Adorable Cannibalism in Goodnight Moon

(The title of this post has got me thinking about an old B-movie called Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. It starred Bill Maher as an adventurer in some remote jungle, and mainly I remember he ran into a tribe of submissive men who threw potholders at passers-by. They were called the Donahues. I’d like to rewatch that movie. I think.)

I just finished re-reading Empire Falls, which was even greater the second time around.  I meant to start re-reading Ann Patchett’s Run next, or maybe Bleak House, but I seem to have fallen into Jane Eyre again instead. (Insert contented sigh here.)

But I wanted to bring up a totally different kind of book. We’re very into the moon in my house right now because my son wants to go wave to it every night. I’ve never been so in tune with the phases of the moon. As you might suspect, this interest also involves (speaking of re-reading) constantly exploring and pointing at and babbling about Goodnight Moon. We are experts at finding that little mouse.

 It’s really a weird book, which is its saving grace by the eighty-eighth reading of it. I mean, “Goodnight nobody?” What’s that about?

Also, the little old lady is a rabbit. But does anyone call her a little old rabbit? No. Her rabbitness is never mentioned.

But this is my favorite discovery. On the lefthand page that says Goodnight Room, we get our only glimpse of a third painting in the bedroom. (The first two being the bears in chairs and the cow jumping over the moon…present or past parents of toddlers, you know what I’m talking about.) Here’s the painting:

Here we have the moral complexities of one bunny fishing for another bunny.

So you have a flyfishing bunny fishing with a carrot. And this bunny seems to be–as implied both the carrot and the picture itself–fishing for another bunny. And who’s going after the carrot? Not just a bunny, but a baby bunny. Or I suppose it might be a fish bunny. But, either way, this big bunny is about to scoop up a small adorable bunny in his net and, clearly, go home and eat it. Or maybe even fry it up in a pan on the spot.  Clearly bunny cannibalism. 

Goodnight Cannibals. You cute little things.


  1. Rachel on November 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    That picture looks really familiar. Isn’t it from some other children’s book about a little bunny who runs away? (perhaps even called Runaway Bunny?) And his mom is searching for him to bring him home? I don’t endorse the use of hook and line when searching for your children, but at least maybe cannibalism is not implied….

  2. Amanda Buck Varella on December 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve read this odd little book so many times that I will be able to recite it from memory on my deathbed. There is a great Halloween parody called Goodnight Goon, which the Varella children and I throughly enjoyed.

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