Where real moms tell it like it is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Goodnight, Cigarette

The publishers of Goodnight Moon have digitally deleted the cigarette from between illustrator Clement Hurd's fingers.

The photograph of Mr. Hurd cheerily grasping a cigarette between the fingers of his right hand has been on the book for at least two decades. Kate Jackson, the editor in chief of HarperCollins Children's Books, said it only recently came to her attention, at a meeting to discuss how to publicize the book's 60th anniversary in 2007.

"We had a lot of copies out on a table, and all of a sudden we realized that in the photo on the back of the jacket he was holding a cigarette," Ms. Jackson said. The company was about to reprint the hardcover and paperback editions, so "as a quick fix, we adjusted the photograph" to eliminate it.

While Goodnight Moon was an icon of my childhood, I recall neither author nor illustrator pix on the cover. I was too enamored of the room itself. In fact, a couple years ago I had the realization that my living room bore a strong resemblance to the bunny's snug digs--round rug, color scheme, bowl of mush... Hurd's aesthetic weedled its way into my young, spongey brain, but not his smoking habit.

Where's the curmudgeonly smokers' rights advocates, crying out for justice? Enter bookseller Pete Cowdin, who calls the publishers "corporate Stalinists" and has created a Web site that features a cow, jumping over the moon with a cig dangling from his lip.

Hurd's son imagines that his dad would have been "thoroughly amused by this." Me too.


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