Books by Margaret Wise Brown

TWO LITTLE TRAINS by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 5, 2020

"Swoonworthy for train lovers and preschoolers alike. (Picture book. 3-7)"
First illustrated by Jean Charlot (1949) and then by Leo and Diane Dillon (2001) and now reimagined by Pizzoli, Brown's enduring classic follows two distinct trains on their journeys west. Read full book review >
A HOME IN THE BARN by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 4, 2018

"The gentle, descriptive text and appealing illustrations succeed in establishing an atmosphere of a warm, crowded, noisy barn where everyone is safe and sheltered. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Creatures large and small take shelter together in a warm barn in this evocative collaboration with text by Brown and illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Pinkney. Read full book review >
GOOD DAY, GOOD NIGHT by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 3, 2017

"With pleasing echoes of Brown's famous classic, including bookends of a cow jumping over a moon, this bedtime story will entice families back again and again. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A new potential classic just right for bedtime, on the 70th anniversary of Goodnight Moon. Read full book review >
MARGARET WISE BROWN'S MANNERS by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 9, 2017

"Enigmatic, if not outright disjointed, and not well-served by these visuals. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Previously unpublished reflections on behavior, amplified and exemplified in new illustrations featuring a cast of cute, small characters. Read full book review >
NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 24, 2017

"Equal parts wistful and uplifting—a small triumph. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A previously unpublished story from the author of Goodnight Moon takes flight in this poignant, charming picture book. Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS IN THE BARN by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"Despite these minor quibbles, a new edition of any of Brown's work is a gift worth celebrating. (Picture book/religion. 2-6)"
Brown's Nativity story, first published in 1952, is updated with new art from the illustrator of the popular Llama Llama series. Read full book review >
THE DEAD BIRD by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2016

"A story about the importance of ritual and the ability for renewal, itself magnificently renewed by Robinson. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Robinson reimagines the 1958 story originally illustrated by Remy Charlip, in which children find a dead bird and offer it a send-off through ritual and song. Read full book review >
GOODNIGHT SONGS by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A treat for the eye, ear, and heart. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)"
A multimedia tribute to the great picture-book writer in her own words. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 4, 2014

"Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children's literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)"
It's a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet. Read full book review >
DOCTOR SQUASH by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 12, 2010

A Little Golden Book first published in 1952 with illustrations by J.P. Miller sees new life with new art, proving yet again that Brown is synonymous with timelessness. When dolls are sick or in pain, there's really only one doctor to call: the good Doctor Squash, who attends to their every need. From broken legs and poison ivy to coughs and the mumps, the doctor always has the right cure on hand. And when the doc falls ill, the dolls take care of him in return. Some of the original text has been updated to suit the times (for example, the Wild Indian Doll becomes simply the Indian Doll). Gone too are such anachronistic images as the mammy doll. Appropriate though these changes may be, it is a pity that there is no mention of them in this new edition. Nevertheless, playing doctor with dolls never falls out of style, and Hitch's retro style and modern toy updates work overtime to ensure that this book becomes a classic all over again. Entertaining and charming. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
THE FATHERS ARE COMING HOME by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 27, 2010

The author of Goodnight Moon has, justifiably, been apotheosized into the pantheon of children's literature's greats. But the seemingly inexhaustible writer left behind a huge quantity of unpublished material—and the sad truth is that not everything she wrote meets her high standards, and this is one example. Spread by spread, animal fathers make their way home to their little ones, concluding with a sailor coming home to his little boy. With the exception of the lion father, "who lives alone, so he comes home to himself," there is little of Brown's signature understated wit or musicality. Savage's illustrations—glowing, blocky linocuts, which evoke in line, shape and color the classic work of Esphyr Slobodkina—do their best, but they cannot lift this barely middling text to greatness. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
SLEEPY ABC by Margaret Wise Brown
ABC BOOKS
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

Take an old story by a skilled wordsmith (the text dates from 1953 and was originally accompanied by Esphyr Slobodkina's illustrations), add cheerful, cuddly illustrations and a fresh new ABC book that's also a bedtime tale is born. From "A is for Aaaah / when a small / kitten sighs" to "Z is for Zipper. / Now zip into bed," the simple rhymes for each letter of the alphabet are illustrated with Katz's signature multicultural, round-headed, roly-poly kids. The choice of words is not typical or obvious; instead of B for blanket, "B is for Baaaaa / when the lambs / close their eyes," and C is for caw "when the last crow crows." L is for listening; D is for dreams; U is for nothing Under the bed; and "X is for all the things you can play." The book is a companion to Brown's A Child's Good Morning Book (2009), also illustrated by Katz. It's bound to find its way to many a bedside table, to be rightly enjoyed by a new generation. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
A CHILD’S GOOD MORNING BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

It's amazing how many reincarnations of Margaret Wise Brown's books maintain relevance to today's toddlers, proving just how much she was in touch with children's feelings. Originally published in 1952 and illustrated by Jean Charlot, this simple, lyrical text describes the dawning of a new day for four young children as they wake up to roosters crowing, rabbits nibbling, flowers opening, birds singing and bees buzzing. "A squirrel pops out of his hole in the tree. / Who woke me up? / The sun! / The sun is up! / Wake up squirrel. / Frisk away." Katz's colorful illustrations have a painted-appliqué look with her signature outlined shapes and fabric patterns. Each round-faced cutie is depicted as a different ethnicity, but they all respond to the world in similar ways. It's the morning after "goodnight moon"—time to wake up and welcome (back) a new day. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
NIBBLE NIBBLE by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

Five poems, originally published in 1959, are newly illustrated with lovely, detailed illustrations of bunnies, mice and other animals in natural surroundings. Reminiscent of Leonard Weisgard's classic illustrations for Brown's The Golden Egg Book, the large, engaging pictures are excellent for group sharing, and Brown's rhymes and rhythms will invite participation. The first three poems contain onomatopoeic sounds such as zoom, nibble, flippity and lippity and simple nursery-like rhymes that nevertheless hint at underlying emotions. The final poem, "Cadence," is almost Blakean in its simply worded expression of a complex, almost mystical idea: "This is the music I have heard / In the cadence of the word / Not spoken yet / And not yet heard." Minor's furry, natural-looking animals and flowery meadows have an almost tactile reality, and his illustrations add movement, drama and context to the poems, making this book a treasure for a new generation. (Picture book/poetry. 2-6)Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

Reissued with new illustrations by Hurd's son, Thacher, 68 years after its original appearance, this first collaboration between Brown and Hurd of Goodnight Moon fame pairs simple, cozy animal scenes done up in saturated colors with an open-ended series of Bigs and Littles: "There were two great big chickens / and some tiny little chickens [turn] There were some great big fish / and a lot of little fish." The original was a spiral-bound board book; this new version on paper makes a bright show, capped by a pair of blank spreads captioned with an invitation to continue the rhythmic comparisons. It's aged well, though the format will likely prove less durable. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
THE LITTLE FIR TREE by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

