Overlooked book: Good Night, Little ABC & a little about N. M. Bodecker


(This is the title page, by the way, since the cover of mine is too damaged to see.)

Get ready, folks, this is just about the sweetest little book you’ll ever see.

Animals for each letter of the alphabet are going to bed. And most of them have a little stuffed animal, too.

Here’s Norman Nicholas Natterjack! Isn’t he great?


And here’s Edward Elmer Elephant.


My tattered copy of this book flips over to reveal another book “Goodnight Richard Rabbit” by the same team.

We all know Robert Kraus*, of course, but N. M. Bodecker is less well known to me. (although Fuse #8 knows who he is. Apparently he’s the illustrator of the classic Half Magic cover!) (If I messed any of this up, please set me straight.)

He also did a lot of work for HArper’s including this cover (which the stingy Harpers site would only let me see in thumbnail size.)

 I found his 1988 obituary on the NYT site. He  was an immigrant from Copenhagen who could draw up a storm AND write some seriously absurd rhymes. I mean this one would make the Mrs. Bindergarten author raise an eyebrow:

 ”A Person From Britain Whose Head Was the Shape of a Mitten.”

(*What a tangle we have here. Kraus, a great illustrator himself, writes a book that Bodecker illustrators. Meanwhile Bodecker writes “Hurry Hurry Mary Dear” which is illustrated posthumously by Eric Blegvad who I wrote about recently because he illustrated a book by Nancy Watson who was married to illustrator Alden Watson whose daughters were…..)


3 Responses

  1. Actually, he did ALL the illustrations for ALL of Edward Eager’s books. I’m sad that more isn’t known about him. Thanks for highlighting one of his books.

  2. My brother and I grew up w/ this book in the 70s. I don’t know who, if anyone, had it before us. I have the original copy somewhere around the house, but I believe it’s just the cover. The pages are probably gone.

    When I was pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago, I searched high and low online for this book and found it for, I think, about $70. I also bought “Good Night Little One” though I didn’t grow up w/ that one. I think I got it for around $45.

    I can’t tell you how elated I am to have these books. Treasures, they are. And obviously very collectible! Sellers on Amazon are asking upward from $80 to $200+! I’ll never sell my daughter’s copy, though. (In fact, I don’t let her have access to either of them b/c I’d like them to stay in tact for years to come…. which begs the question: did I buy the books for her or for me?!)

    Goodnight, Little B. Bertram Bullfinch Basset Hound. Goodnight Little B. (was always my favorite because I grew up with bassets). I think my daughter’s favorite is Jasper Jabber Jay. I tell her that every night, he cries for his baby.

    Happy Holidays and thank you so much for posting this!!!!


    • I’m so glad you were able to find a copy! I had no idea they were so valuable. Mine is just a little paperback, so is presumably not a collector’s item. But it’s still beautiful.

      I’m glad you’re able to share this book with your daughter

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