Margaret Wise Brown has written classic children’s books such as Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. Goodnight Songs is a collection of poetry and lullabies never published before. The editor, Amy Gary, was visiting Margaret Wise Brown’s sister, Roberta Rauch. Ms. Gary asked if she knew of any unpublished manuscripts of her sister. Mrs. Rauch shared that there was a trunk. After many visits to see Mrs. Rauch, months in the passing, asking about the “trunk,” Ms. Gary was finally shown the contents of “a trunk in the attic of [her] barn” filled with papers, typewritten with handwritten notes in the margins, musical scores to go with the words. The sister shared that near the end of Ms. Brown’s life, she wrote songs for children. As it turned out, she was under contract by a new children’s recording company and was creating television and radio shows filled with children’s songs and stories. She collaborated with singers like Rosemary Clooney and Burl Ives. Margaret Wise Brown wanted “to capture that spirit of a child’s world.” She would hear children making up songs as they went about their day and wanted to embrace that free and delightful characteristic of being a child.
Not only is this book filled with twelve, up until now, unpublished songs and/or poems, but each song is illustrated by a different artist who has achieved illustrative fame in his or her own right. For example, Eric Puybaret is best-selling illustrator of “Puff, The Magic Dragon” by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton. Another is Jonathan Bean, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for “At Night” and “Building Our House.” There are others: Dan Yaccarino, Linda Bleck, Renata Liwska, plus seven others. There are biographies of each illustrator at the end of the book.
The book comes with a CD filled with the music of “Tom and Emily” – a duo (Tom Proutt and Emily Gary), as well as other musicians. They took Margaret Wise Brown’s words, put voice and instrumentation to each poem/song, translating Margaret Wise Brown “beautifully and respectfully.” Credits of each song are inside the back cover.
Reading Level: 3 – 6 Years
Margaret Wise Brown is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time; her classic Goodnight Moon, illustrated by Clement Hurd, has sold more than twenty-four million copies and her books. Another book that is still in print is The Runaway Bunny. Those two along with Big Red Barn and The Golden Egg Book have never been out of print. Her stories are timeless and classics. Several generations have grown up with her stories and her influence has been felt around the world. Her official website is http://margaretwisebrown.com/
• ISBN-13: 9781454904465
• Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
• Publication date: 3/4/2014
• Pages: 28
• Product dimensions: 10.10 x 10.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)
Original review was done in October, 2014 for my prior book blog.