Margaret Wise Brown was born on May 10, 1910, in New York City. She grew up near the beaches and in the woods of Long Island Sound. As a child she had as pets thirty-six rabbits, two squirrels, a collie, two guinea pigs, seven fish, and a wild robin who came back to visit every spring.

She was always a fool for books.   "Stories of Roland and of the Golden Fleece and Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe and Peter Rabbit and Snow White were all true to me. It didn't seem important that anyone wrote them. And it still doesn't seem important. I wish I didn't have ever to sign my long name on the cover of a book and I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely true to the child who hears it and to myself."

In 1935, she went to work at the Bank Street Cooperative School for student teachers. She began writing for kids,encouraging her students to swap stories with her and using them as a sounding board for all her words and pictures. She wrote with the then-radical idea that kids would rather read about their own lives than fables and fairy tales. This was called the "here and now" philosophy, and would change children's literature forever.

In 1937, Margaret's first book was published. When the Wind Blew would become the first of over a hundred kid's books she would create - all over the next fifteen years. Please think about that for a moment. She kept six publishers busy with her insanely prolific output, and created pen names (Golden MacDonald, Juniper Sage, Kaintuck Brown and Timothy Hay) so it wouldn't look like she was flooding the market. One of these nom-de-plumed books would win the Caldecott in 1947.

Margaret fought for proper author and illustrator royalties at a time when the publishing industry was just beginning to establish standard payment practices. She insisted her artists receive the same royalty as she did - they had previously only received a flat fee per book. She fought to keep big words in her books, refusing to dumb it down for kids. Her negotiations with publishers often got nasty. Margaret once threatened to shoot one publisher with her bow and arrow if she saw him walking down the street.

She was crazy, and everyone loved her. She spent her entire first royalty check on flowers, then threw a party for all her friends to help her enjoy them. On hot days she would run into her publishers' offices with ice cream for the whole staff. She took her terriers everywhere. She bought a house in Maine which had no electricity, and she kept the milk and butter down the well. She dated the prince of Spain.

Margaret died, very unexpectedly, on November 13, 1952, of a sudden embolism. Only a few days before, she'd kicked up her leg like a can-can girl, to show the doctor how healthy she was. She was 42. I can't stand that she's gone. We lost someone fun.


"One can but hope to make a child laugh or feel clear and happy-headed as he follows the simple rhythm to its logical end. It can jog him with the unexpected and comfort him with the familiar, lift him for a few minutes from his own problems of shoelaces that won't tie, and busy parents and mysterious clock time, into the world of a bug or a bear or a bee or a boy living in the timeless world of a story."


Animals In the Snow

Another Important Book

Big Red Barn

Bumble Bee

Bunny's Noisy Book

A Child Is Born

A Child's Good Morning Book

A Child's Good Night Book

The Color Kittens

The Dead Bird

The Diggers

Four Fur Feet

Give Yourself to the Rain

The Golden Egg Book

Goodnight Moon

The Grasshopper and the Ants

Home for a Bunny

How the Animals Took a Bath

I Like Bugs

I Like Stars

The Important Book

Little Donkey Close Your Eyes

The Little Fir Tree

The Little Fur Family

Little Island   (1947 Caldecott Medal; published under the pen name Golden MacDonald)

The Little Scarecrow Boy

Mouse of My Heart

Nibble Nibble

On Christmas Eve

Pussy Willow

A Pussycat's Christmas

The Runaway Bunny

The Sailor Dog

Sleepy ABC

The Sleepy Men

Train to Timbuctoo

Two Little Trains

The Ugly Duckling

Under the Sun and the Moon

Wait Till the Moon Is Full

The Wonderful House

Young Kangaroo

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