LaMarche updates this sentimental story, first published in 1954, with new illustrations showcased through an oversized format and many double-page spreads. The little fir tree of the title was chosen by a kindly father as the special Christmas tree for his disabled young son, a child of three or four with a "lame leg" who "had never left his bed." The tree is brought to the little boy for two Christmases and then returned to the forest to be replanted each spring. The third year, the tree waits to be part of the boy's Christmas again, but this time the boy and his family and friends come out to the forest to celebrate because the boy has learned to walk. The story is rather dated in both its anthropomorphized tree and in its treatment of someone with a disability, although it is made clear through the illustrations that the setting is long ago and far away in a remote mountain village. LaMarche's paintings capture the beauty of the forest and the warmth of friends and family in a cozy, old-fashioned home. Though the little boy is appealing in some illustrations, his age progression is inconsistent in the concluding spreads. Still, this is a lovely way to revisit an old favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS IN THE BARN by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

Brown's quietly understated text, first published in 1952 with different illustrations, provides the words for this simple, sweet, and satisfying introduction to the Nativity story. The rhyming narrative, with just a few phrases per page, includes poetic descriptions of the setting and evocative vocabulary describing the sounds of the animals and their behavior, complemented with a few cleverly interwoven phrases from Christmas carols that help describe the action. The unpretentious style of Goode's watercolor-and-ink illustrations is well matched to that of the text, with light-infused views capturing both the warmth of the manger scene and the mystery of the single bright star shining down on snowy hills. Though purists might object to a setting that seems more New England than Middle Eastern, Goode has chosen to illustrate the red barn as a two-story, more modern structure, nestled near a large house on a farm with rolling hills. She also included a rabbit family (mother, father, and baby) throughout many of her illustrations, in tribute to Brown's best-loved works. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2004

The Dillons create an eldritch world for this philosophical rhyme, which was first published 50 years ago with misguidedly twee art by Barbara Cooney. An owl interviews a succession of creatures: "Little Old Cat / Little Old Cat / Where have you been? / To see this and that / Said the Little Old Cat / That's where I've been." Squirrel, Fish, Bird, Horse, Toad, and others—each shown running or swimming, traveling by often unusual means, or posing at a destination, accompanied by small, winged, green- or purple-skinned human figures—reply to Owl's queries in a similarly oblique vein. More polished than some of the fragmentary texts recently mined from Brown's archives, this combines soothing verbal and visual rhythms with a sense of mystery that will leave young readers or listeners spellbound. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
THE FIERCE YELLOW PUMPKIN by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

In a previously unpublished tale from Brown (whose newly unearthed early work is filling the shelves lately), a "fat little, round little, yellow little pumpkin" enviously regards a one-eyed scarecrow while growing into a "fiery orange-yellow pumpkin. The color of the sun"—whereupon three children carry it off to make it into a jack-o-lantern. Along with a trio of field mice, children can follow the pumpkin's development as seasons change in Egielski's ground-level scenes, then jump in surprise at coming face-to-face, in a spread-filling close-up, with a "terrific, terrible pumpkin," bearing a new zigzag grin: "Ho, ho, ho! / He, he, he! / Mice will run / when they see me!" The mice do indeed scamper off, but young audiences are more likely to stay put, ready for a repeat encounter with this long-buried episode. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
SHEEP DON’T COUNT SHEEP by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2003

Puffy as clouds and looking distinctly like cuddly toys, the sheep in this effective snooze-inducer loll in a rolling meadow strewn with exotic flowers and fairylike insects, but with skies and backgrounds that change with every turn of the page. The tale, enjoying its first stand-alone publication, features a little sheep who can't get to sleep until its mother suggests counting butterflies. It's sandwiched between verses (newly set to music) in which sound supercedes sense: "Sleep little lamb, and dream your dream / of things that are as things would seem." The result? A sugary bedtime read that comes off as more of a patchy assemblage of parts than an integrated whole. No writer is superior to Margaret Wise Brown for putting children to sleep, but this uninspired outing won't win her—or Huang, illustrator of Teresa Bateman's Hunting the Daddyosaurus (2002) and dozens of other titles—any new fans. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
SAILOR BOY JIG by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2002

Any return of this beloved author is an event—and this is an especially exuberant one. Derived from her Bank Street lessons, this story explores sound, concept, and fun in equal measures, while providing opportunity for the liveliest of read-alouds. A rhythmic instruction of making and listening to simple words while making steps and jumps, it urges finishing with eruptions into a jig. Brown's technique is familiar, but just as much an event here is the inspired choice of re-design. Andreasen (The House in the Mail, p. 53, etc.) paints a squeezably happy puppy in a sailor suit, dancing his mariner's jig in an overflow of terpsichorean delight. Brown's language comparisons are echoed by the illustrator's use of bold, blue line drawings on the margins of some pages, lending palpability to the author's educational intent. The effect is a package that may turn out to be more satisfying than the original. One can already hear the stamp and thud of laughing kindergartners, and if you peek further in your mind you'll see them, one arm in front, one in back, hopping to their teacher's musical exhortation as she falls back on this tried and true but freshly new classic. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2002

The subtitle is unfairly limiting; among these 24 previously unpublished poems are deceptively simple lyrics that will engage readers of any age: "Brace nothing against it / Safe in your bed / Listen / And give yourself to the rain. . . ." Though Brown gazes into a jack-o'-lantern's eyes, and later the cozy confines of a sugar egg, for the most part she looks outward to the natural world, and so does Weidner (Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny, 2000, etc.) with outdoorsy scenes of children and familiar animals in grassy settings, depicted with subdued colors and soft, flowing lines. There are signs that some poems were still works in progress when the poet died in 1952; the title poem, for instance, ends with a weak line, and "Colors" starts out strongly—"Shout Red Sing Blue Laugh Green / Smile Yellow Whoa Black . . . "—then trails off. Still, her sharp powers of observation, her ability to evoke the intensity of childhood experience, her ear for rhythm and wordplay, come through full-strength. Renowned children's literature scholar Leonard S. Marcus adds a consciousness-raising introduction for parents/adults who haven't already cottoned to Brown's unique voice and talents. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)Read full book review >
MY WORLD by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 30, 2001

First published in 1949, this looks and reads just like its predecessor Goodnight, Moon, with a series of cozy domestic scenes featuring a bunny family matched to childlike rhymes, some of which—"My dog. / Daddy's dog. / Daddy's dog / Once caught a frog"—is engaging silly talk, more about sound than meaning. Here the young narrator articulates the concepts of "mine," "yours," and "ours," while cataloguing familiar sights and possessions, so this may help children (or adults, for that matter) who don't quite have those distinctions clear yet. One scene showing Father, Mother, and Child sharing the bathroom may explain why the original was allowed to pass out of print, but these days it shouldn't raise any eyebrows. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
TWO LITTLE TRAINS by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 31, 2001

