A forthcoming line of picture books from HarperCollins Children's Books invites a new generation of children and their parents to "Explore the World of Margaret Wise Brown" via new editions of some of the late author's stories. The program debuts in 2016 with the publication of two newly reillustrated books, and continues in 2017 with the release of one of Brown's never-before-published stories. Two subsequent reissues with new art complete the lineup.
First up is a fresh edition of The Dead Bird, featuring art by Christian Robinson, who won Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honors for Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, by Patricia Hruby Powell, and whose most recent book, Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña, was a New York Times bestseller. This March 2016 release will be followed in September by Brown's Christmas in the Barn, reillustrated by Anna Dewdney of Llama Llama fame.
Due in winter 2017 is the unpublished North, South, East, West, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, whose debut picture book, The Watermelon Seed, received the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. Additional Brown titles illustrated by Loren Long (author-illustrator of the Otis series) and Jerry Pinkney (winner of the 2010 Caldecott for The Lion and the Mouse) are scheduled for fall 2017 and winter 2018, respectively.
At the helm of Explore the World of Margaret Wise Brown is editorial director Nancy Inteli, who notes that it is fitting to bring back classic and unseen Brown works for today's picture book audience. "Harper has been publishing Brown's books since the 1940s, so many of us here grew up with Good Night Moon and The Runaway Bunny and other Brown stories, and went on to share them with our children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren," she says. "We're thrilled to offer new readers the same excitement so many of us felt when we first discovered a Margaret Wise Brown story. She had a unique ability to convey a childhood experience and perspective on the world that no other author had done before. In doing so, she changed the landscape of children's literature."
Inteli explains that her team worked "hand-in-hand" with Amy Gary, editor of the estate of Margaret Wise Brown, to select titles for the line that have resonated with readers in the past—as well as deciding to include the North, South, East, West, which Inteli calls "a simply beautiful story."
Booksellers who'd like an advance peek at the line can visit the HarperCollins booth (2038, 2039), where promotional broadsides showcasing Robinson's art from The Dead Bird are available today.