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The Little Island

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,126 Ratings  ·  319 Reviews
There is a little island in the ocean—and this book is about how it is on that little island, how the seasons and the storm and the day and night change it, how the lobsters and seals and gulls and everything else live on it, and what the kitten who comes to visit finds out about it.
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 9th 2003 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers (first published 1946)
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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book for small children.
If I do simply approach The Little Island with regard to Leonard Weisgard's evocatively painterly, nature imbued illustrations, I can both easily and without any doubt understand the 1947 Caldecott Medal designation (for the illustrations are truly absolutely exquisite, presenting a delightful combination of both reality and descriptive esoteric splendor, of a tiny island, a tiny spot of nature and its flora and fauna throughout a given year, throughout the four seasons).

However and all the abov
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really loved the beginning and ending of this book--a loving look at a little island as if told by a poet and naturalist. The seasons change, different flora and fauna cover the island, etc. The mid-section with the little kitten that comes to the island is just too didactic and out-of-place for me, though. The bit about the kitty being an island--yet the island being connected to the world--and about the meaning of faith--just don't seem to fit the rest of the story and seemed, dare I say it, ...more
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
Margaret Wise Brown is the author of many beloved childrens' classics, most famously Goodnight Moon. I recently reread that and several other of her books. This one, which I found today at the Cabrillo Lighthouse gift shop, was new to me. Perhaps because it has no associations with my childhood I looked at it a bit more critically and thought: Brown is really kind of surreal.

Don't get me wrong, that is not a complaint! I enjoy surrealism, especially in picture books. It was just a bit unexpected
Book Concierge
The Little Island is alone in a sea of crystal blue water, but enjoys the change of seasons. A little cat visits the island and learns something about nature. Flowers bloom, animals molt or have babies, birds migrate, and fruit ripens.

Margaret Wise Brown (best known perhaps for Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown) wrote this book under the pen name of Golden MacDonald. It’s a very nice story that gives a young child an introduction to the natural world. Leonard Weisgard’s illustrations are beautifully rendered.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: caldecott-medal
This started out as a pleasant book with lovely flora and fauna illustrations, but then a cat visits the island and I thought the text became a little weird; it just sort of stopped the rhythm and flow of the story. It did get back on track, though and ended well.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
1947 Caldecott Award
Margaret Wise Brown does a good job of showing the passing of the seasons on a small island surrounded by ocean. While I am not a great fan of Leonard Weisgard's artwork, he does faithfully depict in his illustrations what the text says. The colors are quite muted, and some of the side illustrations are in shades of gray, brown and black. This is a quiet little book, and nothing much happens, except that the kitten learns that the island is connected to land far underneath th
The Little Island tells all about life on and around a little island, from the changing of the seasons, to the birds, animals, and fish that call it home, the little island is “a part of the world and a world of its own.” The story is classic Margaret Wise Brown (aka Golden MacDonald) with its “here and now” style, subtle rhymes, and detailed run-on descriptions. The illustrations by Leonard Weisgard compliment the text perfectly with the island and its inhabitants painted in deep and vibrant ea ...more
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of this book, until I picked it up for my Caldecott Challenge. I think it is another excellent example of a better book as compared to "Goodnight Moon". It won the 1947 Caldecott Award. In this book, the reader learns about a little island, as told by the island itself. The little island goes through all four seasons, as the reader observes how the the plant and animal life on the island changes as the year progresses. I also liked how the cat who comes with a couple to the isl ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-books
A perfect marriage of text and illustrations.

Clouds passed over it
Fish swam around it
And the fog came in from the sea
and hid the little Island
in a soft wet shadow.

Golden MacDonald (Margaret Wise Brown) acquaints us with all the flora and fauna of the little island, including underwater, as the four seasons pass. One day a kitten on a sailboat visits the island, the island explains itself to the kitten with help from a fish, and the kitten sails away again.

Text and grayscale illustrations are on
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
It really wouldn't be a Margaret Wise Brown book without a bit of surrealistic weirdness. Loved the haiku-like descriptions of life on the island and the gorgeous illustrations. The weird tangents somehow make this book even more appealing to me--like a kid giving a report on island life then veering into a fantasy tale of islands and kitties conversing. I kind of love it.
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
An island so mysterious, you almost need a laboratory under a church in Los Angeles to determine where it is. (view spoiler)
Katie Fitzgerald
I have always loved anything illustrated by Leonard Weisgard, and this book is no exception. I love the rich, deep colors he uses in his paintings, and the way he fills entire pages, with no white space leftover. The story is one of Margaret Wise Brown’s stranger stories, especially at the end, but I think it shares an important message about individuality and interconnectedness.
This started out with good descriptions of the flora and fauna of the island. Then in the middle of the book the kitten enters the picture and the flow of the writing just stops and stutters along. The cat made the story worse. I hate to say bad things about an award winning book, but it just doesn't go well because this cat shows up and the island starts explaining itself to this "outsider". I don't know, I didn't like how this book was written. It would have been better off without the kitten. ...more
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"No man is an island," said John Donne, and no island is an island either. In The Little Island, the Caldecott-award-winning book authored by Margaret Wise Brown, a little Island speaks to a black Kitten, and tells the Kitten that it, too, is connected to the earth, down under the sea. But, still, the sea is a barrier to those that walk on land. The Kitten can only visit the Island via boat, and returns to the mainland after spending some time with the Island and its creatures. The Island is con ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book summary: This book was about a little island, and all that goes on around the island. It talks how storms, days, and nights change it, how it is land and how the fish see the land to stretch throughout the sea. A kitten visits the island and learns this secret that all land is one land under the sea.
Grade level: K-2
Appropriate classroom use: This book talks about land and animals so it would fit around those subjects. In class we could do some activities on how islands are still land.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I must have been a very, very strange child. I must be a very, very strange adult because I love this book. I'm surprised so many people gave it low scores, and wouldn't read it to their children etc. because I feel totally the opposite.

