Goodnight Moon, first published in 1947, is one of those beloved childhood books we'll always remember fondly. For our money, there was never a more soothing feeling than quietly saying "goodnight" to the world around us as we drifted off into innocent slumber.
Well, now there's a version of Goodnight Moon for those people whose children go to sleep too easily and sleep too soundly--a target demographic that doesn't exist, we assure you. Web designer and amateur doodler Julia Yu has taken the classic and altered it to reflect nighttime on Frank Herbert's planet Arrakis from his Dune novels and called the work Goodnight Dune.
Yu has lovingly incorporated elements from the original novel and David Lynch's film adaptation into Clement Hurd's famous original style. We see maker hooks for riding the sandworms, gom jabbars for testing human awareness with excruciating pain, and a Bene-Gesserit witch whispering, "they tried and died." You know, all those whimsical trinkets that helped pass the hours while Paul Atreides was waiting for the empire to murder his father. The result is a strangely lovely, but ultimately uncanny work that has very few blatant elements of horror. Nevertheless, it will surely sink just below the skin of the reader causing profound unease.
"The parody contains some adult concepts like death, drug use, and violence," says Yu, "concepts that appear in the book and movie for Dune. If you do not feel comfortable letting your children watch the movie or read the book, then this parody is probably not appropriate or relevant to your child."
Considering we used to let our daughter fall asleep in our lap while reading H.P. Lovecraft out loud, we don't think Goodnight Dune can do any more significant damage.
Yu's work isn't the first time Goodnight Moon has had some disturbing moments. In 1998, Ellen Burstyn read the work to her son, who was dying from AIDS, in the movie Playing By Heart. In the speculative story by Neil Gaiman Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, Batman recites a version of the book to Gotham City as he fades into the afterlife. Finally, who could possibly forget the unnecessary creepiness of Christopher Walken reading the book to children in the Simpsons episode "Insane Clown Poppy?"
That reminds us, we forgot to ask what soothing voice Yu would choose to have her work read. Maybe the dulcet tones of James Earl Jones or that guy who played Mohinder on Heroes could make the whole thing a little less unnerving.
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"Who would you get to do the audio book?" we fired off in an email.
"Christopher Walken, of course," she replied and laughed.