Only Margaret: A Story About Margaret Wise Brown

Eerdmans. Oct. 2021. 56p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780802855084.
K-Gr 3–Only Margaret would hitch the neighbor’s pups to a sled, board a train with a rabbit, buy an entire crateful of flowers, or take a 600-mile taxi ride. This picture book biography of the beloved author celebrates her life, work, and unique sensibility. After college, Brown tried her hand at writing, but was uninspired. She then attended teaching college at Bank Street, where she had the opportunity to listen to and observe the wonder and magic of a young child’s mind. She began to think like one herself as “…she watched a crow’s wing slice the air” or “…heard a mouse swallow.” She decided to devote herself to creating children’s books with accomplished illustrators such as Garth Williams and Clement Hurd. In her short life, she wrote 100 books. While many of these are appended in a selected list, the back stories of When the Wind Blew, The Important Book, Goodnight Moon, and The Little Island are highlighted within the narrative. The digitally created illustrations capture the subject’s playfulness, while the palette reflects her great affinity for the natural world. An author’s note, time line, and selected bibliography are included, satisfying all requirements for school reports. Mac Barnett and Sarah Jacoby’s The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown is written in a more irreverent style for a more sophisticated audience.
VERDICT This engaging, attractive title is an excellent resource for author studies or biography assignments.

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