The Taste of Others, part 8: Goodnight quality, goodnight decency, goodnight future.

3 Dec

(I’ve written three more of these, and then I’m moving on.)

This genuinely surprised me. The amount of vitriol aimed at Goodnight, Moon, a sweet, soft, lullaby of a poem feels disconnected to reality. There’s an undercurrent—more prevalent with canonized novels but present with children’s books, too—to try and puncture a classic because it’s a classic. I don’t think anyone would criticize this tiny little music box of a book otherwise. Still, Goodnight Moon seemed to irritate a number of reviewers. These got my hackles up, as Simone loved this book when she was a baby. There’s something comforting about it. There’s an undercurrent of decency. Why anyone would say mean, dismissive things about it is mystifying. Some of these are hysterical, especially the last two, and they all reveal all types of things about the reviewers’ values. I’ve put my comments, which I’ve kept to a minimum, in bold-face type.

I haven’t edited these to my house style; it seemed like a waste of time, although I despise some of the mistakes. I can only take solace in the fact that the mistakes aren’t mine. Anyway, read on.

250px-Goodnightmoon

Title: Not sure why this is a classic

I’ve heard people rave about this book, but after reading it to my infant, I’m left a little stumped at why it’s so popular. The story isn’t exceptionally good or well written. The illustrations aren’t particularly good. Some parts of the book rhyme, and some don’t, which is a bit inconsistent. Some parts don’t even make sense (i.e. “Goodnight nothing.” ?????). The only good thing about this book is that it is a board book and a good size for smaller hands. One other good thing is my infant likes to chew on it. 🙂 This book was included in a baby wash and lotion set that was gifted to us. I would not buy this book for myself, and I would not recommend this book to a friend. However, it’s just okay if you can find it for 10 cents at a yard sale or thrift store.

(The book is supposed to be calming, soothing. Yet this next reviewer seems to think a book with the title Goodnight, Moon should read like The Hunger Games.)

Title: Where’s the story? Where’s the HOOK?

Man, those other 1-star reviews were right: this book sucks! I tried to read it to my son when I first got it, and he was like “Dad, I’m playing Halo! Get out of my apartment!” Oh well, one down. Maybe my other kids’ll like it, or so I thought…

After that, I went and tried to read it to my youngest daughter and guess what? She fell asleep halfway through! It’s so boring that it put a 6 month old to sleep. What a ripoff!

Finally, I read it to my 3 year old daughter, and she was more impressed by my The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee! In a moment of genius, I replaced the word “Goodnight” with “Three Wolf” in the story, and it was like a flock of angels came down and ripped an awesome power chord- rocking my daughter to sleep.

(This is a very strange review. The reviewer wants you to think he/she is calm and rational, but then says some very bizarre things. The key is that this person took the time to write a lengthy review about a book with little real criticism, other than it was boring. He/she traffics in generalizations, instead of pinpointing the flaws.)

Title: I fell asleep in Target!

Well, almost! What an absolutely over-rated book. I wanted so badly to like this book. My son is only 18-months-old and we own over 125 books—a mixture of newer books and vintage classics. I went to Target to specifically get THIS book, and you wouldn’t have believed the look of shock on my face as I finished the last page.

I nearly fell asleep standing there reading it. I guess it serves its purpose then, huh? So, yeah, if you are merely trying to get your kid to fall asleep, then PLEASE DO get this book because it’s guaranteed that your child will Bore N’ Snore within about 2 pages.

Just a simple book (simplicity is great in most cases, sadly not this time) about a bunny saying goodnight to the objects in his room. Every other page is done in black and white illustrations. Can’t believe this actually got published with all the competition out there.

It really is a shame…good childrens’ books are getting harder to come by these days as far as newly written ones go. As far as older classics–I would never classify this book as one of them.

Oh, and by the way…negatively rate me as much as you want…I find it funny that people give negative ratings when people give plenty of information on the product, but simply because they disagree they have to say it wasn’t helpful. Whatever…have fun 🙂

(Here’s another weirdo. This reviewer wants to do a close reading of the book, which is really a kind of sweet nonsense poem in the spirit, but not the style, of Lewis Carroll. A reader this literal shouldn’t read poetry at all, or fiction either. I love that the reviewer’s child is so advanced, yet the reviewer’s basic grasp of grammar and writing is so weak.)

Title: Huh?!?!

I have a 26-month-old who is on par with 5-year-olds for his vocabulary. He loves books, and mostly longer books that tell a story. I saw this at the library and decided to see what the hype was about. I was so confused as to why this is rated so high. My son asked me “Mama, what’s mush?” Um…..I didn’t know what to say. What is mush? Is that even a noun? I know mushy is adjective of course. Then the “old lady” aka a rabbit – so confusing! My son again asked “what’s an old lady?” Well an old lady ISN’T a knitting rabbit. He clearly knows what a rabbit/bunny is. He knows what a noise is, since he always asks “What’s that noise?” when he hears something. At the end when the author writes “Goodnight noises everywhere” makes no sense.

All in all, I think this book is confusing and detrimental to a toddler’s vocabulary. So glad I didn’t pay for this one and I recommend you don’t either! There are books out there that are so much better and valuable!

(This is review is almost sweet, but also bizarre. Of all the books to find scary!)

Title: Pictures are scary

I got this book because of the rave reviews. When I read this to my 1st child and I think he was about 18 months old at the time, he was scared looking at the pictures. The sleepy ‘rabbit’ looked so small in the huge room and there where shadows everywhere.

My child could be very sensitive because he was scared when I read ‘Cat in the Hat’ because the story is about a stranger in the house with the kids! I think at that time, he was between 1 to 2 years old.

(An absolute gem of a review.)

Title: Teaches children flawed natural order

This book, though highly regarded, sets the stage for something awful in childhood development. It teaches children to anthropomorphise (and on top of that show respect to!) all sorts of random aspects of creation. I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to have my child concern himself with pleasantries to objects. The room serves us, not the other way around! It should thank us for building it and giving it a purpose, not expect us to wish it well at night. It’s this type of nonsense that will have my child on the dole after dropping out of high school.

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One Response to “The Taste of Others, part 8: Goodnight quality, goodnight decency, goodnight future.”

  1. Sean December 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Ben -> The appearance of the Three Wolf Moon shirt in the second review tells me all i need to know about that one -> he’s clearly going for the over-the-top fake review. I think both this one and the last hit the target on their anthropomorphosized nose.

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