A parody of the classic children’s bedtime story Goodnight Moon, dragging the simple tale into the modern age by replacing moons, kittens, mittens and bears with iPads, e-readers and a “huge LCD Wifi HDTV”, is taking off in America this Christmas.
Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd, a pseudonym for children’s author David Milgrim, travels through a home packed with modern technology, bursting with screens, beeps and flashes. “In the bright buzzing room there was an iPad and a kid playing Doom / And a screensaver of a bird launching over the moon, / And there were three little Nooks with ten thousand books,” writes Milgrim.
Where Margaret Wise Brown’s 1947 story ends with the peaceful wish, “Goodnight stars, Goodnight air, Goodnight noises everywhere”, Milgrim’s, published in the US by Penguin, instead bids goodnight to a host of modern technological appliances. “Goodnight remotes and Netflix streams, Androids, apps and glowing screens,” he writes, ending, “Goodnight MacBook Air, goodnight gadgets everywhere.”
Penguin USA called it “a reminder for the child in all of us to power down at the end of the day”, which “not only pokes loving fun at the bygone quiet of the original classic, but also at our modern plugged-in lives”.
Milgrim told the New York Times that he was inspired by “how much things have changed since the world depicted” in Goodnight Moon. “Our homes are really nothing like that anymore. The contrast between that quiet book and our noisy, buzzing lives seemed ripe for exploration and humour,” he said.
With 120,000 copies of the picture book now in print in the US, Goodnight iPad is the second tongue-in-cheek children’s hit of the year in America, following this summer’s surprise hit, the “bedtime” book Go the Fuck to Sleep.
A child-friendly version of that title, Seriously, Just Go To Sleep, is now being planned for next April, “inviting the children themselves in on the joke”, said US publisher Akashic Books, with “new child-appropriate narrative”.
“We were getting a lot of feedback from parents, saying that their kids loved the book – read in an altered form – because they recognised themselves in the character of the mischievous kid who’s winning the bedtime battle, and thought it was hilarious,” said the author of both books, Adam Mansbach. “So we figured we’d do a companion volume that lets kids in on the fun.”
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