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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Children's Author Spotlight: Margaret Wise Brown

Today I'd like to share with you another of our favourite authors. Margaret Wise Brown lived from 1910-1952, and in that time wrote hundreds of books for children. She wrote about things that children wanted to read about, the things that happened to them in their own lives. She was a pioneer in this respect, moving away from the traditional fairy tale and fable styles of storytelling.

The first story we read by Margaret Wise Brown is still our favourite. Big Red Barn tells the story of farm animals living and playing together by day and retiring to the Big Red Barn in the evening. The story has a lovely rhythmic feel.
By the big red barn
In the great green field,
There was a pink pig
Who was learning to squeal.
Big Red Barn was one of the first books I read to my son, Jack. He could eventually recite parts of it himself.

Goodnight Moon is another favourite among babies, toddlers and preschoolers. It too has a rhythmic feel that children will become accustomed to.
Product description from Amazon.com: Perhaps the perfect children's bedtime book, Goodnight Moon is a short poem of goodnight wishes from a young rabbit preparing for--or attempting to postpone--his own slumber. He says goodnight to every object in sight and within earshot, including the "quiet old lady whispering hush."
Margaret Wise Brown created patterns with words. Kids learn to expect what's coming next, and they become very comfortable with these stories. No wonder they want to hear them again... and again... and again...

Another of Brown's classics is The Runaway Bunny. This cute story is about a boy bunny who talks about running away and his mother who assures him that no matter where he goes she will find him. In the end he decides that he might as well stay put.
Product description from Amazon.com: A little bunny keeps running away from his mother in an imaginative and imaginary game of verbal hide-and-seek; children will be profoundly comforted by this lovingly steadfast mother who finds her child every time.
Jack still enjoys this book at 3 1/2. Though he can't read all of the words on the page yet, the pictures help him to remember the story and he'll often read it to himself (and his stuffed friends, of course).

If you were to ask Jack, he might say that The Diggers is his favourite Margaret Wise Brown book. After all, it talks about construction vehicles and trains, two of his favourite things! The version of the book that we have is illustrated by Daniel Kirk and may not be in print any longer. We found ours at a used book store. The prose is sometimes jarring to us adults - it's not what we would consider Brown's best - but boys will love it all the same.


Donna Fasano said...

I've read Goodnight Moon so many times! It is a book that will surely stand the test of time.

Cookie’s Mom said...

I agree with you, Donna. It's a book that has been well loved by kids for over 50 years!

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