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Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  175 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Forty years after her death, the author of the classics Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon remains a legendary figure in the world of literature and an enigma to many who knew her. This vivid biography offers a thoughtful portrait of this complex woman. of photos.
Published October 6th 1999 by Turtleback Books (first published 1992)
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Carmen Slaughter
Jun 11, 2014 Carmen Slaughter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was led to this book because I recently finished Goodnight June. As a former children's librarian and a mother I have always loved Margaret Wise Brown as an author but now I have a greater appreciation for her as a woman and a pioneer of children's literature. Such a riveting read!
Jan 01, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on the heels of "The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll," so it's hard not to compare the two.

Whereas Jean Nathan takes a sort of nostalgic, protective ownership of Dare Wright, Leonard S. Marcus treats Margaret Wise Brown from the standpoint of an academic. Curiously, I appreciate both approaches. The result in MWB: Awakened by the Moon is that this is as much a history of the American picture book as it is a biography of Brown.

What I'm taking away from the book is this.

You know fr
Michael Fitzgerald
In some ways, better than In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown. This book provides more context of the children's publishing world and seems to be better in terms of annotations.
Jun 24, 2010 Susann rated it really liked it
Shelves: ursula-nordstrom
Excellent biography of Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, and somewhere around 100 other published works. (I don't have my book with me to check my facts.)

Marcus does his usual bang-up job at bringing his subject to life. I had no idea that MWB was so prolific and was especially drawn to her work at the Bank Street program and her collaborations with so many wonderful illustrators. Her long-term, dysfunctional love affair made me squirm for her, and her casual antisemi
Stephanie Tara
Mar 28, 2013 Stephanie Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly fantastic - a woman I have admired all my life and whose work inspired me to write for children myself...if I had time for just one quote by Margaret, it would be this one; which embodies all I know about children, children's needs and what books can provide for them: “In this modern world where activity is stressed almost to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked. Yet a child's need for quietness is the same today as it has always been--it may even be ...more
Jun 27, 2010 Waller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hearing Leonard Marcus talk about MWB at the New York Public Library celebration of the 100th anniversary of her birth inspired me to take this down off the shelves, where it has been sitting for some 15 years, and finally read it. I was impressed to learn about all the rest of her activity beyond the well-known *Goodnight Moon*, *Runaway Bunny*, and Little Golden Books, and by the complex web of connections between MWB and just about everybody who was anybody in children's books in the 1930s an ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Connie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed learning about how what we call "Children's Literature" came into being and how much of modern children writing all started with Margaret Wise Brown and " Good Night Moon".
Finally finished! Margaret Wise Brown led an interesting and all-too-short life, dying of a brain aneurysm at the age of 42. But before she died, she wrote many, many, many books. A bunch of them were published during her life, several shortly after her death, and then more many years later. I looked in vain in this book for information about my second-favorite MWB book, "The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin" (my favorite being, of course, "Goodnight Moon"). The I realized that the book I was reading was p ...more
Colleen O'Neill Conlan
Mar 02, 2013 Colleen O'Neill Conlan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
The Only House, Margaret Wise Brown's island getaway, is a couple miles or so through the woods from my own home. That little bit of "local connection" drew me to this book as much as her creativity and career.

This book is a bit on the academic side, perhaps a little dry in the telling, but quite thorough. There is a lot about the history of the Bank Street school and the Writer's Laboratory, pioneered by Brown's mentor, Lucy Mitchell. In that lab, Brown wrote her first children's book, and wen
Maria Menozzi
Sep 29, 2014 Maria Menozzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I read this essay in the NYT a few months ago by Aimee Bender, a novelist and author who I read, and she revisited the simple brilliance of "Goodnight Moon." I remembered that I had read a biography of Marg Wise Brown years ago but the essay piqued my interest again in Brown's life and works. This is a readable, interesting and straightforward telling of Brown's life and works. Brown was prolific in her work and Marcus writes that she penned her picture book prose on the back of envelopes. Ir ...more
I didn't read 'Goodnight Moon' as a child. I think I must have been one of the only ones. The picture book, which was published in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most beloved books in American publishing history. Reading it now, I see why. It's a haunting, lovely, elegiac piece of writing. A perfect goodnight poem.

