Good Night, Noah
Good Night, Noah
Good night, doggy
Good Night, Noah is a bedtime board book that invites both immediate listener participation and perhaps later some personal imitation and extension of the text’s pattern. As Noah is about to go to bed, he engages in what could be seen as either a calming pre-bedtime family routine or just as a child’s stalling tactic to avoid the inevitable. The above excerpt, which is taken from the book’s opening spread, establishes the text’s simple structure – the sound made by an animal followed by Noah’s saying good night to the sound’s creator. After the dog, Noah says his nighty-nights to a cow, honey bee, lion, bird, pig, monkey, fish, kangaroo and owl. The closing spread changes the pattern while bringing closure to Noah’s temporary farewells.
Good night, Noah
Good night, Daddy
Eugenie Fernandes’ opening spread establishes Noah’s real-world setting, one that sees him sitting on his bed in his room, petting his dog. From that point on, until the final spread, Fernandes imaginatively locates Noah and his bed in the setting where the focal animal would ordinarily be found. And so, for example, Noah says good night to the lion in a sun-drenched grassland and to the kangaroo in a scene having Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, in the background. Noah’s bed becomes a surrogate boat as he addresses the duck and the fish, and, in both instances, Noah is appropriately wearing a life jacket. When Noah converses with the bee in the flower, Fernandes has placed a veiled bee keeper’s hat on his head. Noah’s quilt becomes a paraglider when he soars with a bird, and his bed transforms into a nest atop a tree as he speaks to the owl. Fernandes uses visual foreshadowing in each spread (but the last) by including among the pages’ details the animal that will be featured in the next spread. The closing spread returns to Noah’s bedroom and serves as a recap as all the animals to which Noah had previously wished good night reappear as drawings on his walls or as toys (though the dog is still a real dog).
Youngsters will likely quickly pick up the story’s pattern and join in making the animals’ sounds and echoing Noah’s response. They may even start looking around their own bedrooms to see who/what else could be added to the good nights. Fernandes’ artwork includes numerous details that can be explored during rereadings of Good Night, Noah.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dave notes that Eric Walters wrote Good Night, Noah for his grandson, and Dave looks forward to sharing the board book with his first great-grandchild, William, who was born on the very day this review was written.