Animals and Nature in the Work of Margaret Wise Brown

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Animals and Nature in the Work of Margaret Wise Brown

Read almost any book by Margaret Wise Brown, and you will start to see some overlapping trends. Readers know when they are reading a work by this famous author without seeing the cover or title page because her works have so many similarities. The use of multiple animals and nature frequently appear in her books and serve as common ideas in literature by Margaret Wise Brown.

Many of Margaret Wise Brown’s most famous books have animals as the main character. For example, Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon, two of her most popular books, feature rabbits as the main characters. Further, in Goodnight Moon, the animal’s behavior is parallel to that of humans. For example, the motherly figure on the rocking chair is reading to the young rabbit as many parents do to their children. Additionally, Brown adds a humorous element as the young rabbit seems to have pets.

Margaret Wise Brown was truly fascinated by animals, and she understood children’s attraction to animals. Tellingly, when Brown reflects on her childhood she mentions her “thirty-six rabbits, two squirrels…a collie dog, and two Peruvian hens, a Belgian hare, seven fish, and a wild robin who came back every spring” (Days Before Now). From this information about Brown, one understands where her love of animals originated--her childhood. Additionally, animals were kind to her and did not restrict or belittle Brown the way some individuals did regularly. Brown was allowed to have constant interaction with animals, which proved to be influential in her writing career. Overall, Margaret Wise Brown used numerous animals, especially rabbits because of her love for creatures and the understanding she possessed of children’s love of and interest with animals.

Another area of focus when creating her books is nature. As a child, nature became Brown’s life as she notes,

I grew up along the beaches and in the woods of Long Island Sound. This was the country. And from then on I was terribly busy hitching up all the dogs I could find to pull me around on my sled in the snow, and picking cherries high up in cherry trees, chasing butterflies, and burning leaves, and picking up shells on the beach, and watching the new flowers come up in the woods as the seasons passed (Days Before Now)

This passage gives readers an enhanced understanding of this talented author, as they see her passion for the wilderness during childhood.

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