Goodnight Opus

by Berkeley Breathed. Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades 2-4.
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cover art

Here you get the feeling that the author has said and read Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (HarperCollins, 1947 ISBN 0 06 020705 1) once too often. The title page quotes Malcolm Forbes: "People who never get carried away should be". The copyright page contains this warning: "This work of fine literature is not suggested for use by an adult unless accompanied by a kid or a kid guardian. If a suitable minor cannot be located, a proper set of bunny jammies should be worn during the reading. Please help us maintain these minimal standards."

That sets the tone for bedtime with Grandma who says "Hush", and starts reading Opus his favorite book which bears a strong resemblance to the classic with variations but Grandma drifts off to sleep and Opus departs from the text quite literally. Calling out an exuberant goodnight to the blue monster under his bed who elects to join him, Opus takes off for the Milky Way, sideswiping a kitty and shortening a steeple on the way. The tooth fairy gets a goodnight after trying to sell them an old Elvis molar, Abe Lincoln takes a giant leap into the reflecting pool before they arrive at the Milky Way.

There they are surrounded by cows and six billion udders (Take a look at the cow jumping over the moon in Goodnight Moon and notice what the censors then did to her udder). Don't be too sure that your kids won't get this tongue-in-cheek book. Even if they don't get all the allusions, I think they'll like it.


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