The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown
The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown

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Annotation: In forty-two inspired pages, this biography artfully plays with form and language to vivdly bring to life one of greatest children's book creators who ever lived: Margaret Wise Brown.
Catalog Number: #183908
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-239344-8 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-5038-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-239344-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-5038-7
Dewey: 921
Language: English
Reviews:
Publishers Weekly
Margaret Wise Brown lived a dashing, colorful life and wrote more than 100 children-s books before her untimely death at 42. In an era when fairy tales ruled, the here-and-now realism of titles such as Goodnight Moon was harshly judged. Barnett-s confiding tone draws readers in (-Have you read this book? Do you know what I mean?-), then makes the case for Brown-s work (-Every good book is at least a little bit strange-). Personifying the resistance to her books is powerful children-s librarian Anne Carroll Moore, who refuses to purchase many of them for the New York Public Library (-truck,- she calls them) and declines to invite her to a prestigious library bash-whereupon Brown, along with her editor Ursula Nordstrom, stages a whimsical rebellion on the institution-s steps. Jacoby-s richly colored illustrations shift between episodes from Brown-s life and scenes of a librarian rabbit reading Brown-s and Barnett-s books (and this one) to young bunnies. Barnett yokes his story to Brown-s work, playing with The Important Book-s form to consider what might be momentous about the life of this extravagant, much-loved creator. As with the original, reactions will vary, but most readers can agree that -the important thing about Margaret Wise Brown is that she wrote books.- Ages 4-8. (May)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 15 Legendary New York Public librarian Anne Carroll Moore would have probably called this provocative biography "truck"in other words, "the wrong kind of book." And while it is true that the book is unorthodox, one could argue that its subject is equally so. At the onset, readers learn that this picture book is longer than mosta deliberate 42 pages to document a life of 42 yearsand that Brown grew up in a house in the woods with many pets including a dog, two squirrels, and 36 rabbits. When one of these rabbits died, she skinned it and wore its pelt around her neck. But the important thing shared on the second page and repeated on the last is that "she wrote books"more than 100. Jacoby fancifully shows little bunnies reading and listening to some of Brown's most popular titles at the library, a few of which are summarized as well. An inordinate number of pages are devoted to Moore's disapproval and refusal to recognize Brown's groundbreaking contributions to the field of children's literature. The delightful, whimsical illustrations are rendered in watercolor, Nupastel, and Photoshop and portray a young, blond, energetic Brown chasing her dog, swimming naked, buying a cartload of fresh flowers, and admiring the sea from the bow of the ship meant to deliver her to a new, exciting life. Sadly, "Lives don't work the way most books do. They can end suddenly, as fast as you kick your leg in the air." VERDICT An important, groundbreaking biography inspired by Brown's legacy. Barbara Auerbach, Cairo Public Library, NY
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The important thing about this review is to say this picture book is great.Here and now, we say to Barnett and Jacoby: We SEE what you've done. You've paid tribute to a woman who changed picture books. Forever. You've acknowledged her queerness, telling readers she fell in love "with a woman called Michael / and a man called Pebble." You've honored her words with references to such titles as Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, The Little Fur Family, and more. You've sat with her respect for child readers as thinking, feeling, whole beings, and you've invited us, your readers, and hers, to do the same. You've framed her conflict with a stuffy librarian as an epic, funny battle. Just like Brown's texts, yours is quirky, and sweet, experimental, funny, and at times heartbreakingly gorgeous. And Jacoby channels Clement Hurd, and Leonard Weisgard, and Garth Williams, and so many other Brown collaborators—and yet? Jacoby remains herself. Just like Margaret Wise Brown was herself, her whole life long. Or her whole life short, really, right? Isn't it a shame she died so young? At 42—as you document in this picture-book biography, this love letter to her life, and to her astonishing legacy to children's literature. Honestly? We don't know what more to say. But we guess we will say this: have a carrot. You've earned it. And so much more. The important thing is that you wrote this picture book—this picture book about Margaret Wise Brown.A runaway success. (Picture book/biography. 5-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* A paean to iconoclastic imagination, Barnett and Jacoby's tribute to the prolific children's author repeatedly asks and tries to answer, "What is important about Margaret Wise Brown?" Using his narrative to inject whimsical facts about Brown and her picture books d even her nemesis, the powerful children's librarian Anne Carroll Moore rnett glories in idiosyncrasy. The story moves between a group of rabbits at storytime (illustrated à la Clement Hurd) to flashes of Brown's life itself (done by Jacoby in light, flowery, and even moody watercolors), as if being told to the bunnies pictured with her books (Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, among others). Adding to the strange juxtapositions, which mirror the odd, unexplained segues Brown was known for, are descriptions of things Brown did ch as raising rabbits as a child, and, when one died, skinning it and making a scarf of its pelt. "There are people who will say a story like this doesn't belong in a children's book," Barnett posits, before later going on to say, in regards to Moore's dislike of Brown's oeuvre, "No good book is loved by everyone." Yet he believes, like Brown, that children are capable of contemplating the strange. It's a book with a brave appeal, and its admiration of Brown and respect for children makes it a standout picture-book biography en if its whimsy won't appeal to every taste.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

What is important about Margaret Wise Brown?

In 42 inspired pages, this biography by award-winning writer Mac Barnett vividly depicts one of the greatest children’s book creators who ever lived: Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and The Little Fur Family. Illustrated with sumptuous art by rising star Sarah Jacoby, this is essential reading for children’s book lovers of every age.


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