"Goodnight Moon," the children's classic by Margaret Wise Brown, has gone smoke-free. In a newly revised edition of the book, which has lulled children to sleep for nearly 60 years, the publisher, HarperCollins, has digitally altered the photograph of Clement Hurd, the illustrator, to remove a cigarette from his hand. . . .
"It is potentially a harmful message to very young kids," [Kate] Jackson [editor in chief of HarperCollins Children's Books] said, "and it doesn't need to be there."
-- News item,
the New York Times,
Nov. 17, 2005
In the great green room there was . . .
A cordless telephone
And a red balloon, non-helium and securely tethered out of toddler reach
And a picture of the cow jumping over the moon, with a warning label never to try this with cattle or indeed any animals without parental supervision
And there were three little bears, roaming freely in their native habitat, secure in their endangered-species status
And two little neutered kittens
And a pair of mittens, purchased from a Cambodian collective
And a little toyhouse with all potential choking hazards fastened in place by six-inch bolts
And a young and humanely captured mouse
Goodnight room, which is more than many Burkina Faso children have
Goodnight moon and all moon-related goddesses
A special shout-out to persons of color, the differently abled and victims of tobacco-company propaganda
Goodnight solar-powered clocks
And goodnight sustainably manufactured hemp socks
Goodnight synthetic tortoise shell comb and brush
Goodnight anybody who has ever been made to feel like a "nobody" by a rigidly patriarchal society
Goodnight organic whole-grain GMO-free oatmeal mush
And goodnight to the lady of mature years seeking an environment conducive to thought
Goodnight stars, which remind us that we are not alone in this cosmos and must henceforth redouble our stewardship efforts
Goodnight air, which we have done so much to pollute with our inhuman sport utility vehicles and our Weber grills
Goodnight all noises in the immediate vicinity . . .
. . . with the exception of the white-noise machine, the Haydn concerto loop, and the four-gallon cool-mist humidifier with the evaporative wick filter that was changed only last weekend
Goodnight to anybody whose feelings might have been injured by not being included above.
Author's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lou Bayard, a Washington writer, carefully disinfects every book he reads to his children.