Its author was equally haunting and lovely. And surprising and mercurial and incredibly prolific. By the time she died, Margaret Wise Brown had authored more than 100 books for ve
May 22, 2014 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I got a real sense of who this wonderful writer was as a human being, and how she came to her unique approach to children's literature. Of particular interest were her years at the Bank Street College of Education and her close collaborations with her illustrators. Her books are deceptively simple, but every tiny detail has been painstakingly thought out. Hers was a life tragic in many ways, but she has left a beautiful, lasting legacy far greater than any hurtful ...more
Julie Barrett
Dec 16, 2015 Julie Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Margaret Wise Brown, awakened by the moon by Leonard S. Marcus
Story about Margaret, her life, her relatives and what interests they had while she grew up.
Different places she visited and lived and books they read and games they played.
Moves onto her adult life also and her book writing. Like stories she's written and the way she uses furry animals.
Loved hearing of her island house and all the struggles with her books, makes you appreciate them a lot more.
I have to say, I'm a little disappointed in this biography. It seemed more a summary of her career and less of a detailed insight into her personal life, which is what I was anticipating. This would be an excellent academic read for people interested in gaining knowledge of early to mid 20th-century juvenile literature; but honestly, I'm just not very impressed with the biographical information portrayed here.
Jenny Brown
This was one of those books that when you are done has made you think less of the subject. Since my children loved Brown's books when they were little, The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon, I was saddened to find that the author wasn't someone I had all that much respect for.

The book itself sheds a lot of light on the history of children's books in the 20th century and is worth reading for that.
Jul 26, 2015 Mimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read which details the life of a prolific author as well as the rise of children's books. I found the section of the development of Bank Street school and the early philosophies of what was appropriate subject matter for children absolutely fascinating. I also enjoyed the launch of Golden Books as I certainly owned my share of those books (when they sold for 25 cents)! Definitely of interest for those who enjoy reading to their children, like history, biography, NYC and Maine!
Dec 06, 2008 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Biography of the author of "Goodnight Moon," the bedtime picture book classic. I loved reading this as a follow-up to the same author's book "Minders of Make Believe." MWB lived 1910-1952 and although she died young, she was a major influence in the development of literature for preschool children. She was an unconventional, complex personality.
Jan 31, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I dont usually read biographies but maybe I should if they are like this book. The author of Good Night Moon, and so many more, led a pretty interesting life and was a magnetic character. I was sad when it ended and I'll never not think of the author behind so many childhood favorites that I read to my son.
Feb 26, 2015 Kenzie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating account of Margaret Wise Brown, but a little lengthier than I needed. I loved learning the background for the common themes in MWB's books, and I loved reading about her start at Bank Street. What an amazing time to be involved in education! I admit I couldn't finish this book--my interest ran out--but I got a lot out of it, none the less.
Mar 15, 2011 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh how I love reading about the authors, illustrators and editors of the great works of 20th century Children's Literature. Leonard Marcus is the preeminent children's literature historian and scholar.
Jul 18, 2012 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of my favorite children's authors... groundbreaker...
Jun 02, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great read from Leonard Marcus.
Jan 17, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was well written and easy to read. additionally, this was kind of a double biography: the life story of margaret wise brown and also the beginnings of the children's publishing industry.
Apr 01, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look at MWB who really never was an old woman.
Wendy Wax
Feb 21, 2010 Wendy Wax rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great biography! Being a children's book writer and editor, I liked learning about the beginnings of Bank Street.
May 29, 2008 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful biography of the beloved children's book author. All the information you ever wanted/needed to know about Margaret Wise Brown including childhood photos and personal correspondence.
Gwen Rachel
Gwen Rachel rated it liked it
Jan 26, 2014
Joy Houglum
Joy Houglum rated it it was amazing
Nov 15, 2007
Jana Christy
Jana Christy rated it liked it
Jan 10, 2010
Maurynne  Maxwell
Maurynne Maxwell rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2009
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Leonard S. Marcus is one of the world's leading writers about children's books and their illustrations. His many books include The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy; Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy; Dear Genius; and others. His essays, interviews, and reviews appear in the New York Times Book Review, among other publications. Leonard S. Marcus lives in Br ...more
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