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Monday 19 April |
Saint of the Day: Pope Saint Leo IX

50 Books: In Which I Gripe about Margaret Wise Brown

Simcha Fisher - published on 11/19/12

I honestly don’t know why my kids love this book so much:

The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise brown, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

Okay, so Margaret Wise Brown, best known for Goodnight, Moon — kind of a difficult author, in my opinion.  They couldn’t have chosen a more grating color scheme for the colorized version, and I have a really hard time with books that sometimes rhyme, but sometimes just use the same word twice, because that rhymes.  I have a hard time with the fact that they leave the bowl of mush out all night at room temperature.   I have tried really hard to see this book as charming and comforting, but it just always strikes me as dreary and creepy — like a Twilight Zone episode where alien rabbit drones enslave mankind and try to replicate a quaint nursery atmosphere, but since they’re aliens, something is disastrously off.  Or are they kittens?  I forget.  Luckily, my kids aren’t especially attached to this book.

I do actually really like The Big Red Barn, which just talks about how there’s all these animals doing stuff, and then they go to bed, and then it’s dark.  Very nice, and I enjoy the delicate shifts in the color of the sky as the sun slowly sets.

Okay, so back to the original book, the Golden Egg Book.  There is no actual golden egg involved (it’s a “Golden Book,” that’s all), nor is there a highly decorated egg like on the cover.  It’s a perfectly cute story:  bunny finds an egg, doesn’t know what’s inside, and harasses the egg in various ways until he falls asleep.  Then the egg hatches and the duckling who comes out harasses the bunny in various ways until he wakes up.  The pictures are pretty and old-fashioned, and have lots of atmospheric detail.

Well, according to my kids, THIS BOOK IS A RIOT.  It’s comedy gold.  I don’t know what it is, but they just can’t get enough of it.   They laugh and laugh and run around the room yelling with sheer excess of enjoyment.  I don’t know if that will make you want to buy the book or not, but if you do, your kids will probably like it.  (The kids in question are ages 7, 5, 3 and 11 months, by the way — all girls.)

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