Consistency Errors in Goodnight Moon and Other Book Issues for an Obsessive One-Year-Old

My son (almost age 23 months) insists on reading the same books every night, usually three or four or five times. I’m very glad he loves to read, but I’m getting a bit weary of picture books. I do think we’ve had some winners in our Library Loot the past two weeks, though, so I thought it’s time to share what we are reading once again.

First, did you realize that there is a consistency error in Goodnight Moon? If this were a movie on IMDB, there’d be a special note of it. Consider this an official note; it was discovered by my one-year-old. How many other one-year-olds have been disturbed by this?

It would have been so easy for Clement Hurd to draw a balloon in the corner on every full-page spread. But no, on a few of them, there is no red balloon in the corner. My son, who loves balloons, kept getting very upset when we read the book, pointing to the corner of the page(s) and yelling “Balloon!” which sounds like “biyo!”

“Biyo! Biyo!” he’d yell, sometimes throwing the book across the room. (We’re working on the “no throwing” right now.) Ok, I thought, my favorite book is not his favorite.

Then I discovered something else: the mouse. Clement Hurd was smart enough to put the little mouse on every single page. No more yelling at the balloon now! It’s all “Mouse! Mouse!” every time we turn the page. He has to search for the mouse, because it’s different on every page.

Needless to say, we never actually read the words to Goodnight Moon anymore. We always look for the mouse.

All that mouse-hunting reminded me of Goldbug from my childhood, so we had to get the library’s copy of Cars and Truck and Things That Go by Richard Scarry, which has all sorts of wacky vehicles, animals, and situations. He’s in a cars and trains phase right now. Beyond that, there is a little Goldbug on every page, hidden somewhere. My son is delighted when he discovers Goldbug, but I admit it’s a little hard for his little head to sort out all the activity on the extra-large pages. I usually have to help him find Goldbug. Probably, he’ll be a pro in another week or two.

But never mind Goldbug: My son loves this book, and he looks at all the pictures and makes little non-English comments about them. I wish I knew what he was saying. Whenever we get the page where the cars are all turned over, he yells “UH OH!” very loudly.

He does get pretty excited about this book and I admit he’s ripped a few pages in his exuberance. (We’re working on “no ripping” right now.)

I’m going to have to get him his own copy of it. Except then it will be our copy that is taped together. Hmmmmm.

And then I was browsing the board book shelf and I found a book that sounds perfect: Hands are Not For Hitting by Martine Agassi. And it is perfect. Every few pages, it says “Hands are not for hitting. What are hands for?” and then it illustrates all the things that hands can do: draw, hug, play, eat, wave, brush teeth. My son loves this book. It is one we read at least three times if we choose to read it. And now when he hits me (we’re working on “no hitting” right now), I say “Hands are not for hitting. What are hands for?” and he usually gives me a hug. His favorite pages are the waving hello and waving good-bye pages.

“Bye-Bye!” he says, waving at the sea of hands.

While in the library one day, I found an entire collection of audiobooks picture books. I’m talking picture books with just a few words per page. I love this concept! I got the audio + book of First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. I really enjoyed the book: it has just a few words per page, and it is very simple, coming full circle and ending with “First the chicken. Then the egg.” The illustrations were gorgeous paintings (and well deserving of the Caldecott Honor. There were die cuts, which my son loved. He also recognized the things that were illustrated, so he would say the words. The audio was very well done as well; I liked the pause lengths. The only issue is that my son just didn’t have the patience to sit still to listen and/or to read the book. He just wanted to play with the die cuts and/or rip the book. (We’re working on “no ripping” as I mentioned above). I didn’t push him, and as it was a library book, we’ve since returned it. I look forward to finding more age appropriate audiobooks in the future.

That said, I should add that we own a copy of the audio + book of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, and my son loves it. The audiobook has a little rhythm going on in the background, and my son likes to dance to it. Since we’ve had this audiobook a long time (since last Christmas), he’s familiar with it. Now he’ll sit still and “read along,” but usually going forward to the Dog and saying “DOG DOG!” until the narrator gets there.

And then, since I finished reading A.A. Milne, I needed a longish book to read while he played so I picked up the Velveteen Rabbit by Margaret William Biano, illustrated by Monique Felix. I love this story, probably because I relate to toys becoming “real.” I had a doll when I was young that was very real to me.

I thought Velveteen Rabbit would be similar enough to Winnie-the-Pooh (thoughts yesterday), with the toy theme and the bunny illustrations, to catch his attention. I thought that he’d enjoy it and recognize it and want to hear me read it. But he did not care in the slightest about the book. It was also much shorter than Milne, so we were only reading it for three days. While my copy did have illustrations on every other page, he just wasn’t in to it as he had been with Shepherd’s drawings. (With Winnie-the-Pooh, he’d run over and look at the pictures as I read, yelling “Pooh! Pooh!”). I suppose we’d need a Disney movie to get him interested in Velveteen Rabbit. (We also have a Winnie-the-Pooh chair and a Winnie-the-Pooh sweatshirt he’s just outgrown, so maybe the marketing helped make Pooh a favorite too.)

Can you tell I have an adorable almost two-year-old? I’m so excited to see him loving books and words!

What books have you read your kids to help them stop hitting, ripping, throwing, etc.?

What are you reading your children this week/month?

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. Jen, oh, yes. Keep reading. Goodnight moon was essentially the only book I had for my son until he was four months old. I held that little newborn and read it to him every single night. Then by eight months, he wouldn’t let me turn the pages: he had to do it. And now, he’s balloon obsessed about it! It just keeps getting more and more fun!

    Pam, My son didn’t get upset about the balloons until about a month ago. Thank goodness the mouse is there!

  2. One day he’s going to already know where that mouse is on each page and then you’ll have to find a new distraction! 😀 It’s cool that he’s observant enough to be upset by the missing balloon, though.

    I love Goodnight Moon. My kids were never really into it, but it was my favorite for years when I was a kid.

  3. Ah, I LOVED finding Goldbug when I was a kid, and making up stories as to why he was in a different car on every page. Goldbug, International Beetle of Mystery..

  4. My son loved books and never wanted to hit, rip, etc them. I did get tired of reading the same ones over and over and over, though and was known to hide some of them from time to time. It sounds mean now, but it saved my sanity then.

  5. Amanda, oh, I hope the mouse keeps him busy for a while yet. If not, I guess we really will have to get our own copy of Richard Scarry!

    Jason, yeah, there’s something so fun about looking for Goldbug. I’ve never been a huge fan, but my son certainly is!

    Kathy, oh, my son LOVES books. I think the ripping is more of an excitement at turning the pages himself. He just loves them too much I think. The throwing books is new. He’s just enjoying the power that he has over books and toys, etc…

    I hide certain books. It does help me keep my sanity!

  6. My boys love spotting the animals in books like those and would notice if a balloon went missing! I know what you mean about getting bored with the repitition – I don’t mind searching for the objects, but sometimes I just don’t want to read the same book again! I second the vote for hiding the book!

  7. Ha. My husband just sent me this link, because for the last three nights, our 17-month-old cannot get through Goodnight Moon without pointing out the balloon inconsistencies. He doesn’t have enough words to explain why, but it really, really bothers him. Glad he’s not the only one.

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