7 Reasons Goodnight Moon Is the Worst Kids Book Ever

One of the pleasures of having a kid is getting to read to the kid. Of course, since the Infant is still an infant, the kind of books we get to read to him are picked not for their ability to hold his attention, but the opposite: to convince him sleep is a much better alternative to having another damn page read to him.

The best book we’ve found so far along those lines has been that old “classic” Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd. It’s a nice short book with no plot line and incredibly boring art sure to put any kid to sleep half-way through, which is why, I suspect, it’s a classic. It certainly isn’t a classic for any other reason. In fact, after two months of it being our go-to sleepy time book, it’s become obvious to me the book, short as it is, is perhaps the most complexly awful kid’s book ever. Here’s some reasons why:

1. Expectations Dashed –  For a book called Goodnight Moon, awful strange, don’t you think, that the moon is neither the first thing said goodnight to, nor, as common-sense, poetic symmetry, and the expectations created by the title would seem to demand, the last? The first thing said good night to is the room, and the last a bunch of noises. So why isn’t the book named “Goodnight Room”, Ms. Brown, huh? Just trying to be cleverly post-modern with your arbitrary list of stuff? Or are you just reminding the room and those damned noises that they can be easily replaced by some arbitrary celestial object, and to keep their mouths shut about royalty payments?

2. The Creepy Old Woman – Why exactly is she in the room? And more importantly, how does she get in and out? Ms. Brown goes to great lengths to describe the contents of the room, and then say goodnight to them. No door is mentioned, nor bid goodnight. I suppose the old gal could have crawled in through a window, but at her age, would that be safe? My best guess is she teleported in. Just to tell the kid hush. Kinda a waste of technology, if you ask me.

3. The Two Clocks – Why are there two clocks in the room? Whoever decorated the room is playing a dangerous game — they risk creating a child that grows into a time-obsessed adult who, undoubtedly and inevitably, will forgo a social life and friends in favor of pursuing several advanced physics degrees, eventually building a time machine that unravels the very fabric of the cosmos, precipitating the Big Crunch. So, yeah, that’s for that, you bastard interior decorator.

4. The Lazy Cat Myth – There are two cats, and a mouse. And the cats seem to be letting the mouse live a free and happy life. This is clearly canine-backed propaganda perpetuating the myth that all cats are lazy. Oh, wait. They pretty much are all lazy. Never mind.

5. The Mitten Fetish – For the entire book, a pair of mittens share a drying rack with a pair of socks. Until the mittens are said goodnight to, when all of a sudden they are alone on the rack. Where did the socks — which reappear mysteriously on the very next page — go during the interim? Perhaps the old lady teleported them away. But wherever they went, it is clearly a sign that the artist had an unhealthy thing for mittens. If you know what I mean.

6. The Bedside Phone – There’s a fully-wired phone. Right there next to the kid’s sleeping head. Beside the obvious question of what does a kid need a phone in his room for anyway, aren’t the missing parents just asking for trouble? The kid’s gonna wake up every time the phone rings. Those old-fashioned phones, they weren’t exactly quiet.

7. The Unattended Mush – A bowl of cold mush is left out on the bedside table on the last page, and as the old lady has already teleported away, we can assume that’s where the mush will stay all night. And you know what? That’s how you get ants.

But at the end of the day, teleporting old ladies and arbitrarily-ordered lists aside, the book continues to deliver as a make-’em-want-to-sleep bedtime book. The Infant turns the pages himself, rapidly, two or three at a time, and when we reach the end, he bites the book, giggles, and throws it to the floor, ready to hit the crib and be done with the day–and no, smart ass, he does not say goodnight to everything in the room.

I Love Tank Girl (The Movie, Not the Comic, Which I Don’t Get)

Seriously. I Love 1995’s Tank Girl. You know, the one with Lori Petty and Ice-T as a kangaroo, and Malcolm McDowell as the baddie with a holographic head.


Photo by Suzanne Tenner – © 1994 United Artists Pictures Inc

If any single movie influenced Take the All-Mart! the most, it had to be Tank Girl. The original draft of Take the All-Mart! even opened with Trip talking directly to the reader about how the world had been destroyed a half-dozen times over and everybody was pretty well fucked now — a homage to Tank Girl’s opening narration.

