Thank You and Good Night

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Thank You and Good Night Book Poster Image
A perfect charmer of a bedtime book; the real deal.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lessons about gratitude. Introduction to literary references.

Positive Messages

Friendship makes life sweet and happy. It's fun to reimagine familiar book characters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The friends enjoy each other's company and have simple, uncomplicated fun. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Thank You and Good Night is by Caldecott Honoree and prolific author-illustrator Patrick McDonnell (The Monsters' Monster), whom parents might also know from his syndicated comic strip Mutts. This gem of a bedtime story about a bunny, a bear, an elephant, and a girl enjoying a sleepover is a lovely tale about friendship, with a dash of gratitude. The animals in the art look miniature, and the book itself is child-size and friendly. The gentle story is a perfect prelude to sleep.

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What's the story?

In THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT, a bunny, a bear, an elephant, and a girl enjoy a sleepover. They jump on the bed, play hide-and-seek, bounce a balloon, and listen to a bird sing a lullaby: "Sweet sleep, Sweet sleep, Sweet sleep." Before bed, the girl reads the animals stories and suggests they all make a list of what they were thankful for that day. In the last picture, they're cuddled asleep together in bed, with the animals now looking like they might be the girl's stuffed animals.

Is it any good?

If you're looking for a goodnight story to read and savor again and again -- sweetly perfect and as gently paced as childhood itself -- look no farther. A bunny, a bear, and an elephant walk into a sleepover, assisted by a little girl. They dance a chicken dance, have a funny face contest, and enjoy something good to eat ("Nom Nom Nom."). When it's time for bed, they sleepwalk down the hall ("Z Z Z"), and the girl reads them stories, then suggests that they all say what they're thankful for, which triggers a lovely rhyme that's simple and satisfying.

Loving references to familiar classic children's books abound. The bunny in the blue striped pajamas is lifted straight from Goodnight Moon, and his name, Clement, must refer to Clement Hurd, that book's illustrator. The bear's name, Alan Alexander, is taken from A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh, also evoked by a picture of a bear carried aloft by a balloon. And the elephant's name is Jean, à la Jean de Brunhoff, author of Babar. It's not at all necessary to catch these references to enjoy the book, but Thank You and Good Night is squarely and happily in their classic company.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about familiar book characters. Do you recognize any characters or details from other stories you've read? Does the bunny in the blue striped PJs look familiar? What about the starry window with the striped curtain? Or the bear carried off by the balloon?

  • In the last picture of everyone sleeping, do you think the animals in the bed or Maggie's stuffed animals are real?

  • Do these friends remind you of your friends and the things you like to do together? How?

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