Brown's adorable bouncing rhyme about trains has been inventively re-imagined by two award-winning illustrators. A silver "streamlined train" puffs off to the West, while a tiny toy train is its echo and shadow in a comfortable, warmly kid-inhabited home. When the silver train goes through the hill, the toy train chugs through a tunnel made of a book called Hills; the toy train climbs the mountain of the stair banister as the silver train climbs the mountains "beyond the plain"; and the silver train's track is echoed in the fringe of a rug for the toy. The Dillons illustrate both the charming domestic interiors and the sweep of landscape with elegant geometric forms, colors of great depth and richness, and their magical touch: the man in the moon is the "black man singing in the West." The relationship between the two trains is also illuminated on the cover, where, next to the silver train sits a set of luggage with a beribboned gift whose box is stamped with the image of the toy train. That box is unwrapped on the title and half-title pages. Often tending toward the lush and extravagant, here the artists have chosen exactly the right expression of pure and simple art to accompany the equally uncomplicated rhyme. Sure to delight yet another generation of children. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
ROBIN’S ROOM by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2001

A timeless tale of creativity unfurled. While this posthumous publication was written decades ago, it is unerringly relevant to today's child. Robin's parents are aghast at his rampant mischief-making; he commandeers the cat's toys, turns the tub into a garden, and paints wherever he chooses. At wit's end, his exasperated parents decide to give him his own room, which he promptly redecorates. "A child's room made by a child," marvels his mother, awestruck. What Robin unveils is a child's delight, catering to every conceivable creative outlet. However, Robin's pièce de résistance is the massive clock on his wall, tracking his busy day with one key element missing. "From four o-clock to suppertime he painted a space. That was when he could do whatever he wanted to do all by himself alone in his room." Did this wise author foresee the modern-day dilemma of overscheduled children? Brown's offbeat tale of an eccentric, precocious child hones in on an essential issue: the need for some unstructured time, a time of freedom, to let imagination roam unfettered and to flourish. It is, however, the art that really makes this special. A perfect complement, the boldly colored illustrations, off-kiltered perspectives, and truly unique layout—which has readers turning the book upside-down to continue—are all a keen reflection of Robin's individuality and creativity. Filled with incredible options, this can't help but inspire young decorators who've outgrown the "great green room." (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
THE DIRTY LITTLE BOY  by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2001

Proclaiming "I am one dirty little boy," a lad asks his busy mother for a bath—but she instead sends him off to see how the animals clean themselves. The results may not be quite what Mama had in mind. The first picture-book version of an episode last seen in print over 40 years ago, this has been freshened up with a light editorial massage, and furnished with illustrations that, like Salerno's pictures for Bill Martin's Chicken Chuck (2000) are all exaggerated action and huge, bold, energetic brushstrokes. Getting no good results from splashing in a puddle like a bird, rolling in mud like a pig, trying out a wire brush (horse), or licking his hands to wipe his face (cat), the boy returns home for a sudsy bath, and is last seen bare, dripping, gleaming, and beaming to beat the band. The easy intimacy between tiny child and "big, round"—not to say enormous—mother comes through clearly, as does that distinctly childlike voice that generally marks Brown's prose. Not since Harry the Dirty Dog (1956) has the twin adventure of getting grimy, then scrubbing it all off, been better captured.(Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
MY WORLD OF COLOR by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2001

When painter mouse and his young apprentice leave their castle to explore, they touch, smell, and observe, immersing themselves in the experience, and then wield their paintbrushes to capture some of the colors they find. "Pink as pigs / Pink as toes / Pink as a rose / Or a rabbit's nose." They see orange trees and setting sun, or yellow daisies and cabbage butterflies in busily detailed paintings that luxuriantly cross two-page spreads. The mice look with wonder at the beauty around them, and finally, after traveling in a teacup, hiding in the greenest ferns, and sketching from a birdhouse, the apprentice mouse stands triumphant, grasping paint-soaked brushes: "Now I can color!" In a closing summary, a few of the paintings included were not involved in the mice's visual adventure, but were added to enable the rhyme. The mice are satisfied with their romp through colors; at last, back in their cozy castle, the two gaze up at their own artwork now framed and hung for their enjoyment. Not as satisfying are the illustrations themselves. Background colors—yellows, greens, and purples—don't work with the rest of the art. Crowded scenes and the overdressed animals' frills, buttons, and bows, though painted with a skilled hand, detract from Brown's simple rhythms, compelling onomatopoeia, and perfect rhymes. Stealing the spotlight in this way weakens rather than complements the text, resulting in an awkward mix of art and literature. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
LOVE SONGS OF THE LITTLE BEAR by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2001

Jeffers returns to illustrating Brown (Baby Animals, 1989) as she sets four previously unpublished poems to bright, crisply detailed outdoor scenes featuring an animated teddy bear investigating an idyllic natural world. In the first, a sort of companion piece to Runaway Bunny, Bear toddles off into a field of tall May flowers, but sings to a left-behind parent that though distances may separate them, "It's a long time that I'll love you, / Never, never go away." The bear/child then bends down to examine a world in which "little things creep / In their green grass forests deep . . . ." Next he experiences as much as hears "The Song of Wind and Rain," and finally finishes with an excursion along a river bank to watch little boats go "Slow slow / In the soft fall of the snow." Though Jeffers confesses that she isn't sure whether Brown considered these rough drafts or finished pieces, they read smoothly enough, and the lovely pictures make them into small stories that capture their sense as well as their depth of feeling perfectly.(Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
A CHILD IS BORN by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

Cooper, illustrator of several Coretta Scott King Award books, presents the Christmas story with an African-American cast. The most successful and appealing paintings feature baby Jesus: plump, sober, curly-haired, brown-eyed, and brown-skinned. Cooper's Jesus is a very human child. The dust-jacket illustration, which shows the baby Jesus against white swaddling clothes and framed in a glittering gold-leaf border, is particularly impressive. Other paintings show a dark-skinned Mary, Joseph, and a variety of angels of varying hue. Most scenes at the stable with shepherds, wise men, angels, and the Holy Family, are predictable. There is little attention to historical accuracy or detail. The paintings were created, according to the blurb, through a technique, involving "a number of oil washes that are then subtracted from the painting surface" to create the final pictures. Paintings are placed against a creamy parchment paper and bordered in gold. The text is a previously unpublished poem by author Brown, which reads in part: "O come, / country shepherds / O follow the light / And welcome the baby / This blessed night." The lettering in burnt sienna heightens the effect of a manuscript with a large initial letter. While the text and many of the illustrations are pedestrian, this will resonate with readers seeking a multi-ethnic version of the Christmas story. (Picture book/poetry. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 31, 1999

