In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown

In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown

For decades children and their parents around the world have cuddled together to read Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. While the lulling words of these stories have formed nighttime rituals for millions, few know that these classic works were part of a publishing revolution led by Margaret Wise Brown, who was renowned not only for her prolific writing and creative genius,...

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Title:In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown
Author:Amy Gary
Rating:
ISBN:1250065364
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:304 pages

In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown Reviews

  • Robin
    May 15, 2016

    One of my favorite reading experiences is when the topic of a memoir, autobiography, or biography is about someone totally unknown to me but who has led an interesting and adventurous life, and it’s especially enticing if the person is quirky and has had a wide variety of friendships with famous (and infamous) people . The Great Green Room totally filled the bill.

    When I started this this, I knew nothing about Margaret Wise Brown. I don’t remember my parents reading bedtime stories and since I n

    One of my favorite reading experiences is when the topic of a memoir, autobiography, or biography is about someone totally unknown to me but who has led an interesting and adventurous life, and it’s especially enticing if the person is quirky and has had a wide variety of friendships with famous (and infamous) people . The Great Green Room totally filled the bill.

    When I started this this, I knew nothing about Margaret Wise Brown. I don’t remember my parents reading bedtime stories and since I never had children in my life, the only experiences I had with Brown’s books were checking out countless copies of The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon at the Library’s circulation desk and trying to keep copies in stock when I spent 17 years as the bookmobile librarian. I remember children and parents asking for Goodnight Moon almost daily.

    What a fascinating (and at times melancholy) life she led. The author’s writing style was captivating and moving; my heart ached at the treatment Margaret received from her contemporaries and librarians (I think the NY Public Library librarians and others who rejected her books should be—or should have been--totally ashamed). I couldn’t stop reading about this extraordinary woman and wished she had received the attention and acclaim she deserved. And the tragic ending of her life and missed opportunity to finally be happy in a relationship brought me to tears, and it’s rare for me to weep while reading a biography.

    I recommend this as a good life story, even those (like me) who know nothing about Brown, and will also endorse this to all of the youth librarians I know. What I really like about this book is I can recommend it to just about anyone, especially parents and teens, and even older children who can understand some of the content. It would also be an inspiration to anyone wanting to become a writer.

    Thanks to Flatiron/Macmillan publishers for the advance copy.

  • Laura Harrison
    Jan 12, 2017

    I am immersed in children's literature on a daily basis. Knowledge of children's authors and illustrators is an important part of my job. I thought I knew a lot about Margaret Wise Brown. After reading In the Great Green Room I see I hadn't even cracked the surface. This may have been one of the most enjoyable and enlightening biographies I have ever read on a children's book creator. And I've read them all. You really get to know MWB as a person. In the Great Green Room is a fun, interesting re

    I am immersed in children's literature on a daily basis. Knowledge of children's authors and illustrators is an important part of my job. I thought I knew a lot about Margaret Wise Brown. After reading In the Great Green Room I see I hadn't even cracked the surface. This may have been one of the most enjoyable and enlightening biographies I have ever read on a children's book creator. And I've read them all. You really get to know MWB as a person. In the Great Green Room is a fun, interesting read chock full of wonderful photos of MWB I have never seen before. Even if you don't have an interest in children's literature-it is one spectacular non-fiction book.

  • Jill Pickle
    Jan 10, 2017

    Profoundly moving. It gave me a real sense of MWB as a woman and an author. I related to her on so many levels. I think it's especially important for people who work in children's book publishing to read this book because it gives a little insight into the ways publishing has changed in their relationships with authors. Contracts were just a handshake, editors would accept up to 4 (!!) manuscripts from Brown per year, and authors had some control over the printing processes they wished to see. T

    Profoundly moving. It gave me a real sense of MWB as a woman and an author. I related to her on so many levels. I think it's especially important for people who work in children's book publishing to read this book because it gives a little insight into the ways publishing has changed in their relationships with authors. Contracts were just a handshake, editors would accept up to 4 (!!) manuscripts from Brown per year, and authors had some control over the printing processes they wished to see. This time period was such a renaissance time period for children's book publishing, and Amy Gary captures what the energy was like.

    Although I deeply respect MWB's output while she was living, I wish the she got to know the recognition and fame she has now.

  • Hannah
    Dec 27, 2016

    Margaret Wise Brown left this earth far too soon, but in the little time she was here, she created a mind-blowing amount of children's books that captured, "with a sense of awe and wonder," the magic of childhood. Gary's pitch-perfect account of Brown's life is filled with her subject's whimsy and zest for life, and it reveals the many hurdles Brown faced in trying to go against the grain in her work life and love life. Chapter by chapter, Gary builds a loving portrait of a woman whose childlike

    Margaret Wise Brown left this earth far too soon, but in the little time she was here, she created a mind-blowing amount of children's books that captured, "with a sense of awe and wonder," the magic of childhood. Gary's pitch-perfect account of Brown's life is filled with her subject's whimsy and zest for life, and it reveals the many hurdles Brown faced in trying to go against the grain in her work life and love life. Chapter by chapter, Gary builds a loving portrait of a woman whose childlike view of the world lent her an extraordinary gift in writing for children and who battled turmoil within and without despite her playful, witty exterior. This book is proof of Margaret Wise Brown's "radiant living that was lived among us."

