The Fathers Are Coming Home

( 1 )

Overview

“It is nighttime and the fathers are coming home.”

So begins this lyrical tribute to all the fathers everywhere who come home to their children—from the rabbit father who hops home to his little bunnies, to the dog father who comes home to his puppies. A never-before published work from one of children’s literature’s greatest writers and masterfully illustrated by a New York Times bestselling artist, this poignant story concludes with a young boy whose father is a sailor coming ...

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Overview

“It is nighttime and the fathers are coming home.”

So begins this lyrical tribute to all the fathers everywhere who come home to their children—from the rabbit father who hops home to his little bunnies, to the dog father who comes home to his puppies. A never-before published work from one of children’s literature’s greatest writers and masterfully illustrated by a New York Times bestselling artist, this poignant story concludes with a young boy whose father is a sailor coming home from the sea to his son.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brown's simple text and Savage's superb linocuts combine to reassure youngest readers of their fathers' love. Each page focuses on a different creature—“The fish father swims home to his little fish that live in the gurgling brook.” The illustrations convey emotion through deft line work and subtle changes in color and texture. Savage's joyful cover is duplicated on the satisfying last page when a boy's father “comes home from the sea. Home to his little boy.” Ages 2-5. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS—Linocut illustrations in soft, appealing colors depict fathers returning home to their children at day's end. Animals, including a rabbit, ladybug, dog, and bird, are reunited with their offspring in their homes in a hollow tree, under a log, in a birdhouse. One child is also reunited with his sailor father returning from the sea. Mothers are never shown or mentioned. Though the bug flies, the rabbit hops, and the fish swims, there's no movement in the static pictures. Each shows the dad on one page, with one or two sentences of minimal text, facing his youngster on the other. There's not much child appeal here, but the book may reassure some children that their fathers will return home.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
The author of Goodnight Moon has, justifiably, been apotheosized into the pantheon of children's literature's greats. But the seemingly inexhaustible writer left behind a huge quantity of unpublished material-and the sad truth is that not everything she wrote meets her high standards, and this is one example. Spread by spread, animal fathers make their way home to their little ones, concluding with a sailor coming home to his little boy. With the exception of the lion father, "who lives alone, so he comes home to himself," there is little of Brown's signature understated wit or musicality. Savage's illustrations-glowing, blocky linocuts, which evoke in line, shape and color the classic work of Esphyr Slobodkina-do their best, but they cannot lift this barely middling text to greatness. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689833458
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 613,898
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Wise Brown's contribution to children's literature is legendary. Her many popular titles include Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny and The Little Fur Family and she was one of the best-selling children's writers 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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Great Children's Book!

    I am in my last year of undergraduate studies to become a teacher of children age 3-grade 3. In classrooms, it is important to have books representing different types of families. This book will relate to those children that have a family member that is deployed.

    Children who have family deployed in the armed forces can easily relate to this book and in many times will find comfort as they read it. The book begins by sharing different father animals that come home to their babies at night. At the end, it shows a father that is a sailor coming home to his son.

    It is a very simple read, so a child will be able to read it with time. It also follows a pattern that the child can catch on to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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