I read quite a funny post on a blog called The Ugly Volvo that is currently making the rounds on social media. There are several points that I must admit, I myself have snickered about when reading one of the most important volumes of the American canon of children's literature. So before my rebuttal, you should read the original blog post in its entirety here: http://theuglyvolvo.com/issues-goodnight-moon-bedroom/
I have read Goodnight Moon to three young boys more times than I could possibly count and feel quite certain that I could have recalled the details of the story on which the grievances were made without the use of the photos included in the article. But I did enjoy having them around, just for the heck of it.
I have the answer to each of the grievances offered. It's quite simple to be honest. There's only one explanation for each and every apparent inconsistency. While author Margaret Wise and illustrator Clement Hurd were both native New Yorkers, they were inspired from above to write one volume in the greatest of all literary genres. That's right ladies and gentlemen, the rabbits in the children's classic Goodnight Moon, are Southerners. Don't believe me? Read along.
1) The size of the bedroom: Yes, I must admit that this room is a little large. But judging by the size of the room and the height of the ceiling that is obviously an old Southern home, with Victorian, or more likely Folk Victorian, construction. I myself slept in a room that rivaled this one in size while I was in high school and my current bathroom isn't much smaller than that. So it's really not that much of a shocker.
2) The little toy house: If you consider this theory as a whole, what sort of toy house would good Southerners buy their child? Yes. A Southern one, with bedrooms like the one one listed above. And of course it has working electricity. Junior probably wired it himself.
3) Transcript: The interior is not a surprise in this scenario because the color scheme of tomato floors with green and gold curtains is traditional in many a great Southern plantation home. Did you see Gone with the Wind? Scarlet, the quintessential Southern belle, made a dress from some old velvet drapes of green and gold. How many women have admired that dress and longed to wear it themselves?
4) The Bookshelf: Yes this could be trouble as well until you consider that Gone with the Wind (the book this time), Shelby Foote's The Civil War, Douglas Freeman's Robert E. Lee, and Aleck Stephens' A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States are just a sample of what is available for the Southern youngster to read. You know, when the time is right.
5) The Mush: The mush ain't Cream of Wheat. That would ruin this whole theory. Ain't no Southerner gonna be caught dead eating Cream of Wheat. We eat grits.
6) The World's Smallest Most Useless Clothesline: Okay, that's not a clothesline. That's a TV tray with the tray top removed. The lady of the house probably picked it up at a yard sale or maybe the Goodwill. It works perfect for air drying small items like gloves and socks. Improvise. This point may also be the most convincing. Because no matter what you may think about their clothes drying, these rabbits still don't care how they do it in New York.
7) Continued...: We covered this topic back in Point 3. But if it makes you New Yorkers feel better, the red is nothing more than the Pantone color of the year for 2015. Besides, this story isn't possibly in New York, you can actually see the stars in the sky outside. Let's move along.
8) The Dangerously Non-Childproofed Fireplace: The Blue Willow china urns are fairly typical in the South. It's a pretty well-known pattern. That mantle clock has been in the family for years. What are you going to do, throw it away? And yes, there should be a screen, but they only use the thing 6 or 8 or maybe a dozen times a year at most. And since all the kids have experience building campfires for roasting marshmallows and such, it's really no hazard. The kid probably built the fire. And heating the room isn't hard. It's the South, it doesn't get that cold. The fire is really more for ambiance than heat.
9) The Totally Ignored Existential Mouse: The answer to this one, which I will elaborate on in the next point, is that the mouse knows that any further movement would be much more lethal than anything else in that room.
10) The Black Office Telephone: This one is simple. The phone is now a toy. The family upgraded and the child acquired this one to use when playing office. I know the child isn't about to phone that lady or use any other means to ask that lady to stop whispering hush. That's because that kid understands that in The South when mama whispers "hush," you hush. You don't sass, you don't cry, mice don't scurry across the floor, cat's don't pounce, nothing. There will be a slight crackle in the fire and the stars will twinkle silently outside. Even the moon, that's right, if the moon so much as murmurs, "Good Night Moon" is gonna become "Lights Out Moon." Hush means hush or you'll find yourself getting up off of the floor. That's why the mouse is standing there.
11) The Picture of Bears in a Couple's Therapy Session: Actually, those two bears on the left were square dancing while the one on the right was playing the fiddle. But the lady whispered "hush," so...yeah.
12) And in closing: I'm glad that more decorating caught this point because if you flip over another page you'll find the book's illustrator, Clement Hurd savoring a cigarette with an expression that can only be translated as "Ahhh, they're right. The South does produce fine tobacco." And, considering the New York City theme that ran through the original critique, I'm afraid Bill de Blasio will jump into the book to try to take that thing away from ol' Clement. I don't think Bill wants to tussle with a man like Mr. Hurd, but that isn't my main concern.
That's right. The lady said hush and if Bill jumps into this book at that point, he's gonna find himself getting up off the floor. Come to think of it...that might be rather entertaining.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire