A Child is Born: Picture Book

Overview

This lyrical celebration of the miracle of Christmas is now just the right size for little hands! Margaret Wise Brown's simple, poetic language brought to life by Floyd Cooper's spectacular paintings offer a fresh perspective on the Holy Family and the miraculous birth of Christ.

Presents a poetic description of the first Christmas night and the birth of the Baby Jesus.

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Overview

This lyrical celebration of the miracle of Christmas is now just the right size for little hands! Margaret Wise Brown's simple, poetic language brought to life by Floyd Cooper's spectacular paintings offer a fresh perspective on the Holy Family and the miraculous birth of Christ.

Presents a poetic description of the first Christmas night and the birth of the Baby Jesus.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Board books let youngest readers share in the holiday spirit. In a starred review of the picture book published in 200o, PW called A Child Is Born by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Floyd Cooper, (available in board book here for the first time) "a posthumous holiday gift" from the author of Goodnight Moon. Floyd's "artistic interpretation-a multiethnic cast, including a black Holy Family-is one of a harmonious world community, sure to be appreciated by all." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Margaret Wise Brown, author of the classic Goodnight Moon, retells the Christmas story in a brief poem. What makes this rendition of a familiar story unique are the beautiful, realistic illustrations of African-Americans as Jesus and his family, as well as the angels, shepherds and Wise Men. The artwork is produced by a technique of layered oil washes that are then partially removed to create a very lovely, soft texture. They are very appealing and will be especially appreciated by Christian families of color. This story was found among Brown's manuscripts after her death and has now been reissued in both picture book and board book formats. 2003 (orig. 2000), Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, Ages 1 to 5.
— Kristin Harris
Kirkus Reviews
Cooper, illustrator of several Coretta Scott King Award books, presents the Christmas story with an African-American cast. The most successful and appealing paintings feature baby Jesus: plump, sober, curly-haired, brown-eyed, and brown-skinned. Cooper's Jesus is a very human child. The dust-jacket illustration, which shows the baby Jesus against white swaddling clothes and framed in a glittering gold-leaf border, is particularly impressive. Other paintings show a dark-skinned Mary, Joseph, and a variety of angels of varying hue. Most scenes at the stable with shepherds, wise men, angels, and the Holy Family, are predictable. There is little attention to historical accuracy or detail. The paintings were created, according to the blurb, through a technique, involving "a number of oil washes that are then subtracted from the painting surface" to create the final pictures. Paintings are placed against a creamy parchment paper and bordered in gold. The text is a previously unpublished poem by author Brown, which reads in part: "O come, / country shepherds / O follow the light / And welcome the baby / This blessed night." The lettering in burnt sienna heightens the effect of a manuscript with a large initial letter. While the text and many of the illustrations are pedestrian, this will resonate with readers seeking a multi-ethnic version of the Christmas story. (Picture book/poetry. 4-7)Bunting, Eve WHO WAS BORN THIS SPECIAL DAY? Illus. by Leonid Gore Simon & Schuster (32 pp.) Oct. 1, 2000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786806737
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/1/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 11.37 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Wise Brown
Margaret Wise Brown
What child hasn’t been lulled to sleep -- or at least comforted -- by the gentle rhymes of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Goodnight Moon? Brown, a former teacher, believed that very young children could be fascinated in the simple pleasures of the world around them, and created some of the most enduring and beloved children’s books of all time.

Biography

When Margaret Wise Brown began to write for young children, most picture books were written by illustrators, whose training and talents lay mainly in the visual arts. Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, was the first picture-book author to achieve recognition as a writer, and the first, according to historian Barbara Bader, "to make the writing of picture books an art."

After graduating college in 1932, Brown's first ambition was to write literature for adults; but when she entered a program for student teachers in New York, she was thrilled by the experience of working with young children, and inspired by the program's progressive leader, the education reformer Lucy Sprague Mitchell. Mitchell held that stories for very young children should be grounded in "the here and now" rather than nonsense or fantasy. For children aged two to five, she thought, real experience was magical enough without embellishments.

Few children's authors had attempted to write specifically for so young an audience, but Brown quickly proved herself gifted at the task. She was appointed editor of a new publishing firm devoted to children's books, where she cultivated promising new writers and illustrators, helped develop innovations like the board book, and became, as her biographer Leonard S. Marcus notes, "one of the central figures of a period now considered the golden age of the American picture book."

Though Brown was intensely interested in modernist writers like Gertrude Stein (whom she persuaded to write a children's book, The World Is Round), it was a medieval ballad that provided the inspiration for The Runaway Bunny (1942), illustrated by Clement Hurd. The Runaway Bunny was Brown's first departure from the here-and-now style of writing, and became one of her most popular books.

Goodnight Moon, another collaboration with Hurd, appeared in 1947. The story of a little rabbit's bedtime ritual, its rhythmic litany of familiar objects placed it somewhere between the nursery rhyme and the here-and-now story. At first it was only moderately successful, but its popularity gradually climbed, and by 2000, it was among the top 40 best-selling children's books of all time.

The postwar baby boom helped propel sales of Brown's many picture books, including Two Little Trains (1949) and The Important Book (1949). After the author died in 1952, at the age of 42, many of her unpublished manuscripts were illustrated and made into books, but Brown remains best known for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny.

More people recognize those titles than recognize the name of their author, but Margaret Wise Brown wouldn't have minded. "It didn't seem important that anyone wrote them," she once said of the books she read as a child. "And it still doesn't seem important. I wish I didn't have ever to sign my long name on the cover of a book and I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely true to the child who hears it and to myself." For millions of children who have settled down to hear her stories, she did just that.

Good To Know

When Goodnight Moon first appeared, the New York Public Library declined to buy it (an internal reviewer dismissed it as too sentimental). The book sold fairly well until 1953, when sales began to climb, perhaps because of word-of-mouth recommendations by parents. More than 4 million copies have now been sold. The New York Public Library finally placed its first order for the book in 1973.

If you look closely at the bookshelves illustrated in Goodnight Moon, you'll see that one of the little rabbit's books is The Runaway Bunny. One of three framed pictures on the walls shows a scene from the same book.

Brown's death was a stunning and sad surprise. The author had had an emergency appendectomy in France while on a book tour, which was successful; but when she did a can-can kick days later to demonstrate her good health to her doctor, it caused a fatal embolism.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Golden MacDonald, Juniper Sage, Timothy Hay
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 23, 1910
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, N.Y.
    1. Date of Death:
      November 13, 1952
    2. Place of Death:
      Nice, France

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