Raschka (Like Likes Like, p. 304, etc.) illustrates this previously unpublished companion to the recently reissued The Important Book (1999) with page after page of wriggly children rendered in looping, calligraphic black strokes and freely brushed color. Adopting an assured tone, Brown tracks the development of a child's capabilities and sense of self: "You can't quite talk./You can't quite walk./You've found your nose/and discovered your toes./You've seen the moon/and felt the sun./But the important thing about being One is that life has just begun." Her text takes children to age six; by alternating pictures of single children with group scenes, Raschka expands the author's focus on the individual to make growing up a social as well as personal experience. Think of this as a free-spirited alternative to Robert Kraus's Leo the Late Bloomer (1973) and its blatantly commercial reprise, Little Louie the Baby Bloomer (1998, not reviewed). (Picture book. 1-6) Read full book review >
THE LITTLE SCARECROW BOY by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 30, 1998

Diaz softens his palette and simplifies his lines for a story from Brown, about growing up and steadfast parental love. The little scarecrow boy practices the frightening faces the old man scarecrow makes daily to keep the crows away, but the child remains at home while the adult goes to work. The boy sneaks into the field and plies his trade, but one scary face after the other fails to keep the crows at bay. The sixth and final face does the trick—but was the old man scarecrow nearby, helping the neophyte? Children who don't mind the creepy contortions of the scarecrows' fiercest faces will love the repetitions of the text, while the happy oranges, reds, and yellows bring sunshine to every page. The deceptively simple story conveys a powerful and reassuring message. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
THE SLEEPY MEN by Margaret Wise Brown
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

Another from Brown's canon of bedtime books, full of lulling cadences and rhythms. A big sleepy man and a little sleepy man get ready to hit the hay—they yawn and stretch and crawl under their covers. After "the big sleepy man put his head on the pillow and the little sleepy man put his head on the pillow. And the big sleepy man sang a big sleepy song and the little sleepy man sang a little sleepy song," the big sleepy man tells his little cohort a story. It concerns the man on the moon—-once a little man who dashed about and dined and also went to bed—and the story sets the little sleepy man into a dreamy drift and so, to sleep. Well-paced repetitions are broken up by longer narrative sequences, lyrically served by Rayevsky's robust illustrations—acrylic paintings with the feel of colorful, detailed woodcuts. They make pleasing counterpoints to a classically framed lullaby. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
ANIMALS IN THE SNOW by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

Another never-published manuscript from Brown (The Diggers, p. 464), who seems to be experiencing a minor renaissance. The patterns often found in her work are here: simple story line, restrained text, pleasing repetition. Five animals—a squirrel, a bird, a bunny, a cat, and a dog—are joined by a boy and a girl as they welcome and revel in a late winter snowfall. When the sun melts the snow, they celebrate spring in the discovery of a single snowdrop in bloom. Schwartz's sweetly rendered gouache paintings add to the old-fashioned style of the piece. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >
THE DIGGERS by Margaret Wise Brown
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 10, 1995

For those unfamiliar with Brown's 1960 work, illustrated by Clement Hurd originally and welcomed in these pages, it is a book in verse—half of it rhymed, half not—about digging. The first pages, devoted to animal and human diggers, are written in a simple, repetitive style, like children's counting games. The text then shifts into a more elevated mode, as an unstoppable steam shovel moves from city to country and through a mountain, building a railroad. This steam shovel is the hero of the story, and the moral is: There's nothing it can't do. Both the industrial theme and its heroic overtones ("And then came the big digger made by a man...") are reminiscent of socialist realism. Kirk's oil illustrations, in perfect balance with the text, follow a parallel development, beginning with close-ups of toy-like animals, and moving to anonymous workers in sweeping landscapes. These landscapes—multi-colored and painstakingly detailed—take in an enormous amount of geography in the background, while the steam shovel or the train in the foreground reach gigantic proportions. However, their epic breadth—of man's building abilities and the unlimited possibilities of the future—has a distinctive softness, both in the shapes and colors used. It is technology with a human face in this utterly modern revisitation of a classic—even as it blithely bypasses ecological concerns. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
THE GOLDEN BIRTHDAY BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 1989

From a favorite author (Goodnight Moon), who died in 1957: a trite, previously unpublished story about little animals getting overappropriate presents; lushly illustrated in his own inimitable style by her longtime, Caldecott-winning collaborator. Read full book review >
LITTLE CHICKEN by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1982

A reprint of one of Margaret Wise Brown's lesser works—in itself, a loose amalgam of motifs and phrasings from some of the more auspicious. First we have the dependent/protective relationship between the little chicken and the Rabbit whom he "belongs to" ("The Rabbit found him one day just breaking out of an egg. . ."); in that sequence, the little chicken goes where the Rabbit goes and does almost what the Rabbit does. (Instead of cabbages to eat—"cabbages are too big"—the little chicken likes bugs and worms.) Then the Rabbit decides to go for a long, long run—leaving the shy little chicken to try to find someone to play with. "Would a lady bug want to play with a little chicken?" "Would a furry fat caterpillar. . . ?" Would a little beaver? A big pink butterfly? Not always rationally, some do and some don't. At sundown, the little chicken is reunited with the Rabbit, reports on his encounters, and curls up to dream "a little chicken dream." A wispy little conceit, wanly pictured too, and not really worth reviving. Read full book review >
FOX EYES by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: April 1, 1977

Fox eyes stare compellingly from the jacket; more eyes lurk in the dusky brush of the title page; and then—with "There was once a spy, a red fox who came to spy on the opossums"—just one eye, set in red fur, "gleams" at the sleeping animals through a hole. But the possums too, looking sly, have "one eye open"-and, throughout, your gaze will be caught not only by the fox eyes peeking and peering at—in turn—a rabbit, a squirrel, a bear, a dog, and a group of children, but also by the spooked, returning stares of the fuzzy animals he so disturbs. Each feels that the fox has somehow caught him out. . . and readers too get the eerie feeling that this all-knowing eye is ubiquitous. But it all comes to nothing when ". . . the fox just yawned. . . and went to sleep. . . . For, of course, the fox could never remember the next day what he had seen the day before." But the words and pictures have generated so much watchful apprehension that this news comes less as reassurance than as let-down. And to be further toyed with at the turn of the last page—"But no one knows that but the fox"—is merely disconcerting. A 1951 edition, with stylized illustrations by Jean Chariot, failed to take hold; Garth Williams' naturalistic, softer animals make the odd story all the more unsettling. Read full book review >
THE STEAMROLLER by Margaret Wise Brown
FANTASY
Released: Dec. 1, 1974