I loved everything about the movie. The script was sharp, the actors knew exactly what kind of movie they were making and ran with it, and the world the movie presented was this perfect fully-drawn pocket universe. It was just downright fun.

So it’s always stunned me that I seem to be in the minority in my love for this film. It’s got a 4.8 on IMDB. That’s a worse rating than Saw 3D: The Final Chapter and only slightly better than Jaws 3-D. How is that even possible? In what kind of sick and depraved universe do we live in? I mean, come on: Lori Petty just nailed Tank Girl’s snark and spunk, and how could you not crush on Jet Girl? And did I not mention Malcolm McDowell is in it? And Iggy fucking Pop? And Mr. James Hong? And that awesome soundtrack — Devo and Bjork and Magnificent Bastards? And right in the middle of it there’s a frakking musical dance number?

Seriously. Instead of a 4.8 on IMDB Tank Girl deserves to be ensconced in the Funky Goofy Wildly Entertaining Sci-Fi Movie Hall of Fame, along with Buckaroo Banzai, Big Touble in Little China, and Army of Darkness. So, if such a thing exists, and you are or know the person in charge, get on that. Chop chop.

P.S. Yeah, about the comic the movie was based on. Read it. Didn’t get it. It’s very British underground scene, a lot of jargon and in-jokes. Art’s great, and I’m sure if I was smart enough to grok all the references I’d thoroughly enjoy it. But I’m not, and I didn’t. So sue me.

How Ben Kenobi Really Spent His Years On Tatooine

I’m sure when he set up shop on Tatooine after that whole Darth Sidious debacle, Obi-Wan sincerely intended to keep a low profile and a close eye on the boy Luke. But even a jedi’s best laid plans can be waylaid by a frothy mug. (Click the images for a larger version.)

My Mother’s Pants Were Likely On Fire

My mother, being the encouraging, supportive type, would, as I was growing up, constantly tell me I was super talented and capable of anything if I set my mind to it. She was very insistent about this. So insistent I naturally, as impressionable young children are wont to do and seeing no evidence to the contrary, began to believe it as a matter of inarguable fact and went about my life accordingly, being awesome at everything.

Mom also just as vehemently claimed I had flat feet. Which since she was spot on about the super-talented stuff, I had no reason to doubt, and again I went about my life accordingly, never participating in marathons or joining the Army.

So when, years later, one of those arch support insole recommendation machines measured my feet and informed me that I in fact I was not flat footed but have extremely high arches, that was quite the bombshell. Since everybody knows computers do not lie or make mistakes, I was left with the inescapable conclusion that my mother was a bald-face habitual liar.

In light of this startling epiphany, everything my mother ever told me is now open to debate, and I am now fairly certain that…

  • I do not have perfect pitch, nor, as I should have suspected since I have never been able to string more than four notes together on a keyboard, can I play piano by ear.
  • My cousins are not allergic to oxygen.
  • Her father was not Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard, and did not save him from a pair of lions that escaped from a Siegfried and Roy show in 1973.
  • I am not one-seventeenth Cherokee.
  • I was not three weeks late and did not weigh forty-seven pounds at birth.
  • Money does indeed grow on trees.
  • She did not walk eight miles one way to elementary school each day, carrying her brother on one shoulder, a Buick De Soto on the other, and a Shetland Pony in her teeth. (Frankly, I should have suspected this one was a lie earlier… I mean, why didn’t she and her brother just ride the pony?)
  • My Uncle Guido did not die five separate times, four of them at the hands of Al Capone.
  • I never had an Uncle Guido.
  • A Frankenstein’s Monster with a candle on his head is not going to abduct me from bed in the middle of the night and sell me to Belgians simply because I did not eat my vegetables. (This will be welcome news to the Wife — we no longer will need to surround the bed with torches. Just the one to keep the Wolfman at bay will suffice.)
  • Lend Mommy Twenty Bucks To Play Bingo Day is probably not a real holiday, and even if it is, it certainly doesn’t happen every other week.
  • And perhaps most unsettling of all, I’m about fifty percent sure my name’s not really Jim.