If you’re not familiar with the work of Margaret Wise Brown, your childhood was the poorer for it. Brown wrote the now-classic titles Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, as well as The Little Fur Family, A Home for a Bunny and nearly one hundred other titles.
Margaret Brown was born in 1910, and died of an embolism (blood clot) following surgery in 1952. She worked first as a teacher, then as an editor, while continuing to write children’s books. When she passed away, she left over 70 unpublished works, a few of which have been published posthumously.
Brown had a genius for conveying feeling and story in a few short, simple, perfectly chosen words. Generations of children, including both me and my daughter, have been lulled to sleep by the soft, rhythmic ending of Goodnight Moon:
And goodnight to the old lady whispering ‘hush’.
Goodnight noises everywhere.”
The Runaway Bunny was another favorite in our house, with its gentle story about a little bunny who wants to run away, but whose loving mother promises always to find him again:
“If you run after me,” said the little bunny, “I will become a fish in a trout stream and I will swim away from you.”
“If you become a fish in a trout stream,” said his mother, “I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”
Clement Hurd illustrated both books, and the pictures in Goodnight Moon contain a number of references to The Runaway Bunny, as well as things for children to look for (try to find the mouse in every picture of the room.) I highly recommend both books for children age 1-6, though they may resonate best with those in the 2-4 age range.