I was captivated by this book as a child, and still as an adult the pictures and simple language really intrigue me. The colors are beautiful, and the words are very atmospheric and philosophical, it kind of gives you a sense of wonder as you hear them. I just re
Sep 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kidslit-645
Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard using gouache. Winner of the 1947 Caldecott Medal. I must say, I really didn't like this book. I found the text awkward and with a strange rhythm and though at first I liked the illustrations, as soon as the cat appeared I found them awkward too. The book follows the life of an island and even touches on the philosophical. I just didn't like it at all.
Traci Bold
The sweet little book by Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisguard shows the evolution of how an island came to be; the life it gave. Fantastic starter of geography lessons for young readers. Excellent! Loved it.
Oct 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, lovely pictures. I liked how this book followed the seasons and just painted a word-picture of the little island. But the part with the cat being an island was just weird. I think I would have liked it better if people (and cats) had not come to the island.
Linda Lipko
This 1947 Caldecott Medal book is lyrical and charming. The illustrations pull the reader into the story.

The beauty lies in the simple tale of an island and the changes that occur during the seasons.
Maria Rowe
• 1947 Caldecott Winner •

I like the illustrations - the paintings are beautiful. The text is a little dry, and halfway through the story a kitten randomly shows up and becomes the main focus of the narrative. The kitten just didn’t fit in with the beginning and ending of the story. Other than that, this is a decent little book but it felt a bit like two books in one.

Materials used: unlisted
Typeface used: unlisted
Andrea Vandiver
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Loved everything about the book but the cat parts. Weird.
Emily Anderson
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it
The Caldecott award winner of 1947, The Little Island, takes the reader through the four seasons of the island. In the story, the the author focuses on the habitat of the island. On each page you see different plants and animals depending on the season.  Within the pictures the illustrator uses coloring to reinforce the text. Depending on the season the coloring of the pictures changed. During the springtime on the island the picture had lots of greens and blues. The colors looked fresh just lik ...more
Jan 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Picturesque views of a tiny island (based on the animals, I'm guessing off the New England coast) with a short narrative that is melodic. The addition of the kitten is a bit strange, but overall the book is a short and sweet look at life on a small "uninhabited" island as the seasons progress.

This book was selected as one of the books for the April 2014 - Quarterly Caldecott discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
Alice Porter
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I found this book strange and confusing. It was written back in the 1940's. The story line is random and there is a lot that happens to the little island. The author did a wonderful job with word choice. It is very poetic at points. The illustrations look like they were painted with watercolor. These illustrations were my favorite part because they complimented the writing and amplified to books classic charm. I didn't completely understand what the author's message was and will have to read it ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: caldecott
Favorite Illustration: I loved all of the pictures of the animal and plant life on the island. My favorite is most likely the King Fisher birds, however.
There is a little island in the middle of the sea. It is home to many plants and animals throughout the seasons.
I liked this story, it was so sweet and simple. I loved the island and the illustrations and animals. The part with the cat in the middle, though, was really weird and didn't fit at all with the rest of the book. It's like somebody tol
Luisa Knight
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
The opening to the story was interesting, as it introduces you to various animals and bugs. You see the seasons change on the island as well.

The middle section was very odd though. A kitty comes and has a dialogue with the island - about being part of the big world and of faith. It felt rather abstract and as if I had suddenly turned the page into another book.

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in t
Odd. There are two books with the same title listed as having won the Caldecott this year, but they are written by different authors ~ Golden MacDonald and Margaret Wiess Brown. Have I been looking at the screen too long? I read the Golden MacDonald version. It read at first like a nature based picture book, and then a kitten came along and religious overtones suddenly presented themselves. Mixed feelings and messages.
I expected to like this book, but I didn't. There's not really a storyline; it's basically a description of an island. I wish the pictures correlated with the cover art a little better. The kitten is an odd addition. Maybe, if a child is familiar with a small island, they would enjoy this. My favorite illustration is of two kingfishers. The rest of the images are just okay.
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Golden MacDonald is a pen name used by Margaret Wise Brown.

Where the book's title page or cover indicates Golden MacDonald, please do not change to Margaret Wise Brown - per the Librarian Manual.
More about Golden MacDonald...
“nights and days came and passed
and summer and winter
and the sun and the wind
and the rain.
and it was good to be a little island
a part of the world
and a world of its own
all surrounded by the bright blue sea.”
“Nights and days came and passed
And summer and winter
and the rain.
And it was good to be a little Island.
A part of the world
and a world of its own
All surrounded by the bright blue sea.”
More quotes…