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Man in the Moon

February 11, 1988

For a generation, millions of American toddlers have been lulled asleep by the bedtime classic, "Goodnight Moon." In many households, reading its soothing prose and looking at the indelible pictures of that huge moon looming outside the bedroom window have become part of the bedtime ritual. How would we get the kids to bed without it?

So, like many others, we owe a debt to Clement Hurd, the illustrator of "Goodnight Moon," who died last week at the age of 80. In his long career he illustrated more than 100 books, including the only children's book written by Gertrude Stein, "The World Is Round," and many stories by his wife, author Edith Thacher. But it is Hurd's collaborations with the late Margaret Wise Brown, "Goodnight Moon" and "The Runaway Bunny," that adults remember most from childhood, read to their own children and give to new babies. Every young child ought to be put to bed sometime saying goodnight to that secure little universe that Hurd drew in "Goodnight Moon"--a universe of a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush and a quiet old lady whispering "hush."

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