You will be unsurprised to discover that Goodnight Everyone is a book that is intended to make your little one sleepy. It has almost as much somnolent language as The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, and it’s nowhere near as boring (though I guess that’s the point of that particular book…). Seriously, why would you want to bore your children to sleep?*
The first thing you notice when you open any hard-covered picture book is the end pages. If you are lucky, it has something clever, related to the book. In this case, the front end-paper contains a globe map of the stars in the southern night sky, along with the planets in order. As the book begins, you step into the world of the forest, painted in sunset. You can see most of the characters in the book, and all have narrowed eyes…except for little bear, who is wide awake.
We yawn through the forest with the smaller characters, with cut-outs leading us from light to dark, as each of the animals gets ready to sleep. Only little bear is off to look for adventure. The format then moves into cartoon strips as little bear tries to find somebody to play with…and after a while he feels a little sleepier.
The innovative use of graphic design in this book made me look further at Chris Haughton’s work, and fall a little in love with it. His colouring technique is bold and blocky, in lurid, sometimes unexpected colours. His art has a sense of humour that works on two levels. And the end papers are superb – at the end, we see the northern sky, which has Ursa Major and Ursa Minor in it, giving our bears names.
I had rather hoped to lure my 3-year-old into sleep with this, but he wasn’t having a bar of it – his taste in picture books is rather particular; but my 5-year-old enjoyed it once I explained the night sky illustrations. This would make a lovely book for new babies to listen to as they drift off to sleep.
Reviewed by Sarah Forster
Good Night, Everyone
by Chris Haughton
Published by Walker Books
*OK, I have definitely had stages in sleep-training that I would do ANYTHING, probably including reading that book over and over again to get my kids to sleep…