Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learning | "Goodnight Noises Everywhere"

What is it about children's stories, that resonates and captures our imagination so well?

Maria Tatar answers that question in her book, Enchanted Hunters: the Power of Stories in Childhood. The titles of the chapters alone are thought-provoking, from "Reading Them to Sleep: Storytelling and the Invention of Bedtime Reading," to "Theaters for the Imagination: What Words Can Do to You."

In Chapter Three, "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Brushes with Death," she discusses the appeal of Margaret Wise Brown's classic bedtime book, Goodnight Moon.  It is a kind of scary/safe depiction of going to sleep.  Even though the room is getting darker during the repetition of rhymes about its contents, the place stays the same, just as it will while a child shuts her eyes.  

"In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of ...
One of my nephews thought the line "Goodnight nobody," which appeared on a blank page, was the funniest line in the book.  He would squeal with delight, at the idea of saying goodnight to somebody who was not even there. 

"Goodnight Moon" is only one of many children's classics analyzed in Tatar's book; it's not light reading, but I promise it will help you to better understand why we all love a good story.

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