered by Cookie Monster-blue funeral urns.

Look, I’m not a crazy stickler for safety or anything but shouldn’t there at least be a screen between the roaring open flame and the rest of the nursery?  Also, can we talk about how the heating situation is going to play out?  You’re going to use an old fashioned fireplace to heat a room the size of an elementary school gymnasium when the room has zero radiators and two enormous single-paned windows?  Have fun!  You’ll be totally fine with that thin green blanket you’ve thrown over the kid’s legs!

 

9. The Totally Ignored Existential Mouse

As casual about their infestations as they are exacting about their interior design.
As casual about their infestations as they are exacting about their interior design.

Anyone notice this guy?   What sort of mouse just hangs out in the middle of the carpet in an enormous open room within spitting distance of two cats?  Clearly this illustrator has never had an apartment with mice because real mice creep along the edges of rooms, usually in the dark, along baseboards and under furniture, occasionally chewing through the walls.  Given his devil-may-care attitude, this mouse is obviously lucid in a way we cannot understand, or rabid.

 

10. The idea that a child this young (rabbit or human) would need a black office telephone by his bedside.

"Goodnight, Technologically-out-of-date telephone"
“Goodnight, Technologically-out-of-date telephone”

Who’s calling, his financial adviser?  Why would someone this age need a telephone unless it’s to call the woman across the vast expanse of his bedroom to ask her to stop whispering, “Hush.”

 

11.  This Picture of Bears in a Couples Therapy Session

"So you say your mother was protective. Tell me more..."
“So you say your mother was…protective?”

Husband Bear:  We’ve started fighting more since our son was born.  I feel like she resents me.  I feel like every little thing turns into an argument.”

Wife Bear:  “How could I not resent you?  We have a newborn and you’re off eating salmon in a PBS documentary while I’m stuck at home 24/7.

Husband Bear: “Don’t start, Janet!  That documentary was a once in a lifetime opportunity!”

Therapist Bear:  You sound angry.

Husband Bear:  Brilliant observation!  It took you eight years of graduate school to figure that out?

Therapist Bear:  Let’s all take a deep breath.  In, two three, out, two three…

(They are all silent for several seconds)

Wife Bear:  Also, a tomato red floor seems like a really bold choice for a psychologist’s office, doesn’t it?

Husband Bear:  God, you are so CRITICAL OF EVERYTHING.

Wife Bear:  Ugh.  My mother told me not to marry a grizzly.

*Husband Storms out.  Wife sobs quietly.  Psychologist quietly questions whether he was wise in going with the blue walls and mustard yellow office furniture.*

 12.  And in closing…

"Are we about done decorating this apocalypse of a bedroom?"
“Are we about done decorating this apocalypse of a bedroom?”

“Ok, so the mustard-colored bookcase came in. I had them install it in the corner and fill it with large, antique books. ”

Great, so now all we’re waiting on is the round side table, the rocking chair and the freakishly enormous nightstand.”

“So wait, that’s it on the furniture?  It’s a big room, isn’t there going to be a lot of unused space?  Or are we filling that with toys?”

Actually I was thinking for toys let’s keep it real minimal.  I’m thinking maybe one elephant, one giraffe and then the uncomfortably pink naked dolls on the bookshelf.

“You don’t think maybe he could use a few more toys?  It’s such a huge room and it feels so empty and formal.  You’re sure his parents are going to be ok with it?”

Will his parents be ok with it?  Did I not graduate in the top of my class with a degree in interior design?

“I know, I just—”

Have I not been designing rooms for the past twenty years?

“No, I know!  I just thought—”

How about when I want your opinion I ask for it.”

“Arrggghhh.  I’m…I’m sorry I spoke up.”  (struggles between wanting to storm out in anger and being grateful for this apprenticeship, which he knows is a big deal. )

The End

*          *          *

Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming
Welcome to the Club by Raquel D’Apice

 

 If you are going to a baby shower in the near future, I have a book out designed as a gift for new parents called Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming that you can purchase through AmazonBarnes and Noble or Indiebound.  Please buy them a copy in addition to the other cute thing you already bought them!

If you enjoyed this piece, please share it and/or follow The Ugly Volvo on Facebook or Twitter.

Also, if you’d like to buy the book Goodnight Moon, do that too!  Despite my making fun of it, it’s a lovely book that I have read about 4,000 times.  It’s around 12 bucks.  My book is also around 12 bucks.  Go nuts.

And if you read Goodnight Moon to your child all the time, please know that somewhere across the world I’m reading it to my child as well and we’re totally like that scene in An American Tail where they’re simultaneously singing “Somewhere Out There” with Fievel and whatever the girl mouse’s name was.*

*Just looked it up.  It was Tanya.

817 CommentsComment

  1. Can we talk about the red balloon? WHO KEEPS A BALLOON IN A ROOM WITH AN OPEN FIRE, TWO CATS, AND A SLEEPING CHILD?!!! 😉

  2. Avatar

    Greg Francis

    Thank you for this brilliant piece. So observant and clever. As one of millions of parents who spent hours reading this classic to engaged children, I never thought to look at the illustrations and wonder why.Wow -I’m going to have to search out your book.

  3. We’re you trying to be funny and/or clever? I guess you were because you made a few people laugh. I thought your article was dumb in an unimaginative way. Maybe I should have read it all the way through before coming to this conclusion, but I was too bored. Sorry. Better luck next time.

  4. You’re trying too hard, hon.

  5. Avatar

    Marialaina

    You have way too much time on your hands to pick apart a child’s book like that. Try to do something a little more useful with your time.

  6. This is absolutely hilarious! I was laughing the entire time through. Especially at the conversations of the bears and the interior designers. Bravo!

  7. Hahahaha. As a person who appreciates oddities, this was incredibly funny. When I was in a bad mood and reading to my kids, I would take some of those booKS that we really loved and berate them with funny comments. My kids loved it and now appreciate my weird sense of humor. You obviously share in my unique perspective on things. Are we related?? I totally LOVED this.

  8. No comment on the picture of the bunny fishing in the river?
    Disturbing.

  9. Avatar

    JoAnne Gallagher

    Wow! The Velveteen Rabbit better watch out! Bib bad critic is coming to get her

  10. The room? It’s a nursery, the classic sort that housed all the kids in all the great stories–even in less affluent families–Large because it is bedroom, schoolroom, washroom, and playroom…a place where children spent most of their time. The small clothesline? It is there, near the fireplace, expressly for warming and drying socks and mittens. Colors? Have you seen Victorian homes? Garish was the go-to. Now, this may not be a Victorian era story (the phone fouls that up), but they may not have redecorated since then. Pricey. Other than that, costs of color printing meant…choose four colors and be happy with that. Beatrix Potter had the market cornered on soft watercolor shades. Goodnight Moon went wintry bold. The books? See above note on nursery/schoolroom…The phone…well, it just pisses me off. My whole Victorian argument is thrown by the anachronistic 40s era phone sitting at a child’s bedside. Maybe it foretold the coming cell phone era, but the vision was fuzzy.

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