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The Important Book Paperback – May 19, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 137 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

The important thing about The Important Book is that you let your child tell you what is important about the sun and the moon and the wind and the rain and a bug and a bee and a chair and a table and a pencil and a bear and a rainbow and a cat (if he wants to). --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD580L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (May 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064432270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064432276
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hi, I just read the review below from the infuriated reader who said that this book talks down to children.

But once I went to a talk about children's books and they discussed this book and said that Margaret Wise Brown was not doing that at all. That the intent of the book is actually to invite kids to debate and have their own opinions. She sets up these statements on purpose to provoke, and to get kids to think for themselves. She's playing with the reader because of course, how CAN you say that a daisy is important 'because it is white'? It's also yellow in the middle, and has petals, or whatever. Same with an apple. She says it's important because 'it is round' but what about because it's sweet? Or juicy? The whole joke is that she's announcing 'what's important' about something in order to invite thought and prompt argument. Her other stories reveal too much depth for her to have really been trying to control kids' minds with the 'important book.'
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Format: Paperback
I use this book at a "getting to know you" starter for the 1st day of school. After reading the book, the students start to see the pattern. I then have them write something about themselves using the same pattern in the book. "The most important thing about Sue is that she likes to read. Sue has 3 cats, plays soccer and can pitch like Nolan Ryan, but the most important thing about Sue is that she likes to read." I then have them illustrate these things on manilla paper or with the computer, then bind all of the pages into a class book. The kids love getting to know each other this way.
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By A Customer on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
We use this selection to teach the concept of the main idea. I start the entire year off using this book. I read the book aloud to the students.We discuss each aspect of the important or the main idea of each subject.After completing the book we then write a page about ourselves. Example: The important thing about Ellis is that he is a toehead,he loves computer games , he plays with his trucks and he always wears Carharts,but the important thing about Ellis is that he is a toehead. Ellis is a student that has the whitest hair you have ever seen...everyone always says something to him about his "toehead". The children (usually third graders) each do their own page and we publish our book for the classroom. We try to have this completed by our open house. The parents really enjoy it and they get to know their childs classmates in a special way. Just a thought!
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Format: Paperback
This thoughtfull Brown book methodically affirms a small child's growing ability to construct opinions about his or her world. Misunderstood as asserting objective classifications, Brown instead elaborates on the ellusive season of child development when subjective and objective information are indistinguishable:
"the important thing about a daisy is that it is white" and air is "the color of air".
Recommended if you want the child in your life to catch Brown's vision of personal discovery.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent study tool for any teacher. The format of the book gives students a perfect model in how to write a good paragraph. Eventhough it is basic, students grasp the idea of the difference between a topic sentence and a paragraph's supporting sentences.
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Format: Paperback
We like this book. It may have some flaws, as other reviewers have indicated, but it more than makes up for them by providing a background for some invigorating discussions. Discussions and learning that both my kids and I enjoyed!

What is great about this book is that because the topics are about nature, my children could offer up some of their own observations. While my 3 year-old did not offer up many ideas, he certainly listened attentively as my 5 year-old and I talked about each page.

And she and I did not always agree with the book's conclusion! We decided, for example, that the most important part about air was that it is necessary for life. But that is the great thing about "The Important Book". It began a dialog in which we could each have our own input and opinion.

Four stars. I think it will be interesting to read this book every year to see how our answers grow and vary.
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
This is a truly timeless book. Published 50 years ago, it still rings true. My own children loved it and we played games echoing it on journeys in the car. In my classroom I use it often to set up reponses in English, math, social studies and science. It always serves to spark animated conversations.
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By A Customer on July 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
I used this book at the beginning of the school year to get my special ed students to write about what was important to them or about why the things in the book are important. They all loved the activity and it was one of their favorite picks for reading time.
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