  • Eryn Shifflett
    Jan 07, 2017

    In the Great Green Room was the best non-fiction title that I have read in a very long time. I was intrigued by the book due to the fact that Goodnight Moon induces a sense of nostalgia within me. My mother would read this book to me night after night as a child. Although prior to reading In the Great Green Room I knew nothing of the author of Goodnight Moon, now I will never be able to forget the name Margaret Wise Brown. Margaret’s personality danced vivaciously across the pages and the convey

    In the Great Green Room was the best non-fiction title that I have read in a very long time. I was intrigued by the book due to the fact that Goodnight Moon induces a sense of nostalgia within me. My mother would read this book to me night after night as a child. Although prior to reading In the Great Green Room I knew nothing of the author of Goodnight Moon, now I will never be able to forget the name Margaret Wise Brown. Margaret’s personality danced vivaciously across the pages and the conveyance of her sense of adventure was palpable. The smooth flowing narrative allowed for an entertaining read that was not forced. Amy Gary was able to portray Margaret’s highs and lows in a way that is relatable to all readers. The extensiveness of Gary’s research provides for a fascinating and thorough description of a bold, valiant life, hard to contain in 300 pages. This life story is a great reminder that we all want to do great things and may doubt ourselves at times – but maybe, just maybe, we have already achieved the success that we are searching for.

  • KC
    Jan 19, 2017

    WOW! What a fascinating tale about the life of beloved children's writer, Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote Good Night Moon among others. Brown often hobnobbed in elite circles including the Carnegies and the Rockefellers. She was a bisexual woman and fell in love with the ex-wife of John Barrymore, a poet named Michael Strange. After her lover's traumatic death, Brown became involved with James Stillman Rockefeller Jr., 15 years her junior. This story is so moving, empowering, and reflective of he

    WOW! What a fascinating tale about the life of beloved children's writer, Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote Good Night Moon among others. Brown often hobnobbed in elite circles including the Carnegies and the Rockefellers. She was a bisexual woman and fell in love with the ex-wife of John Barrymore, a poet named Michael Strange. After her lover's traumatic death, Brown became involved with James Stillman Rockefeller Jr., 15 years her junior. This story is so moving, empowering, and reflective of her time and it should be transformed to the big screen. Unfortunately the writing was very subpar. I enjoyed the photos though.

  • SusanInSedalia
    Jan 15, 2017

    Margaret Wise Brown comes across as a captivating person which adds to my dismay about how this biography was written. Except for a one word exclamation by MWB and a single diary entry on the last page, there are no direct quotes by anyone. The book is straight narrative. This method seemed to keep its subject distant, at least from this reader. Also, no photos! I was so looking forward to reading this book. What a disappointment. Oh well, the title is brilliant.

  • Sassafras Lowrey
    Jan 27, 2017

    "A writer of songs and nonsense " is how Margaret Wise Brown beloved children's book author asked to be remembered. Her life was magical and tragic filled with dogs and astonishingly queer. This book was beautifully and thoughtfully written. It was educational and engaging - I'm so pleased to have read it. This feels like an important missing piece of queer and storybook history I'm so glad has been uncovered.

  • Wendy McClure
    Feb 01, 2017

    I enjoyed this enough to get past the slightly creepy narrative style that related a lot of MWB's intimate diary angst in the omniscient third person. Like I wouldn't have minded a direct quote once in a while instead of constant "Margaret secretly despaired that deep down blah blah blah" paraphrase. But I am pretty obsessed with reading about the children's literature scene in 1940s New York and the clever weirdos who populated it, and this delivered. A good portion of it is well-heeled literar

    I enjoyed this enough to get past the slightly creepy narrative style that related a lot of MWB's intimate diary angst in the omniscient third person. Like I wouldn't have minded a direct quote once in a while instead of constant "Margaret secretly despaired that deep down blah blah blah" paraphrase. But I am pretty obsessed with reading about the children's literature scene in 1940s New York and the clever weirdos who populated it, and this delivered. A good portion of it is well-heeled literary lifestyle porn, which is fine, I guess. I mean, I've read three or four books about this world now and from what I can tell, everyone was constantly stumbling across ramshackle old farmhouses and/or quaint coldwater flats and buying and/or renting them for a song and filling them with charming antiques (apparently MWB furnished one of her places with FURS) and that all sounds like fun. I wish the book had been a little more gossipy (I have the feeling MWB herself would have dished) and/or more lit-critical, though I'll probably check out the Leonard Marcus bio of Brown at some point for that reason. Overall this was fine; just not quite as chewy as I like them.

  • Toni
    Feb 16, 2017

    Author of every child's keepsake book, "Goodnight Moon," Margaret Wise Brown, is revealed and revered, in this new biography of her life, "In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown," by Amy Gary. I know I still have my children's copy of this beloved green board book, carefully saying goodnight to the moon, tucked away with other treasures from their childhood.

    Margaret was talented, adventurous, and lived life to the fullest, as best she could. The hundreds of m

    Author of every child's keepsake book, "Goodnight Moon," Margaret Wise Brown, is revealed and revered, in this new biography of her life, "In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown," by Amy Gary. I know I still have my children's copy of this beloved green board book, carefully saying goodnight to the moon, tucked away with other treasures from their childhood.

    Margaret was talented, adventurous, and lived life to the fullest, as best she could. The hundreds of manuscripts found in her sister, Roberta's attic, pack away in a big old trunk, are testament to her immense creativity. I so enjoyed this book about one of America's brightness authors, we lost at only 42, by an ill advised recuperation after an appendectomy in a French hospital. It took twenty years for the NY Public Library to accept Margaret's children's book. It went on to sell 48 million copies. I highly recommend this book.