Goodnight Songs: Illustrated by Twelve Award-Winning Picture Book Artists

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Overview

“Baby sail the seven seas
Safely in my arms
When the waves go up and down
You are safe from harm.”

From Margaret Wise Brown, author of the beloved Goodnight Moon, comes a previously unpublished collection of charming lullabies, gorgeously illustrated by 12 award-winning artists. The roster of celebrated names includes Carin Berger, whose The Little Yellow Leaf was a New York ...

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Overview

“Baby sail the seven seas
Safely in my arms
When the waves go up and down
You are safe from harm.”

From Margaret Wise Brown, author of the beloved Goodnight Moon, comes a previously unpublished collection of charming lullabies, gorgeously illustrated by 12 award-winning artists. The roster of celebrated names includes Carin Berger, whose The Little Yellow Leaf was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book; Eric Puybaret, who brought the bestselling Puff, the Magic Dragon to life on the page; Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Sean Qualls; and Caldecott Honor medalist Melissa Sweet. An accompanying CD, with lilting songs beautifully composed and sung by Emily Gary and Tom Proutt, makes this the perfect gift to wish children a sweet goodnight.
 
The illustrators are:
Jonathan Bean
• Carin Berger
• Sophie Blackall
• Linda Bleck
• Renata Liwska
• Christopher Silas Neal 
• Zachariah OHora
• Eric Puybaret
• Sean Qualls *  Isabel Roxas
• Melissa Sweet
• Dan Yaccarino 

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  • Goodnight Songs
    Goodnight Songs  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/03/2014
Twelve talented illustrators interpret gentle poems by the late Brown, all but three of which have never before been published. In an introduction, Amy Gary, editor of Brown's estate, describes finding hundreds of the writer's unpublished manuscripts 20 years ago, a "treasure of a lifetime" that contained (among many other works) the verse in this volume. In keeping with the "goodnight" theme, the poems tend to have the muted and contemplative tone of a lullaby, even when the subject isn't sleep. For "Song to Estyn," Eric Puybaret provides a gauzy image of a child in a sailor's outfit held snugly by his father on the deck of an ocean liner ("Baby, sail the seven seas/ Safely in my arms"); Linda Bleck strikes a more comedic note in her midcentury retro illustrations of wide-eyed forest creatures for "Goat on the Mountain." Animals figure into many of the poems, and Renata Liwska, Melissa Sweet, Zachariah OHora, and other contributors create strong connections to the text in their artwork. Musicians Tom Proutt and Emily Gary turn each poem into a song on an accompanying CD. A rewarding and visually wide-ranging collection. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“It's a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet. In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown's sister's barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown's handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children's record company. Brown's intent was to capture the spirit of a child's world in her songs as she had done with her stories . . . the simple rhymes have Brown's trademark charm . . . Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap) . . . children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children's literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery." —Kirkus Reviews  
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
PreS—This unique book was a long time in the making: more than 20 years ago, various unpublished works of the late, great author were discovered in her sister's barn, including many song lyrics. Presented here for the first time are 12 of Brown's lullabies, each one illustrated by a different award-winning picture-book artist. Each spread showcases the unique style of the illustrator and brings to life Brown's dulcet text. In "the noon balloon," Renata Liwska's dreamy pencil work is used to full effect as softly textured animals drift away for a midday snooze. Sean Qualls's fanciful and luminous nighttime sky perfectly accompanies the text: "When the man in the moon was a little boy…. He ran away with a shooting star." Carin Berger's collage scene for "When I Close My Eyes at Night" features 3D-like silhouettes of a sleeping village and billowing clouds that look like striped pajama pants. Nine other artists lend their talents, including Jonathan Bean, Sophie Blackall, Linda Bleck, Christopher Silas Neal, Zachariah Ohora, Eric Puybaret, Isabel Roxas, Melissa Sweet, and Dan Yaccarino. There is a timeless feel to many of Brown's lyrics ("Sleep like a rabbit, sleep like a bear./Sleep like the old cat under the chair"; "Baby, sail the seven seas/Safely in my arms. When the waves go up and down/You are safe from harm"), and children will respond to the gentle rhythms and soothing language. Accompanying the book is a CD with songs composed and sung by singer/songwriters Tom Proutt and Emily Gary. These tranquil poems are best shared one-on-one, preferably in the lap of a caring adult right before tuck-in time. Nothing but sweet dreams could possibly follow.[Ed. note: See p. 40 for a piece about this volume's intriguing backstory.]—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-22
It's a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet. In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown's sister's barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown's handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children's record company. Brown's intent was to capture the spirit of a child's world in her songs as she had done with her stories. As the opening to "The Secret Song" demonstrates, the simple rhymes have Brown's trademark charm: "Who saw the petals / Drop from the rose? / ‘I,' said the spider. / ‘But nobody knows.' / Who saw the sunset / Flash on a bird? / ‘I,' said the fish. / ‘But nobody heard.' " Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap), in a rather staid book design that does not rise to meet the buoyancy of the lyrics. Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children's literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781454904465
  • Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Pages: 28
  • Sales rank: 45,229
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Wise Brown is one of the most popular children's authors of all time; her classic Goodnight Moon (HarperFestival), illustrated by Clement Hurd, has sold more than twenty-four million copies and her books—including Big Red Barn (Harper Festival), The Runaway Bunny (HarperCollins), and The Golden Egg Book (Simon & Schuster)—have never been out of print. Several generations have grown up with her timeless stories and her influence has been felt around the world.

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

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    This book of wonderfully illustrated poems is top-shelf, indeed,

    This book of wonderfully illustrated poems is top-shelf, indeed, but I’m equally floored by the  CD of songs that accompanies it.  I’ve reviewed albums in the past, and I recall reviewing several children’s albums that were nominated for Grammys.  “Goodnight Songs” is far better than any of those.  Tom Proutt and Emily Gary have taken Margaret Wise Brown’s poems to new heights, turning them into songs imbued with warmth and a sense of wonder.  




    The refreshing thing here is that Proutt and Gary have made a thoroughly accessible children’s album that doesn’t talk down to its audience.  In fact, the songs are smart enough that they’ll appeal to adults as well.  How often can you say that about a children’s album?   That’s the beauty of this record: it’s not just for children, it’s for the whole family.  And it’s darn good.  




    Listen to “Sounds in the Night” and you’ll hear immediately what I’m talking about.  You’ll also probably recognize the Brian Wilson influence on the vocals and melody line.  But “Sounds in the Night” stands on its own--a lullaby with a subtly mysterious air about it.  Your kids probably won’t recognize the influence of REM on the chord progression of “LIttle Donkey Close Your Eyes,”  but you will, and you’ll appreciate the song even more because of it.  Or maybe it’s because of Andy Thacker, whose virtuoso mandolin-playing runs through the album.




    The key to the record’s effectiveness is the combination of Proutt’s deft musical instincts and Gary’s appropriately sweet and motherly vocals.  They handle this material flawlessly.  “Goodnight Songs” is intelligent, evocative stuff.  The music industry has dumbed down children’s music for several decades now, to the point that they’ve practically killed what once was a vital art form.  But “Goodnight Songs” revitalizes the genre and provides a direction for the future.  This is what children’s music can be.  And what it should be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Brilliant all-around project.  And the cd that accompanies it is

    Brilliant all-around project.  And the cd that accompanies it is absolutely captivating.  Children will adore it, and parents will quite like it as well.  

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