cover image The Days Before Now: An Autobiographical Note

The Days Before Now: An Autobiographical Note

Margaret Wise Brown, Thomas B. Allen. Simon & Schuster, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-671-79628-0

Adapted from an autobiographical entry Brown (1910-1953) wrote for a 1951 edition of the Junior Book of Authors, this poetic reminiscence is marked by the author's trademark simplicity and visual imagery. Brown (see also Four Fur Feet, reviewed above) strings together memories of her early years in Brooklyn and her family's move to Long Island, concluding with notes on her adult life. Though pleasantly lyrical, the placid, stream-of-consciousness quality of her recollections may render this a bit ethereal for some youngsters. Of her own career, she writes: ``I have written more than sixty books, and I wish I didn't have ever to sign my name on the cover of a book; I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely as true as Peter Rabbit and Snow White.'' A stunning book design sets the type against Allen's (In Coal Country) accomplished pastel and charcoal illustrations, which gracefully fill each spread. His effectively grainy art features hushed yet rich tones of gray, blue and brown, and neatly captures the period flavor. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)