I thoroughly enjoyed trying to say ‘goodnight’ in Mandarin, Russian, Italian, Finnish, Swahili, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, German, French and Korean. Each ‘goodnight’ is shown in the native language and script, and we are helped with the pronunciation.
The gentle and lyrical rhyming text in this book is perfect for a bedtime readaloud. The illustrations are calming and restful. The front cover is particularly lovely and inviting, with a blend of shiny and matte elements, and a mixture of colours and fonts on an inky blue background. The interior images are all light and bright, while through windows we see that, outside, the night sky is darkening. The children depicted – boys and girls, and a mixture of ages and ethnicities, able-bodied and disabled – are unified in being gently encouraged to sleep by loving parents and caregivers. Whether at home, on a sleep-over, on holidays, in hospital, talking face to face, or on the phone, the emphasis throughout is on the importance of routines before going to sleep – particularly that of saying goodnight to loved ones.
This book could be a good way of promoting curiosity about languages. It could also, perhaps, encourage children to appreciate cultures besides their own, as they see that all over the world people can have similar bedtime customs of tidying up, bath-time, brushing teeth, story time, cuddling a toy, etc. In the current fractured political world, Goodnight World could be an inclusive and peace-making resource.