First published in a 1938 story collection, this fantasy about the steamroller Daisy gets for Christmas has obvious current appeal, but it couldn't be farther from a made-to-order liberation message. In fact The Steamroller barrels right through all gown-up notions of suitability to waken children's buried dreams. Daisy's glorious but uncontrollable steamroller rushes down the road squashing "flat as shadows. . .a pig and a chicken and my mean old aunt and three people I didn't know and two automobiles and a garbage truck and a trolley car and a policeman and my teacher." It's an exhilarating ride, and the uneasiness that must inevitably go along will be appeased when, after Daisy jumps out and sends the steamroller across the field in order to avoid squashing her friends, her parents give her a steam shovel with which to scoop all her victims up and back into shape. Evaline Ness' vervey Christmas colored block prints are inspired, and needless to say this leaves a vehicle like A Train for Jane (see Klein, below) coughing up dust — or more appropriately, flattened to a shadow. Read full book review >
THE DEAD BIRD by Remy Charlip
Released: June 15, 1958

The bird was dead when the children found it. It was still warm and its eyes were closed. They wrapped the bird in grapevine leaves, dug a little grave and buried the bird. On top of his grave they placed ferns and little white violets and yellow flowers. And every day, until they forgot, they went and sang there. Remy Charlip's illustrations in mossy green and cerulean blue convey the tenderness of the little forest funeral — gently presenting the idea of mortality. The tone is reverent and solemn rather than morbid. Read full book review >
THREE LITTLE ANIMALS by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Oct. 3, 1956

To each his own- so these three small bears discover in the story and pictures by Margaret Wise Brown and Garth Williams. Each at separate times, all dressed up so that they don't know each other- mother, father and child decide to go to the city and see what it's like. It is the young bear's costume- a flower pot hat, leaf coat and log shoes- that will remind you of the misfit who tries to do what he shouldn't and suffers for it. But in this case all three find each other and know they are happier at home. Very endearing for children and grown ups. Weak stitching. Read full book review >
BIG RED BARN by Felicia Bond
Released: June 15, 1956

From dawn to dusk this trip around the barn creates a farm yard warmth as it introduces the animals casually one by one. There is the pink pig, learning to squall, a mouse born in the corn, cat and kittens, donkey braying at the setting sun- and all the rest. Written in verse form and illustrated with pleasing orange and green pencil drawings by Rosella Hartman. A refreshingly informal animal roster. Durably side sewn. Read full book review >
DAVID'S LITTLE INDIAN by Remy Charlip
Released: June 15, 1956

The publishers note that this is the last of Margaret Wise Brown's scripts in their hands. Even if it were the only one she had ever done we would be the richer for having read it and studied the accompanying and sensitively attuned colored pictures by Remy Charlip. It is a successful expression of that elusive art of living each day and enjoying it to the utmost. To children it will be a story as warm as a hearthside and to adults, a measure of the success with which they have followed the principle of the little Indian, whose name was Carpe Diem. Firmly side sewn. Read full book review >
HOME FOR A BUNNY by Garth Williams
Released: June 15, 1956

None but the bunny's home is his own and he doesn't find it until he meets another bunny. The first bunny is brown, the second white and the springtime wanderings of the brown, as he asks frog, bird and groundhog for lodgings which only prove inadequate for him, have a charming logic. Garth Williams' colored spreads for the book have subtle, exact details which keep revealing themselves each time the pictures are looked at. Read full book review >
YOUNG KANGAROO by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1955

It is rather a relief to have a factual book about the growth and development of the always intriguing kangaroo. Here is a story from birth to being put on his own-and a quite different story it is from the quick growing up process of most small animals. The development of the senses, with smell the first, is another new angle of approach. Told directly, with a vocabulary of perhaps second or third grade level; its content is of interest for the Read Aloud age as well. The pictures by Symean Shimin have a lyric quality that captures the poetry of the text. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1955

In her characteristic way, Margaret Wise Brown has made Sneakers a very lovable little pussy. Born in the barn, he soon becomes the little boy's cat in the house and as his pet goes with him when he visits the city, the sea shore and has an Easter surprise. And the simple, lyric descriptions of Sneakers and the little boy's adventures emphasize the affection they have for each other. Jean Charlot's drawings of the boy and of the white pawed puss have a stripped simplicity. Read full book review >
WHEEL ON THE CHIMNEY by Tibor Gergely
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 22, 1954

A basic life cycle story- of migrating storks in Europe and Africa- has a simple charm in Margaret Wise Brown's telling and a charming brilliance in Tibor Gergely's panorama pictures. The story starts with spring atop a small Hungarian chimney. When the birds fly south in the fall, they live in deep Africa with the flamingos until spring comes and the Hungarian farmer again puts up his wheel for their nest. Read full book review >
LITTLE INDIAN by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1954

There's a humorous big-little identification as Little Indian goes off with his father on a day of adventures with their raccoons. Hunting and fishing are climaxed when they frighten two woodsmen away from the forest. Bow and arrow pictures by Richard Scarry make the Indians more friendly than fierce. Read full book review >
THE FRIENDLY BOOK by Garth Williams
Released: June 15, 1954

With Garth Williams' pictures, perfectly keyed to her verse, here are poems about the things Miss Brown liked:- cars, trains, fish, snow, people. The way she tells about them makes you love them too. Good reading aloud. Read full book review >
WILLIE'S ADVENTURES by Crockett Johnson
ADVENTURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1954

A tiny trilogy by a skillful hand has its own quiet quality and forms three imaginative openings into the world of small boy adventures. In the first, incredulous Willie (pertly drawn by Crockett Johnson) awaits a new pet cat, wondering the while about all the things it could have been. The second sees him finding things for his pockets and the third going on a walk to his grandmother's in the country. Miniscule meanderings, winsome and fetching in the right way. Read full book review >
THE SAILOR DOG by Garth Williams
Released: June 15, 1953

Funny, sagacious pictures by Garth Williams go with the one-dog, he-dog adventures of Scuppers. On the bounding main, Scuppers is wrecked - but he repairs his ship, hits an Arabian port (where the dogs are veiled), gets new gear and heads for the sea again - happily. Read full book review >
THE HIDDEN HOUSE by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: April 29, 1953

There's enchantment and fairy tale surprise to this description of a small house, complete with a garden right in the middle of a big city. A little boy and his dog go through the fence around the garden, open the door and walk in, smell sweet wild wood smoke, see a charming small living room, wonder who made the fire, and for whom are the potatoes baking in the kitchen. Then come the owners, two wild Indians who ask the boy to stay and have dinner with them. And the captivation of the old house is fulfilled by the cartoon effects in Aaron Fine's pictures. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE FIREMAN by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Sept. 8, 1952

