"The important thing about rain is/ that it is wet./ It falls out of the sky,/ and it sounds like rain,/ and makes things shiny,/ and it does not taste like anything,/ and is the color of air./ But the important thing about rain is that it is wet."
Goodnight Moon creator Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book is a deceptively simple exercise--taking familiar things like an apple, spoon, or shoe, and finding the most basic association with those things. The most important thing about an apple? It is round. A spoon? You eat with it. A shoe? You put your foot in it. But why, according to Brown, is the most important thing about grass "that it is green," while the most important thing about an apple is "that it is round"? Why is "that it is white" the most important thing about snow and a daisy? Whether or not you'd distill these things in the same way that the author does, Brown makes us think about the essence of everyday entities in new ways. The illustrations, by Caldecott Medal winner Leonard Weisgard (The Little Island), perform the same function--capturing the spoonness of spoons, the roundness of an apple, the motion of wind.
Happily, Brown went on to create the companion Another Important Book, about the importance of being one, two, three, four, five, and six years old--published for the first time in 1999 with fabulous artwork by Caldecott Honor artist Chris Raschka (Yo! Yes?). Both of Brown's "important books" will endure the test of time as fresh, thought-provoking ways to examine the world around us. (Click to see a sample spread. Text copyright renewed 1977 by Roberta Brown Rauch. Illustrations copyright renewed 1977 by Leonard Weisgard. Permission from HarperCollins Publishers.) (Preschool and older) --Karin Snelson
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About the Author
Few writers have been as attuned to the concerns and emotions of childhood as Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952). A graduate of Hollins College and the progressive Bank Street College of Education, she combined her literary aspirations with the study of child development. Her unique ability to see the world through a child's eyes is unequaled. Her many classic books continue to delight thousands of young listeners and readers year after year.
Muy pocos escritores de literatura infantil han logrado captar las emociones e inquietudes de la niñez como Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952). Sus numerosos y ya clásicos libros y grabaciones continúan deleitando a lectores y oyentes de todas las edades.