A Story about Margaret Wise Brown
When Halley’s comet arrived in 1910, so did an extraordinary person: Margaret Wise Brown. Margaret had a boundless imagination and a gift for spinning stories. Most grown-ups thought children’s books were frivolous and silly, but Margaret didn’t agree. Could writing stories for children be important work—a incredible way to share truth, beauty, and wonder?
Other people might call Margaret strange, and sometimes her own worries and doubts felt overwhelming. But only Margaret and her original ideas could lead to Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and other classics beloved by children around the world.
From smuggling rabbits onto trains, to scribbling stories about island whispers, Margaret embraced adventure in life and on the page. This whimsically illustrated biography shares how an independent, fun-loving woman became a trailblazing pioneer of the picture-book form.
On May 23, 1910, a baby girl was born in Brooklyn, New York. That same day, a comet streaked silver across the sky. Halley’s comet arrived only every seventy-five years or so.
The girl, named Margaret Wise Brown, slept as the star-flecked tail arced overhead like a fireworks show.
When Margaret was five, her family moved to a house on Long Island. Margaret hitched the neighbors’ dogs to her sled and raced over the snow.
“Only Margaret would think of that,” her family said.
Under hazy stars, Margaret spun stories on the sleeping porch. When she read fairy tales to her sister, she changed the words—sometimes scarier, sometimes more magical—like a genie spiraling from Aladdin’s lamp.
At college in Virginia, Margaret once carried a rabbit in a basket onto a train.
Another time she hired a taxi to drive her to Poughkeepsie, New York. Six hundred miles in a cab!
“Only Margaret would do that,” her classmates said.