Goodnight Songs

Margaret Wise Brown, Author
Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger, Sophie Blackall, et al. Sterling, $17.95 (28p) ISBN 978-1-4549-0446-5
Reviewed on: 03/03/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
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Twelve talented illustrators interpret gentle poems by the late Brown, all but three of which have never before been published. In an introduction, Amy Gary, editor of Brown's estate, describes finding hundreds of the writer's unpublished manuscripts 20 years ago, a "treasure of a lifetime" that contained (among many other works) the verse in this volume. In keeping with the "goodnight" theme, the poems tend to have the muted and contemplative tone of a lullaby, even when the subject isn't sleep. For "Song to Estyn," Eric Puybaret provides a gauzy image of a child in a sailor's outfit held snugly by his father on the deck of an ocean liner ("Baby, sail the seven seas/ Safely in my arms"); Linda Bleck strikes a more comedic note in her midcentury retro illustrations of wide-eyed forest creatures for "Goat on the Mountain." Animals figure into many of the poems, and Renata Liwska, Melissa Sweet, Zachariah OHora, and other contributors create strong connections to the text in their artwork. Musicians Tom Proutt and Emily Gary turn each poem into a song on an accompanying CD. A rewarding and visually wide-ranging collection. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)
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