Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody
by Michael Rex


Michael Rex's Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody

Children's books review by P.J. Rooks

Ages 6+ would probably enjoy Goodnight Goon.
(Ages 15 to 102 will probably be the most entertained by it, though!)


Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd's Goodnight Moon has been a kids' classic for over 60 years now, easing our little ones off to sleep with a gentle, vacuous rhyme of socks, clocks, kittens, mittens, chairs, bears and, well, you've read the story. Don your best lullaby lilt now and recite with me (I know you have it memorized):

In the great green room,
there was a telephone
and a red balloon
and a picture of
the cow jumping over the moon…"

And what kid wouldn't want to sleep here? The room is perfect -- physically cool, emotionally warm. It's spacious and clean, with wide windows that gaze out over a starry sky. It's cozy and safe, with a fire in the fireplace and a soft, old bunny who sits in a rocking chair, knitting and whispering "hush."

Isn't it charming? Isn't it just the perfect bedtime story? Great -- let's do it again. (Oh please quit complaining -- there's no such thing as too many times!) Here we go now:

In the great green room,
there was a telephone
and a..."

What's that? Your throat hurts? Your sweet bedtime-story voice has turned into a monstrous croak? Your eyes are glazing over and little pajama-bunny kid, safe and sound in his bed, is kinda starting to look like a… a… What do you mean he looks like a werewolf? A werewolf?! Excuse me, but perhaps you should get a hold of yourself now. We're trying to have a serious bedtime story here.

NOT!

In Michael Rex's Goodnight Goon, the magical bedroom has been replaced by a cold, gray tomb. The stars still shine, through similar stripey-curtained windows, but wet, slithering, slimy things have made their nests here and the room doesn't seem quite as tranquil as before.

Green walls have been replaced by dungeon-like stones and a black lagoon oozes across the floor. The old bunny's knitting has turned into a voodoo doll, the three little bears sitting in chairs have become three little mummies, rubbing their tummies, and a creepy tombstone slouches carelessly against the wall.

Goon, who sleeps under the bed (probably with the help of a strong sedative), is just coming home for the evening and the raucous fun is about to begin. It will be up to Werewolf Jr. to put things back in order and get everyone settled down to sleep.

The off-the-wall fun of this story, even for adults, is in the many slapstick surprises from page to page. While really little kids aren't going to get the humor (and probably will be scandalized or even saddened to see their treasure so maligned), Michael Rex's hilarious Goodnight Goon is the perfect new-baby, one-two-punch combo gift -- Goodnight Moon for baby, Goodnight Goon for the new mom.

Fellow parents or favorite teen babysitters will enjoy it too, but it's definitely not for the little guys. When I held both books side by side and asked my three-year-old which one we should read again, it was Goodnight Moon, of course, so off we went again -- and oh, how embarrassing, I guess that was me with the croaking voice!

Read more of P.J.'s reviews.

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