Written by Andrew Daddo, Illustrated by Emma Quay
Bloomsbury Childrens Books, 2005
Goodnight, feet. Thanks for running me around today.
The plot in a nutshell: A baby orangutan says goodnight to himself
After the baby orangutan thanks his feet, he thanks his knees and then tells his legs they better rest to prepare for tomorrow’s jumping. He asks his tummy not to rumble and tells his bottom to be still. Then he encourages his chest to keep breathing and tells his hands and arms to let go. He asks his neck to lay his head down on the pillow and starts putting his ears and nose to bed. He quiets his mouth and closes his eyes. When his mother comes in to kiss him, he thinks a sleepy goodnight to her and then falls fully asleep after one last goodnight to himself.
Author Andrew Daddo, who may be best known from his time as a VJ on MTV, came up for the idea for this story while tucking his son into bed. His son asked for him to make up a story on the fly and he started by having his son say goodnight to his feet. Together, they bid all the rest of his son goodnight and right afterwards, he wrote it all down as this story. When I was little and struggled to get to sleep, my mother used to advise me to do the same thing and put myself to sleep bit by bit, starting with my feet and ending with my eyes. I really like the way it’s spelled out here, as it has a relaxing rhythm and comforting ritual feel to it.
The illustrations, from Emma Quay, were done with pencil, acrylics and watercolor, against a soft and comforting lavender background. The main character is drawn so charmingly, with expressions and actions that are very human and recognizable. I love that you can actually see him get more and more sleepy as the book progresses and I imagine it may be hard for little ones (and maybe even adults) to read through this whole book without yawning at least once. When the orangutan’s mother comes in at the end to kiss him goodnight, it’s a very warm and wonderful ending to the book.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that a busy little one takes a while to shut down at the end of the day.