I love Margaret Wise Brown. She led a fascinating life, and wrote such wonderful books for children. I think it's safe to say that when we think of picture book authors, our favorites tend to be author/illustrators. The pictures usually come first in our mind. Margaret Wise Brown is an exception. True, her books were illustrated by some of the greatest in the business, but the words stand on their own. The girls and I can sit and recite Goodnight Moon at bedtime, and the gentle rhythm of the words is so peaceful that Clement Hurd's illustrations are merely a bonus.
So... to the library! In my hunt to find vintage goodies from years past, I hunted down four vintage Margaret Wise Brown books. All have been reissued with new illustrations (one reissue is out-of-print), but you know me... If an oldie exists, I at least want to see it!
The first two were illustrated by the amazing Barbara Cooney.
|Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1952.|
Christmas in the Barn is a simple retelling of the Christmas story, with beautiful illustrations by Cooney. The book draws young readers in by depicting the stable, Mary, Joseph, and the other humans as modern and American, allowing them to identify with the subjects. [A new edition was published by HarperCollins in 2007, with illustrations by Diane Goode.]
I prefer this one for the pictures over the text. I prefer the other Cooney collaboration for the story.
|The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1954. |
Harper Trophy edition, 1985.
In part 2, I show off books illustrated by Helen Stone and Beni Montresor.
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