A new edition with new pictures by Esphry Slobodkina in a green and red cutout and patch-work technique that turns this into a companion piece for The Little Farmer and The Little Cowboy Our opinion of Margaret Wise Brown's Big and Little series started on the downgrade with the cowboy book where a monotony of the big versus little themes and some rather stiff, faceless figures detracted from warmth and reality. Here there is a nice ending when the little fireman has a dream of putting out a big fire while the big fireman dreams the reverse, but the parallel road towards climax is contrived and illogical, so we still don't endorse whole-heartedly. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1952

A well-meant fantasy about a dog who owned himself. Too sophisticated in outlook to appeal to the picture story age group. Garth Williams' illustrations are not inspired but there's more fun in them than in the text. Read full book review >
PUSSY WILLOW by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1952

Enchanting Leonard Weisgard pictures splashed in rich full color all over the double spreads, and a story that reads quite delightfully as a round the season pattern of growing things —this should prove a special Easter item, and a good all year round gift item. The idea of the slender thread of story is an original one. A tiny kitten that doesn't grow any bigger and that doesn't seem to have any family is sure he's kin to the pussywillows. He was born into a Spring world — and then suddenly the pussywillows disappeared. And he looked until he found them again — a whole year later.... Purists (and this includes many small inquiring minds) will be bothered by the lonesomeness of the kitten and his not growing. Even his relief when he finds his pussywillows again-just where they'd been before- isn't enough quite to offset the sadness of disappointment in the months between. On an adult level the book has great appeal. Read full book review >
SEVEN LITTLE POSTMEN by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1952

A history in rhyme of a mail delivery and its workings from big city to R. F. D., and by way of a secret letter from a little boy to his grandmother about a visit to the country. Read full book review >
THE NOON BALLOON by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1952

Magic combination of names- with Leonard Weisgard as illustrator- but a story that seems to this reader rather pointless from two who know better. Absurdity plus- as a small cat takes refuge from the bothersome mice in a balloon and goes sailing across the world. What he sees and how he decides he has had enough doesn't make a sure story to hold the small fry. But the format is exquisite. Read full book review >
LITTLE FUR FAMILY by Garth Williams
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 5, 1951

The new edition of this gentle little story is, we think, much more successful in its present simple form than in the furry novelty format in which it first appeared in 1946. With the size expanded and the fur jacket removed this sleepy-time story, with its lovely, quiet text about a little fur child and his happy day, has the exquisitely colored and detailed pictures by Garth Williams — deep, green woods, sunny streams and house. A soft lulling repetitious style is a perfect bridge between waking and sleep. Read full book review >
A CHILD'S GOOD NIGHT BOOK by Jean Charlot
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Aug. 15, 1951

A gentle, rhythmic text, in the somnolent style for which this author is well-known, tells the sleepy-stories of friendly animals and machines in a lovely book designed to ease heavy-lidded toddlers to sleep. Flat-planed pastel full-page illustrations by Jean Charlot have the same serenity and restful warmth as the text. "Night is coming" and all the animals — little birds, fish, sheep, bunnies, bees, and machines like cars and trucks — to go sleep in their own quiet, sleepy ways. And the children stop thinking, whistling and talking, say their prayers and go to sleep too. A prayer — more for Mother than child — ends the book. An enlarged format distinguishes this from the 1943 edition. Board. Read full book review >
THE SUMMER NOISY BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1951

The joys of hearing familiar names and lovely satisfying sounds mark the constant appeal of the Noisy Books, and the richly colored, striking illustrations by Leonard Weisgard contribute to the buoyant confusion of clatters, rustles and booms. Little Muffin, the dog, was introduced to summer as he heard the birds, the clippety clop of the horse, the ding dong dingle of the cow bells, the jug a rum of the frogs and all the symphony of the countryside, ending with the giant rumble of a thunderstorm. Noises unexplained tease the young listener on to the next page, the colored text blends in shape and tint with the handsome design, and the whole production is an exhilarating sense experience. Read full book review >
TWO LITTLE GARDENERS by Thacher Hurd
Released: June 15, 1951

An effective looking book and one that has entertainment value. But if you are looking for a book that gardeners will recommend, this isn't it. Read full book review >
THE DREAM BOOK by Richard Floethe
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Sept. 8, 1950

Another experiment with the dream-theme, with a mood enchantment in illustrations and word-rhyme, but without the careful coordination and direct appeal to children of Who Dreams of Cheese? (see report P. 94). Animals and children dream their special dreams — imagined in the stunning moon-lit pinks and blues of Richard Floethe's fine illustrations. Again the author's rhyme is simple, unforced, artless. However, the theme here slides off the pleasant circular track at times with a sophisticated aside —"toward such a world comes first the dream". Comes at this point, we think, a yawn. Read full book review >
Released: June 21, 1950

When two artists like this artist with words and Leonard Weisgard join forces here should be occasion for exultation. But this time we feel that they have gone too far into a rarified atmosphere remote from child interest. There's even a subtle aura of fear engendered — and never clarified in the story of the forest from which comes the music of golden birds, into which people who venture never return or else return speaking an unknown language. An old man shelters two wayfaring children, and keeps for them the magic of the forest and the song. But when they want to enter the wood he breaks the charm by saying he cannot hear the song and the birds are unreal. He becomes ill; the boy goes into the forest; and when ultimately he returns, the magic is there again but the mystery remains illusive. Somehow it doesn't come off. Read full book review >
THE PEPPERMINT FAMILY by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1950

Much ado about peppermint in an amorphous picture book, possibly evolved in haste- a great disappointment from this author who has made so many fine contributions to children's literature. Mr. Peppermint goes to the North Pole (for no apparent reason) and the Peppermint baby is born. Mrs. Peppermint sends a letter to the North Pole for a name ("Chocolate Peppermint" is the choice), and Mr. P. returns home to see the baby. This is an unsuccessful joining of unmatched parts only superficially united in the peppermint device. The text and unfocussed pictures in red and white by Clement Hurd have an unpleasant quality. Read full book review >
THE QUIET NOISY BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 1950

Number six in the N Book series (now taken over by Harper) with luscious illustrations by Leonard Weisgard. Muffin, the little dog who heard everything, heard a very quiet noise. What could it be? An elephant tiptoeing downstairs? a mouse sighing? No, it was a very quiet noise — as quiet as quietness; as quiet as someone eating currant jelly, as snow falling — but it really was the sun coming up and the start of a new day. The bright dynamic planes of color explode on the page, enclosing text and easily identified animals and objects. Never underestimate the fascination of brilliant color — some adults do shy away from perspectives not in the traditional pattern, ignoring the interests of the child. Again the text evokes shades of mystery and the warmth of sight and sound sensation. Read full book review >
THE IMPORTANT BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
FICTION
Released: May 25, 1949

