Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton
The first time I encountered Chris Haughton’s delightful toddler books and brilliant artwork was his award-winning board book, Shh! We Have a Plan. This became a book beloved by my little nephews and a big hit with other family and friends who visit. I discovered the text and artwork were not only captivating for the toddler and nursery school set, but also fun for early readers. The sly wit, simple text, and intriguing illustrations made even grownups chuckle with delight as they turned the pages. My admiration has only grown as I’ve come to know Chris Haughton’s other books.
This week, I was choosing a book to send to my youngest great-nephew Elias. At two years old, he is a charming loving little boy who also adores books. (He also loves his Great-Uncle Jim, and has named numerous toys and stuffed animals “Jim.” ) So I definitely wanted to choose a winning book for the little guy. I knew I had found the right book when I reread Goodnight Everyone. I imagine it as the perfect bedtime read for Elias–and other two -year-old children who just want to stay a wake a little bit longer. Even though everyone in the forest is getting sleepy, Little Bear isn’t quite ready. The images of the different forest animals snuggling up with their families and getting cozy in their beds for the night are sweet and comforting. In a simple pattern, ideal for storytelling, Haughton sets the tone for how each animal gets ready for bed. Readers then say good night to each animal family in its home, starting with the mice. A dandelion appears, and a mouse’s gentle snores blow seeds into the air. Dandelion seeds rise slowly into the sky on each subsequent page until the final page, where the moon is high and all are asleep. Small dots trail across the endpapers, too, like a continuation of the seeds and the animals’ dreams. Magical!
Really, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.