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The Horn Book is a bunch of liars; or: YOU go the eff to sleep

Look, I love Goodnight Moon just as much as the next parent. The text’s gentle cadence and reassuring repetition. The play of light and shadow across the great green room. And that achingly beautiful and mysterious ending: “Goodnight stars / Goodnight air / Goodnight noises / Everywhere.” My children love it, too. They love filling […]

On Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s “The Adventures of Mommy Buzzkill” (from 2009)

In her 2009 Horn Book Magazine article “The Adventures of Mommy Buzzkill,” Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen, Princess Ben, Heaven Is Paved with Oreos, and other YA books featuring complex and feisty teen girls who frequently subvert gender assumptions, wrote tongue-in-cheekily about the prevalence of dead, missing, or otherwise absentee mothers in children’s […]

The Adventures of Mommy Buzzkill

Here’s an interesting game: name one children’s adventure story — just one — in which the mother is present. A short list of things that wouldn’t make the cut includes The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Madeline, The Secret Garden, “Cinderella,” Eragon, the Bartimaeus trilogy, My Father’s Dragon, James and the […]