The Little Islandby Margaret Wise Brown, Leonard Weisgard
Once there was a little island in the ocean. That little island changes as the seasons come and go. The storm and the day and night change it. So do the lobsters and seals and gulls that stop by. Then one day a kitten visits the little island and learns a secret that every child will enjoy.
Susan Schott Karr
Meet the Author
Margaret Wise Brown, who also wrote under the pseudonym of Golden MacDonald, published more than 100 books for children.
Leonard Weisgard illustrated more than 100 children’s books.
- Date of Birth:
- May 23, 1910
- Date of Death:
- November 13, 1952
- Place of Birth:
- Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Place of Death:
- Nice, France
- B.A., Hollins College, 1932; Bank Street College of Education
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I love to read this book to kids. I love the cat and his attitude about the world and himself. I love to relate that to how we are all conected. I tell the kids you may be separated by an ocean from 'insert Country name' but we are conected because of how the sea floor conects us all. I also love to highlight the seasons. All the kids love the white seal. They are fasinated by that picture regardless of age. I read this book to kids from 5 to 11.
This is a story of an island that sees the seasons come and go and with different kinds of animals with each new coming season. Then a kitten visits the island and talks to the little island about what each one is in the big world. In order to find out the answer the kitten talks to a fish about the island. After believing the fish the cat leaves the island and the seasons start over once again. The reading level for this book is between the ages of four to eight years old. MacDonald, Golden. The Little Island. New York: Dell Dragonfly Books, 2001.
The illustrations depicting seasonal changes and the poetic wording are so beautiful in this book. Good Night Moon was one I read to my infants and toddlers. My 5 year old loved this book. My favorite line has to do with the fish telling the kitten to have faith. My children are learning about this in religion class and the book helps reinforce this.
You may not recognize the author's name. But do you know that Golden MacDonald was a pen name for Margaret Wise Brown of Goodnight Moon fame? The text of this book captures the subtle rhythms of her appreciation for nature, and the connections that all beings and objects in nature have with one another. The book also won a Caldecott Medal for its shimmering and tingling watercolors. The images create a mood of the perpetual essence of nature, and our connections to one another through the blue-green and grey palettes used. Children's books often contain more themes and important messages than 400 page novels. The Little Island is one of the great masterpieces in achieving that remarkable accomplishment. The book covers the four seasons as they affect the little island and the plants and animals that visit the island. To show the on-going nature of the process, the book's time line expands beyond a single year. The island is described as being: 'A part of the world and a world of its own all surrounded by the bright blue sea.' On the island, you will connect with birds, tides, clouds, fish, fogs, spiders, flowers, lobsters, seals, kingfishers, gulls, wild strawberries, butterflies, herring, mackerel, seaweed, pears, a black crow, a little kitten on a boat, trees, bushes, rocks, moths, an owl, a storm, snow, the sun, wind, and rain. The connection to Donne is made in the context of the kitten visitor to the island. 'May be I am an island too . . . a little fur Island in the air.' The connections run in all directions. The kitten learns from the island that the island is connected to all of the other land. When the kitten doubts the island about this point, the island suggests asking a fish. The kitten gets the answer there, but cannot get firm proof. He just has to take the fish's word for it. This is an obvious allusion to the element of faith in our understanding of the spiritual nature of our connections to one another. Having the kitten fish is also an allusion to the famous Biblical reference of teaching a man to fish, rather than providing him with fish. The book uses other connections to make the point. Many animals need the little island to go through their annual cycle, such as the seals who raise their young on the island. Many of the insects and birds come from the mainland across the sea. The weather affects the sea, the island, and the mainland alike . . . as do the tides. Some of the illustrations are so beautiful that you will want to carry them with you always. My favorite was of the kingfishers. The story will be strengthened by what you choose to share with you child as you read the book out loud. There are opportunities here to share scientific facts, spiritual connections, and to explain the mutual dependency that occurs in nature. I suspect that many people's lives have been enriched by the warm connections this book makes. Shouldn't your children and grandchildren have the same opportunity? See the forest and the trees! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution