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)