Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Margaret Wise Brown

We know Margaret Wise Brown for one book she wrote, and that was Goodnight Moon (1947), which includes the lines "Goodnight room / Goodnight moon / Goodnight cow jumping over the moon ... Goodnight stars / Goodnight air / Goodnight noises everywhere."

The New York Public Library gave it a terrible review, and it didn't sell as well as some of Brown's other books in its first year. But parents were amazed at the book's almost hypnotic effect on children, its ability to calm them down before bed. Brown thought the book was successful because it helped children let go of the world around them piece by piece, just before turning out the light and falling asleep.

Parents recommended the book to each other, and it slowly became a word-of-mouth best-seller. It sold about 1,500 copies in 1953, 4,000 in 1955, 8,000 in 1960, 20,000 in 1970; and by 1990 the total number of copies sold had reached more than four million. (from the Writers Almanac May 23, 2006)

There is nothing like a good book.

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