Step into the pages of Goodnight Moon at this vibrant life-sized exhibition

"Goodnight House" is like living inside the book itself.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Editor, Time Out New York

Goodnight Moon, that dreamy book that's been lulling children to sleep since 1947, has come to life in a new Manhattan exhibition.

"Goodnight House" at Fort Makers, a design studio and artist collective on Orchard Street, contains reimaginings of the objects found in the book's bedroom setting. Standing in this exhibit is like stepping into the book itself.

The brightly colored, whimsical exhibit specifically includes an upholstered bed and handwoven textiles by Liz Collins; ceramic table lamps by Samuel Harvey; a rocking chair, stools, and a cloud-shaped bedside table and storage unit by CHIAOZZA (Adam Frezza & Terri Chiao); paintings by Marcel Alcalá; picture frames and hand-carved wooden spoons by Nick DeMarco; Goodnight Moon character-inspired candles by Janie Korn; candles in the Goodnight Moon colorway by Crying Clover (Sara Gernsbacher & JPW3); a ceramic mantlepiece clock by Keith Simpson; ceramic bowls by Lauren Elder; ceramic mugs and bowls by Shino Takeda; a bedside rug and ottoman by Tamika Rivera; painted silk curtains and pillows by Fort Makers Co-Founder Naomi S. Clark; and a dollhouse light, a black balloon sconce, and etched wooden cubes by Fort Makers Co-Founders Nana Spears & Noah Spencer, among other works.

Goodnight House
Photograph: Joe Kramm / Courtesy Fort Makers

The pieces have been created with a child's perspective in mind.

"We asked each artist to further rekindle their childlike understanding of the world around them, and create objects uninhibited by the horrors of adulthood. What better remedy than comfort and play?” said Fort Makers co-founder and creative director Nana Spears.

The story, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, is a short rhyming poem that follows a bunny's bedtime ritual, where he says goodnight wishes to everything in his room, including a red balloon, a pair of socks, a toy house, a bowl of mush, as well as to the air, the stars, the moon and a house.

Goodnight House
Photograph: Joe Kramm / Courtesy Fort Makers

Interesting enough, the book wasn't in the New York Public Library for two decades because the library’s then-chief children’s librarian disliked the book so much. But now there's an exhibit dedicated to it, that explores how the book has been "woven into a collective, American cultural understanding of comfort, sleep, compassion, and imagination."

“Despite the librarian’s opposition to a progressive wave of children’s literature, and even though the book had poor sales in its first year, Goodnight Moon eventually gained universal affection and became one of the most famous childrens’ books of all time," Spears said. "While subtly subversive, Goodnight Moon allows us to see through the eyes of a child and instills in us essential tools for innovation. That’s something worth celebrating."

Today, you can borrow the book from the NYPL and even buy it and a baby onesie from its store.

"Goodnight House" will be at Fort Makers (38 Orchard St.) now through May 27, from noon to 6pm on Saturdays. Appointments to see it can be made for Thursday through Sundays.

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