Following on from New Blue Shoes, this month I’m looking at another of Eve Rice’s picture books: Goodnight, Goodnight, first published in 1980.
Unsurprisingly, the book is about everyone in a city saying goodnight and getting ready to go to bed. Men, women, babies, children, pets, shops, firemen and policemen are all pleasantly saying goodnight to each other and settling down for the night.
The text is very simple – there are under 10 words per page – so it’s a good one for littles. Much like New Blue Shoes, the book uses a very limited colour palette. All the drawings are done in black, white and grey, which might be a little dull for a picture book, but they are nicely lifted by splashes of yellow for the moon, lights in the windows and the TV screen. The colours give the book a real feeling of ‘night time’, and also really evokes a feeling of a busy evening in autumn/winter. This is probably quite exciting for young children who aren’t typically out or awake to experience this time of day.
One of the nice touches is the inclusion of a little cat on the rooftops who keeps asking for someone to play with. Eve Rice contrasts this well with everyone saying goodnight, the children getting into bed and the sleepy dog on the sofa. It’s a lovely gentle way of saying to children that they might feel like they want to carry on playing, but it is time to settle down and go to bed like everyone else.
Some of the drawings are slightly old fashioned – the old school TV for example. And there aren’t too many chestnut sellers around these days! But I always think it is nice for children to have books which show how things used to be as well as how they are now.
I didn’t have this book when I was a kid, so it doesn’t hold loads of nostalgia. Having said that though, it really reminds me of Pigeon Street. There’s something about the style of the drawings and the busy street scenes that bring back a lot of memories of the show. I’ll probably have the theme tune stuck in my head for the next three hours…
All in all, it is a nice quiet story that small children would enjoy, and a shame that Eve Rice’s work seems to have all fallen out of print.
Details and Availability
- Title: Goodnight Goodnight
- Author: Eve Rice
- Illustrator: Eve Rice
- Date: 1980
- Link to previous: Author
Like most of Eve Rice's works, Goodnight Goodnight is sadly out of print. You can find secondhand copies, but cheaper ones may be a little battered (like mine!)