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.”


“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.

839 CommentsComment

  1. Avatar

    Max boeck

    What about the weird fishing picture on the left!!!? It seems to imply a rabbit is fishing for another rabbit in the river!! What kind of weird rabbit-centric universe is this??!

    • Max, hat fishing picture is actually a picture taken from one of the authors other books, “Runaway Bunny,” where the little bunny says he would run away and become a trout in a stream. Mother bunny replies with how she would become a fisherman and fish for him.

    • Avatar

      Sally Keehn

      The fishing picture refers to another charming picture book by Margaret Wise Brown – “The Runaway Bunny.” It was a favorite in our house.

  2. Avatar

    C. Todd-Mandler

    Big picture: kids LOVE this book. It’s all that matters. I think it’s big & colorful because toddlers are small, so everything looks different to them.
    Don’t worry, just read it slowly & go with the flow. It’s not about you, anyway. It’s about feeling safe, language, comfort, structure, routine care-taking and your child being able to self-soothe so they can go to sleep.
    All those repetitive questions young kids ask as they acquire language is answered. This is their world.
    This is an important story which was part of my children’s chilhood & my own. After we read this book, we would tell everything in the child’s bedroom good night. It’s preparing them for you to leave the room and allow them to sleep in their own bed. You have provided them with language and an internalized script. I cannot tell you how often I would hear (over the baby monitor) my children self-soothing by repeating this telling all of their toys goodnight business.
    Try not to over analyze this wonderful story. It’s popular for mysterious reasons only knowable to the very young.

    • That’s basically what the author said. This is a humor piece, not an analysis.

  3. Avatar

    Jane S Gabin

    It’s the lady’s house; the kid is just staying there while his parents are away in Atlantic City for a weekend of drinking and gambling. The buunykin can’t sleep because of the colors and anyway, it’s not his bed. Watching the knitting needles is mesmerizing, though.

  4. I love this book. My daughter’s now in her mid-30s and we continue to quote bits of Goodnight Moon from time to time in our faraway evening texts. “Goodnight, Moon!” “Goodnight, Mush!” That said, I also love this take on it, with its cheeky sense of humour! …. Those who don’t care for it, I’d respectfully suggest: read something else 🙂 …. Goodnight Moon is a story of warmth, love and nonsense, told with utter simplicity and a twinkle of the eye. Twinkling back seems more than fitting. I’m certain Ms D’Apice’s take on things has that cow leaping over the moon laughing all the way.

  5. Love this book, one of my youngest son’s favorites. But you left out my biggest pet peeve. On the black and white page where they say good night to the mittens, the pair of socks has mysteriously disappeared from the clothesline!

  6. Hilarious! I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices odd details and has fun with them. I read the book to my kids and now to my grandchildren. Oh yeah, and thanks for for getting that damn song in my head! 😉

  7. I enjoyed your article on Goodnight Moon. I agreed fully with you on many points. With the mouse, I was surprised you didn’t note that it moves about the room. On each page it’s in a different location in the room. It’s quite alarming. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  8. It’s just a children’s book . I can’t imagine why anyone would care about all this much, less bother to write about it. And no, I’m not trying to be rude. I’m really not.

  9. Avatar

    Roy Geesa

    I honestly thought this whole piece was a joke. If the negative comments were serious, I have to ask if there is any limit to how often some bleeding hearts will find opportunities to feel guilty and then try to make the whole civilized world feel guilty because we are not living in a shoe box. Get over your idiotic guilt!

  10. Avatar

    Susan Lynn

    Did you also think that about the children’s room in Peter Pan?

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