A perfect book for very small children, one that will go on long after the printed word has been absorbed, for the text establishes a word game which tiny children accept with glee. The text is a series of word songs, the child's first conception of poetry, dealing simply and repetitively with each object pictured, whether grass or sky, an apple, shoes, rain, or what have you. Children go on from there, picking out the important thing about other familiar objects around. The Weisgard pictures have that imaginative quality so characteristic of him. This is tops- with us. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE COWBOY by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: March 25, 1949

The opinion here is unanimous — we don't like this book! Any part of it, — text by the gifted and industrious Margaret Wise Brown, and pictures by Esphyr Slobodkina. Contrapuntal treatment of a routine big and little pattern — Big Cowboy and Little Cowboy, big boots, little boots, big hat, little hat, big pony, little pony, big cows, little cows and so on. Somehow this theme is wearing thin, and the handling in this book suggests a thoroughly adult concept in plays on words, and so on, with little to appeal to the picture story age the format suggests. The pictures, in solid block two color and coarse screen background, have a sophistication that will appeal to few children. And I still don't like faceless human figures. Read full book review >
WAIT TILL THE MOON IS FULL by Garth Williams
Released: June 15, 1948

It's a big Margaret Wise Brown this season, from Harpers — and there are lovely Garth Williams' pictures for a text unexceptional for this author. The story tells of a little raccoon who wanted to go out at night and "see the moon- and see the night- and know an owl- and how dark is dark?- and listen to the Whippoorwill — and stay up all night and sleep all day" etc. (A familiar sound, eh?). And he does it. Simple and nice. Read full book review >
MARGARET WISE BROWN'S WONDERFUL STORYBOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
FICTION
Released: April 15, 1948

A Big Golden Book collection of Margaret Wise Brown's poems and stories, forty two of them, and good stories they are, bearing rereading even if you've had them before. Animals, airplanes, trains, birds, fishes, imaginative stories, and fanciful ones balanced by down to earth might be true stories. Some have made place for themselves as junior classics already,-The Terrible Tigerrr, Fifteen Bathtubs, The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile. One could wish that the acknowledgments were more particular, but perhaps that is being captious with a book which will afford extensive pleasure, and is a good buy. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE FARMER by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: March 15, 1948

Margaret Wise Brown's BIG and Little Series needs no introduction. This is a day out of the life of the Big Farmer, who had a big farm, with everything big on it, and of the little farmer who had things in the scale a child would want. Here again comes the final dream where the big farmer dreams a little dream and the little farmer dreams a big dream. Hop-o-my-thumb psychology holds true consistently, and children are beguiled by the theme. Esphyr Slobodkina's striking illustrations in modulated greens, reds, blues, greys and white give a lively effect of gay posters. In order to help the small reader follow as the text is read, the type has been set in different sizes (and the voice should follow its lead). Read full book review >
THE FIRST STORY by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Sept. 17, 1947

In the tradition of the poetic, wondrous fantasies of Oscar Wilde fairy tales here is a dreamy, rather tiresome story of the "world before anyone knew anyone else". A little girl wanders about learning that she is not a squirrel, or a cat, or a fish, or a horse, but a little girl. And she meets a little boy who has had trouble coning the fox that he is not a fox, and the goat, and the wolf, and the hog, too, that he is a little boy. So they met, and grew up and "their children knew each other.... to this day". Miss Brown's lovely poetic prose is here and the pictures of Marc in blacks and a light mustard yellow capture the timeless quality (though perhaps the pale coloring may make this merchandise that will have to be pushed,- for any but the art conscious). The story may cause some confusion too in the small mind that has learned of the origin of the world through Bible stories. Read full book review >
THE WINTER NOISY BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
FICTION
Released: Sept. 15, 1947

Number Five in a popular series — as the sounds of winter come to Muffin who hasn't known before about ice and snow and woodfires and cracking nuts and popping corn. The same techniques of guessing game and sounds in words as in the other titles are employed in this one. Read full book review >
GOODNIGHT MOON by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 3, 1947

Little children will love this going to sleep book — a really fresh idea by a talented and prolific author, illustrated by Clement Hurd. In a soft sing-song, here is a bunny saying goodnight room, goodnight moon, goodnight to all the familiar objects in the softly lighted room. Then- as the room darkens, in successive pictures, the goodnight ceremony moves forward. The colors range from a bright, crisp red, green, yellow, to an almost black background. Despite the high price, which takes it out of the straight merchandise market, this is a good buy, from quality of text and pictures — and most of all, idea. Read full book review >
THE GOLDEN EGG BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1947

One of the best of the Big Golden Books — and tops in merchandise value, while at the same time the simple little story has very direct appeal, particularly for Easter seasonal sale, to any three-to-five year old. Stunning production with lavish color, and really beautiful illustrations — spot drawings with lots of white space to set them off — and elaborate decorative borders making the oval of an Easter egg. A very very simple little story of a bunny who wondered what was inside an egg and a duckling who wondered what the bunny was — and then of the bunny and the duck making friends. Hard surface glaze finish, for heavy board binding. Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 1947

Nature gangs up on the little duck hunter, and makes his day in the duck blind an utter failure. The mother duck nips him, the mosquitoes bite him, the wind blows his hat away, the clouds rain upon him and he ended the day with a conviction that there's no fun in going duck hunting. Nonsense tale with Clement Hurd pictures in two color- the background is a trifle off the line of child experience or interest but the development gives it some measure of general appeal. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE FISHERMAN by Dahlov Ipcar
FICTION
Released: Sept. 25, 1945

A very attractive book in four colors about a big fisherman and a little fisherman both of whom lled boats. Delightful text which tells what these fishermen do and how they do it. Little sailors with little ropes, little buckets and little hammocks will appeal to children from first picture book age on to six or seven. Playfully drawn details of the sea and the creatures that swim under the shadowy ledges and among the rocks are fascinating and carefully accurate, and will mean more to the upper level age group who will like the text read aloud. Pictures by Dhlov Ipcar, in four-color-unusual coloring-large clear type- paper over board binding. Read full book review >
Released: April 24, 1945

Orchids to Margaret Wise Brown for experimenting with an idea and to Harper for publishing it. Picture book age will pore over it; a bit older will want the text read to them; and even above nine will find it the ideal introduction to famous paintings, carefully chosen with appreciation of child interest...The little cat is quite content to stay inside his house and look out through its hundred windows, because from these windows he can see beauty, excitement, danger, humor and tranquility — captured for him by famous artists, — Rousseau, Ryder, Chirco, Audubon, Tanguy, etc. No hackneyed selections here, but a high level of quality, fifteen selections reproduced by photogravure in black and white with the house itself a painting of a castle by moonlight, by Henri Rousseau. A quaint little story, not too sugar-coated which does bring fine art to small persons. Read full book review >
THE BIG FUR SECRET by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Oct. 25, 1944

