cover image Another Important Book

Another Important Book

Margaret Wise Brown. Joanna Cotler Books, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026282-2

While Brown's 1949 title, The Important Book, described the essential qualities of the familiar things in a child's world, this never-before-published companion addresses the developing characteristics of children themselves. As Brown leads readers through the ages of one to six in a series of jaunty rhymes (""The important thing about being Four/ is that you are bigger than you were before""), Raschka (Like Likes Like) emerges with a series of images whose fluid lines, simple geometric structure and concisely edited palette bring to mind the Bauhaus School. A master at conveying motion with a simple sweep of his watercolor brush, he launches a succession of sprightly imps to cavort against backdrops of mustard yellow, brick red and Prussian blue. For the progression from chubby babies (""You've found your nose/ and discovered your toes./ You've seen the moon/ and felt the sun"") to agile kindergartners (""You learn how to count./ You learn how to read./ You know how to dress/ and get what you need""), Raschka assigns each age group a geometric shape: a simple circle represents age one, pairs of stacked squares indicate two, a five-pointed star signifies five and so on. All the forms blend together in visual harmony for the sweeping finale. It's a pleasure to hear the organic rhythms of Brown's prose again, and Raschka paints in boisterous surprises. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)