Clement Hurd

Published July 3, 2009 by Molly


Of all the ways to become immortal (locating the philosopher’s stone, drinking the elixir of life, becoming a cyborg), the simplest by far is to illustrate a popular children’s book. Doing this guarantees a person permanent residence in the imaginations of children spanning far into the future–and what better way to keep the flame alive?

Clement Hurd is the gentle genius behind the bedtime classic Goodnight, Moon. Published in 1947, the book features a lulling text by Margaret Wise Brown and lush drawings of a cozy bunny rabbit sending himself to dreamland by saying goodnight to all the items in his nursery. Goodnight, Moon isn’t really a story, inasmuch as nothing happens over the course of the book, but it does contain the key ingredients of bedtime literature: repetition and rhyme.

Still, most kids don’t remember many of the words. After all, they were designed to put us to sleep. The illustrations, on the other hand, are imminently sticky. Remember the bunny’s slippers? His bowl of mush? The rug that looks suspiciously like a Siberian tiger? Of course you do. Hurd illustrated almost 100 other books, but it is Goodnight, Moon that will keep him alive in the thoughts of future bed-bound young’ns.

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3 comments so far

  1. Chris Coyle says:

    My 2 year old son loves this, as do I. I especially love the pages near the end where the room is in darkness, but the windows are dark blue…

  2. why hasn’t there been a blow up, fantastic, biopic for Margaret Wise Brown..?? Or Virginia Lee Burton for that matter (The Little House, Mike Mulligan etc) but at least MWB. Her bibliography is huge… no brainer.

  3. Corey says:

    My 2 year old son loves to ask for this to bed read to him at bedtime. Maybe I should change that to the fact that he demands it bed read first. He loves the book so much that I intend to one day have him a “Goodnight Moon slumber party” by decorating the living room to look just like the bedroom in the book and for me to dress as “the old lady whispering hush”.