NEW YORK — The cow art is gone, as is the red balloon, but the calming style of the children’s classic “Goodnight Moon” shines through in the whimsical parody poking fun at lockdown life “Good Morning Zoom.”
“Good morning light, and a world not quite right,” the 2020 version offers, gradually showing one family's pandemic life as it adapts to a do-everything-from home lifestyle.
Working mom-turned-author Lindsay Rechler penned the parody as a response to a challenge she and many parents faced: how to explain the coronavirus pandemic to small children as the world shut down in the spring.
“This concept of us staying in our own living room really spurred the idea to write a story that they would understand,” Rechler told The Associated Press in a recent interview — on Zoom, of course. “So I put some words together on paper one sleepless night. I was working extremely late hours at my banking job, and figured that would be something I would share with my kids and hopefully capture this moment in time in their lives.”
“Good Morning Zoom” replaces some of the hallmarks of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic — the cow art is now an iPad and the little toyhouse has been replaced by pillow forts by the door.
Rechler, the managing director of an investment bank, drew inspiration from her own New York City living room.
She was working long hours from home while playing teacher, cook and activities director for her 3-year-old daughter and 4 -year-old son during quarantine. She and her husband were shielding the kids from the realities of the pandemic but knew they would eventually have to reveal why they were not leaving the house or seeing any friends or relatives.
The story depicts a family of three spending all their time in one room and using Zoom to communicate. It’s told with basic phrasing to help kids deal with isolation and uncertainty, and humour for adults. One of the funniest lines came from Rechler’s daughter asking her if she was going to get dressed each morning: “And mom in her top, she’s been wearing nonstop.”
The book shares the simple language and lyrical cadence of “Goodnight Moon,” by Margaret Wise Brown. Published in 1947, the children’s classic has sold millions of copies and remains a bedtime favourite for both parents and kids.
Rechler self-published the first version of “Good Morning Zoom” on Amazon in the spring. Word of the story quickly spread among her neighbourhood mom groups and got shared on lists at local schools and synagogues until a few media outlets wrote about it. When Eileen Kreit, a vice-president at Penguin Young Readers heard about the book and Rechler’s commitment to donate proceeds to charity, Penguin offered to help publish a revised edition.
“Good Morning Zoom” is now available nationwide and all of the author’s net proceeds from the first printing of 100,000 copies will be donated to COVID-19 relief charities.
Rechler says it was important to her to include first responders and essential workers in the story, who are doing difficult work to make sure others can stay safe at home.
“I really wanted to create some sort of vision of hope in the outside world. So the window and the reason I really went with ‘Good Morning Zoom’ and ... the light shining in, was… in the end, I want children and families to feel hopeful that this is temporary and there is a future for all of us," she said. "And we have to live in this moment and get through it safely together. But there is a world outside waiting for us that hopefully we’ll emerge in and be stronger.”
Brooke Lefferts, The Associated Press