My six month old son received lots of great books for Christmas and Hannukah this year, but the one we reach for more than any other these days is definitely “Goodnight iPad“. For one, he really likes the rhyming and the pictures, and two, I am pretty sure he wonders if the book is specifically about his house!
Ok, maybe not. He is only six months old! But a book we bought him as a novelty has turned out to be quite entertaining and educational (and it helps that it’s approximately 10,000x less creepy than the original “Goodnight Moon“.) Just like the original, “Goodnight iPad” walks you through all the items in a room and then says goodnight to them as everyone gets ready for bed. However, unlike all the surreal and downright bizarre items in “Goodnight Moon”, like a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush (yum?), the items in “Goodnight iPad” are all everyday electronics. There are computers, televisions, phones, eBook readers, and yes, an iPad. But the book shows them all being turned off (or thrown out the window) and everyone slowly shutting off and going to sleep happily. The very last image is a cute one of two characters reading the original “Goodnight Moon” with flashlights, highlighting an homage to the source material as well as a subtle reminder that there’s something fun about curling up and reading a real book.
And that’s really the twist in “Goodnight iPad”, if a children’s picture book can really have a twist. It starts as an inventory of the fun electronics around the house, and then ends with a message about disconnecting and focusing on the analog world as well as the digital. Sarah and I have discussed many times how our son will probably do most of his schoolwork and reading electronically as he gets older. The days of packing six notebooks, a slew of pencils, and a couple of textbooks for school are fading in favor of Chromebooks and tablets and ebook readers…so a story that helps to gently remind him not to be plugged in 24/7 is a valuable lesson. It also serves as a reminder for us that there are times when it’s worthwhile to put down the iPads and smartphones and just focus on the world in front of us!
Have you read “Goodnight iPad” to your kids? Have you figured out why the family in the original “Goodnight Moon” felt the need to leave a bowl of mush out all night? How do you help your kids disconnect? Share your thoughts in the comments!