The text shows excellent understanding of the child mind — for I am convinced she is right in suggesting that children think adults are silly when they talk "pretend" of what animals are saying when they bark and roar and growl. This is a story of one small boy who listened in — and understood — as other children were taken from one part of the zoo to another, and alternately frightened and puzzled and entertained by the interpretation put on the animals behind cages by the grownups...The pictures, I feel, are keyed more to adult appreciation than child; they seem sophisticated and decorative, and rather confusing for the average youngster. Modern techniques — in color and line — by Robert Devreyac. Good looking book-cloth. Read full book review >
BLACK AND WHITE by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: May 24, 1944

I can't see this — it's a tour de force that doesn't come off. A trick book for which the lame reason would be no reason at all to small fry. In 27 pictures by Charles G. Show, and a far-fetched text, the story is told of the black man who spurned everything not wholly black, until a snow storm left a white snow lady in his house, and he fell in love with her and they were married and lived happily ever after. A meet little juvenile problem of miscegenation Humer far-fetched. And definitely not geared to picture book age sense of fun, as I know it. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1943

Not as successful as her Noisy Books, this whispering book will appeal nevertheless to children who like utter nonsense. The story concerns a very quiet town and a very noisy boy and what happens when they come together. To be effective at all it has to be dramatized as you read it aloud to the nursery age. The large shadowy pictures have a good deal of humor and action despite their sombre tone. Read full book review >
THE NOISY BIRD BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Feb. 15, 1943

With drawings after Audubon this new addition to the Noisy Book Group has greater importance than the others and will probably have as much appeal. It will provide an easy way to teach the youngest the looks and sounds of our better known birds. Read full book review >
DON'T FRIGHTEN THE LION! by H.A. Rey
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 16, 1942

Another book illustrated by the prolific Mr. Rey who has even added a paper-doll dog which can be detached from the back of the front cover. A peedle goes to visit the See with her master but there are signs "No dogs allowed". Refusing to be downed she is dressed up as a little girl and passes through to see the sights. Somehow neither author nor illustrator is up to their excellent best in this. Read full book review >
THE INDOOR NOISY BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
FICTION
Released: Sept. 14, 1942

With pictures by Leonard Weisgard this fourth noisy book will be most welcome. Again children can guess with Muffin, the little dog, trying to find out what the various noises may be. These books are so entertaining for the very young that many doctors have them in their reception rooms. Have you tried selling them to the medicos in your locality? Read full book review >
THE RUNAWAY BUNNY by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: March 5, 1942

This is one of the nicest things Margaret Wise Brown has done, and Clement Hurd has made enchanting pictures, with line drawings and eight double spreads in four colors, beautifully reproduced. The text pattern is a successful dialogue with almost nursery rhyme repetition and rhythm (those in prose). Read full book review >
BRER RABBIT by Joel Chandler Harris
Released: Oct. 28, 1941

I have oddly mixed feelings about this book. Something in me objects to any sort of revision of these classic tales. But my common sense tells me that many more children will enjoy them, with decreased use of difficult dialect, with omission of digressions and of adults on the side, and with selection of the best tales. The familiar A. B. Frost stories are redrawn for reproduction purposes by Victor Dowling. Here's a chance to try Brer Rabbit and his friends on Yanken youngsters. Read full book review >
THE SEASHORE NOISY BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
FICTION
Released: Sept. 15, 1941

Companion volume to the successful Noisy Book and Country Noisy Book. The child shares in the right and wrong answers to successive questions of sound, and in this particular instance the book would be limited to children familiar with the seashore. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1941

A new sort of manners book, through the story of the raccoon and the penguin who lived and travelled together, and of how the raccoon impressed various aspects of good manners on the little penguin. There is perhaps an element of confusion from the fact that the little penguin applies his instructions at the wrong times or with the wrong people, but it makes for an entertaining nonsense tale. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1941

The French poodle pup is a beguiling small bunch of fur and a convincing one in this otherwise somewhat adult picture story book. However, once the puppy goes to jail, his experiences in doing all the things he did not like to do will appeal to the small "reader". A lovely looking book, done in soft tones. Read full book review >
COUNTRY NOISY BOOK by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Sept. 15, 1940

I liked this better than its companion volume, the Noisy Book, for this is more positive in the approach, and the negatives are inserted only for contrast. The train sounds, as the child goes to the country, are very well done, and help link the city child with the unfamiliar sounds of the country which follow. The Leonard Weisgard illustrations are silhouetted in color, modern in feel. Read full book review >
PUNCH AND JUDY by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: June 15, 1940

This is straight slapstick comedy, which should be handled carefully in training children to take advantage of the ingenious — but not very simple — playbook set up of the cover and character sheets. Comedy, tragedy and basic folk humor. The story is the old familiar puppet story. Read full book review >
THE STREAMLINED PIG by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Sept. 21, 1938

This just misses, and it is hard to put the finger on the reason. A nonsense tale of a little rich boy and his fancy farm and of how they got the animals away by plane when the floods swept over them. It ought to be amusing — it has echoes of Phil Stong's High Water, but where that is grand comedy, this approaches farce, and seems a bit strained and unjuvenile. Read full book review >
THE FISH WITH A DEEP SEA SMILE by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1938

The author-illustrator of When The Wind Blew (Harper) offers here a collection of stories and verse, definitely modern, somewhat experimental in content and treatment. Some of the stories are successfully told from the child angle and interest; others seem somewhat self-conscious. But on the whole they are delightful and original. Read full book review >
WHEN THE WIND BLEW by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 22, 1937

Margaret Wise Brown's early, tender, truly sad story about the old, old lady warmed back to life—when "her toothache was all that there seemed to be in the world"—by her little blue gray kitten, is a perilous choice for picture-book revival, being long on atmosphere and short on action; but to succeed at all it needs far more resonant pictures than these configurations, which have neither drawing, detail, nor conception to commend them. Read full book review >
THE CHILDREN'S YEAR by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Sept. 8, 1937

The pictures by Rojan will be the sales slant on this book, which has little to recommend it to the average child. A book of the months — adapted from the French of Lacote — and not particularly well done. The verse is not the sort of verse that appeals to most children. The signs of the seasons are not sufficiently evident to place the unnamed months. In some instances, one realizes that seasonal signs inevitably vary with locale and misses the direct allusions. Not a book children would choose for themselves — and the pictures are exquisite in coloring but uneven in content appeal. Read full book review >
ANIMALS

The idea is one that will appeal at the two and three year old level- of what the little cat thinks about the excitements of Christmas, the rattly paper, the tempting ribbons, the irresistible Christmas tree ornaments. Done in lovely pictures by Helen Stone, and a rhythmic, repetitive prose patterned text, which reads aloud beautifully. Read full book review >