Friday, June 17, 2016

Fiction Friday (42)

On this Friday, I've decided to post a review of book that I've known quite well for decades but which my opinion about has changed drastically in the past few months. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a person of strong opinions and usually have stubborn convictions on said opinions. So for me to have a change of heart, especially on a book, is quite rare. I'm pretty pleased to say this is the first thing on which my daughter has changed my opinion, though I'm quite certain it won't be the last.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
(HarperCollins 1947)

When I worked in Children's publishing as buyer, I hated this book. I'd read it many, many times and never saw what people liked about it. It was dull. It was boring. It was a book that I crusaded against as one that had seen its time and needed to be retired. 

I was wrong.

Of course when my daughter was born, this book was one that was given to her. When she was about three months old, I read it to her for the first time, without much excitement. At the time, I still believed what I believed. We didn't read it very many times after. Then, about two months ago, I read it to her again as we were getting her ready for bed and saw how how much she liked it and how it soothed her. 

We read it a few more times, and soon she started pointing at the things as I read about them. My interest in the book grew. We began reading it every other night. For the first time I understood the genius in the rhythm of the text. I began to appreciate the nonsense quality of the items and the randomness of things chosen. And I discovered the art of reading it aloud and how it lends itself to a magical, peaceful ending. 

So goodnight old opinions. Goodnight criticism. Goodnight nobody. And goodnight mush.

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