Margaret Wise Brown: 'The Important Thing about You is that You are You.'

How many small children have snuggled in a parent's lap and fallen asleep to the gentle music of Margaret Wise Brown's picture book Goodnight Moon?

Published 60 years ago, the book is one of the 40 top-selling children's books of all time. One of the first baby gifts when my daughter was born, it soon became one of my favorite books and Brown, my favorite author. I loved reading this litany of items that make a baby bunny's world as we cast our eyes around the pictures and likewise prepared for sleep. Each line would come like a breath until I was dozing too.

Asked once how she could write so well for children if she never had any, Brown answered, "I have been one."

Not long out of college, she was working as a student teacher at Lucy Sprague Mitchell's experimental school in New York City when she realized her talent to write for the very young. Brown adhered to the stunning idea that her young audience should like the stories they hear; so she tried her stories out on little kids before she put them before the public.

Brown's confidence in the magic and beauty, the adventure and wonder of real life--the here and now--marks her works. The bedtime books are free of conflict as they assure children of their safety and well-being. There are no problems to solve, no witches to avoid, no prisoners to release, to evil stepparents to vanquish in the moments before rest. Only a world getting ready to rest as the cycle of life continues. These are stories about being born into your rightful place in the world, wherever that is. To quote The Important Book, the "important thing about you is that you are you." (more here at Thursday Thirteen)

More here, too.


  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    I love Margaret Wise Brown's books. Her books are sweet. My children love the Good Night Moon book.

  2. Have you seen the Simpsons episode where Christopher Walken is reading Goodnight Moon? Great stuff.

  3. Anonymous8:17 PM

    I miss children's books. I might have to dig out some of the old favorites... Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Katie and the Big Snow, and anything in the Arthur series.

  4. Anonymous1:55 AM

    i had no idea that she illustrated all those books - my girls had half of them; would love to see that goodnight moon simpson episode which diesel mentions... christopher walken no less; no child could sleep at that bed time story!


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