22. Goodnight nobody (Page 19)
A clear indication that the well was running dry, this page was for nobody. Simply featuring the words “Goodnight nobody” and accompanied by no illustration, I’d be astonished if there were any Moonheads among us who defend it. There is no place else on the list for filler such as this than dead last.
21. And goodnight mouse (Page 16)
Separated from the toy house on page 3, we see this mouse for what it really is: a thinly constructed, two-dimensional character. What had once seemed whimsical now appears in stark reality: a mouse running around a child’s bedroom, the treatment of which should neither be celebrated nor encouraged.
20. Illustrations (Pages 10, 13, 18, 22, and 25)
While the illustrations of Clement Hurd are tasteful and elegant, their inclusion as stand-alone pages (taking up a good 20 percent of the book’s real estate) is beyond redemption. Many Moonheads have plummed their depths for hidden meaning, but have always come up short.
19. Goodnight moon (Page 7)
Appearing a mere seven pages into the story, here is just a lazy reprint of the book’s title. Goodnight inspiration.
18. Goodnight air (Page 24)
For reasons best known to the author, goodnight is now being wished to air itself. This was neither foreshadowed in the first act nor can it be considered a reasonable heightening of what we’ve seen before. It seems the author was grasping at thin air.
17. Goodnight light and the red balloon / Goodnight bears / Goodnight chairs (Page 9)
An awkward couplet, the sudden inclusion of and wishing of goodnight to the light and the red balloon is juxtaposed with the bears and the chairs (characters that merited much more consideration). To add insult to injury, the meter is clumsy and unsatisfactory, but in the end, the bears and the chairs at least make this page worthy of the middle of this list.
16. Goodnight clocks and goodnight socks (Page 14)
Here, astonishingly on page 14, we have the sudden introduction of new characters. I know there are many defenders of the clocks and the socks (due to context clues and easter eggs in the illustrations), but for this writer, they will always be non-canonical.
15. Goodnight mittens (Page 12)
From here on out, we move into territory where pages begin to vary from great to all-out classics. Starting with page 12, we have nothing but out-and-out bangers, beginning with the wishing of goodnight to the mittens—what a payoff from page 2!
14. Goodnight kittens (Page 11)
And here comes the one-two punch with goodnight kittens. This page still gives this humble critic goosebumps.
13. Goodnight little house (Page 15)
The hits keep on rolling. Remember that little toyhouse from page 3? (Admit it, the first time you read Goodnight Moon, you had completely forgotten about it), and then out of nowhere—BAM—it’s being wished goodnight. Classic.
12. Goodnight stars (Page 23)
I know I’ll be called a hypocrite for this, but the “Goodnight stars” page clearly deserves its spot in the top half of this list. What its detractors fail to recognize is that, although it might not make sense on a narrative level, on a thematic level, it shines (no pun intended).
11. Goodnight comb and goodnight brush (Page 17)
A comb and a brush may be redundant to some, but to those who know the difference, it means everything in the world. Wisely separated on page 17 from the mush, these two tragic figures make their graceful exit. God speed!
10. Goodnight mush (Page 20)
I know I’m going to get flak for putting this page so far down the list (a good number of you, I’m sure, put it in the top five), but the so-called “Mush” page (as it’s known) has never done much for me. I respect it on an intellectual level, but emotionally it’s always left me cold. Despite this, it still merits a top-ten spot.
9. And a quiet old lady whispering hush (Page 5)
In recent years, there has been much speculation on the internet about who this mysterious figure is exactly (Time? Death? The rabbit’s grandmother?). Still, from the moment she whispers “hush,” one thing is for certain: literature will never be the same again.
8. And a little toyhouse and a young mouse (Page 3)
We all knew the guy in college with this tattoo. Combined, the toy house and a young mouse just makes sense. The young mouse serves as a distraction from the toyhouse that leads to its eventual payoff. As for the tattoos… the less said, the better.
7. And two little kittens and a pair of mittens (Page 2)
I have known grown adults to break down and cry at the mention of this page. Stunning emotional depth with just a few words. No more needs to be said.
6. And Goodnight to the lady whispering hush (Page 21)
In a virtuosic display of dramatic irony, the mysterious lady whispering hush is now being wished goodnight. Think pieces and college papers will be written for years on this page alone.
5. Goodnight room (Page 6)
And thus, with a tour de force, the second act begins with the wishing of goodnights to the very room itself. Margaret Wise Brown was on top of her game with this one.
4. Goodnight noises everywhere (Page 26)
Despite a rocky third act with bungled opportunities for satisfying character arcs (I’m looking at you, bears and chairs), Brown sticks the landing with this moving final page.
3. And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush (Page 4)
The three bad boys of children’s literature: the comb, the brush, and that bowl full of mush, are here together in all their glory. What more could you ask for?
2. And there were three little bears sitting on chairs (Page 1)
One of the strongest entrances to any book in living memory, we start in medias res by introducing some of the most beloved characters in literary history. It’s a bit of an artsy choice, granted, but I stand behind this being the second-best page in the book.
1. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon (Page 8)
One word: ICONIC. This is the page we all think of when we think of Goodnight Moon. No matter what may be said—that it’s overrated or overexposed—it can’t be denied as the GOAT. Long live the cow jumping over the moon!