There’s few events in life that can’t be improved by gambling, and baby showers are not among them. I walk in to every shower I attend with the Goodnight Moon over/ under set at four and give myself twenty minutes to decide which way I’m going to swing. The most I’ve ever seen at one shower was seven copies. SEVEN. Guys, we are better than this. I’m not saying everyone should stop buying Goodnight Moon, I’m saying that everyone BUT ONE person for each baby should stop, and that person should consider it a position of honor, like Godparent or Cool Aunt Who Buys You Beer For Prom. At that baby’s high school graduation there should be one person introducing him/herself around as “I’m the one who bought him Goodnight Moon” and when they run into the “I’m the one who bought him Phantom Tollbooth” person, they can choose to either fight to the death or fall in love, nothing in between. There are ways we can do better than Seven Copies of Goodnight Moon. Here are five of them:
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball. My two Greatest Irrational Fears in life are being pushed in front of a subway train and Sterling deciding not to reprint this board book. The Aughts were a great decade for Wombats in Children’s Media (Diary of a Wombat– 2003, Wombat Walkabout– 2009), and this book is the greatest achievement in the genre to date. The text is rhyming without being cloying, and the wombat goes to sleep on the last page, making it a worthy bedtime book without the price of that creepy Goodnight Nobody page that still gives me nightmares.
Sheep in a Jeep. If you can hear those four words and still need a compelling argument in favor of this book, there is nothing I can do to help you now.
Old Bear. Usually when ALA committees hand awards to the same authors over and over it really frustrates me (AHEM Kate DiCamillo), but no amount of Caldecott awards is too many for Kevin Henkes. This is a great example of how much art and beauty you can get onto a cardboard page.
Find the Duck. Here is a title that delivers exactly: there is a duck on every page, and on every page you must find him. This would be hard if there were more than two additional objects on the page, but there are not; if you need more of a challenge in your hunt-and-finds, see Odd One Out, my favorite picture book of the year.