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The Important Book Paperback – May 19, 1999
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.'
"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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a nice book to read for social thinking purposes with my first graders. There is a lot you can do with it and students enjoy it.Published 14 days ago by KD
Great book. Used in the beginning of school year then had my students write important things.Published 20 days ago by Jennifer M. O'brien
This is a great book and we use it with along side of a project for parents. The important thing about me... project. Parents love it.Published 1 month ago by Tiffany C.
Beautiful book. I've used this as a format for teaching vocabulary in my middle school classroom; we wrote "important poems" about words like force, motion, friction,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Taina Mirach-Jack
Heard this story, bought the book, and took it to school to read to the children.Published 2 months ago by Foster Grandma
Good for teachers to use as a read-aloud in a lesson about distinguishing between author's point of view and reader's point of view (and the follow-up lesson that the tests will... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jessica
I love this book. It arrived in great condition and I still use it in my classroom.Published 5 months ago by Mimi21