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

by Amy Gary

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1053183,172 (3.42)7
Captures the exceptional life, imagination, and passion of the author of "Goodnight Moon," drawing on unpublished manuscripts, songs, personal letters, and diaries that the author discovered in the attic of Margaret Wise Brown's sister."The extraordinary life of the woman behind the beloved children's classics Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny comes alive in this fascinating biography of Margaret Wise Brown. Margaret's books have sold millions of copies all over the world, but few people know that she was at the center of a children's book publishing revolution. Her whimsy and imagination fueled a steady stream of stories, songs, and poems, and she was renowned for her prolific writing and business savvy, as well as her stunning beauty and endless thirst for adventure. Margaret started her writing career by helping to shape the curriculum for the Bank Street School for Children, making it her mission to create stories that would rise above traditional fairy tales and allowed girls to see themselves as equals to boys. At the same time, she also experimented endlessly with her own writing. Margaret would spend days researching subjects, picking daisies, gazing at clouds, and observing nature, all in an effort to precisely capture a child's sense of awe and wonder as he or she discovered the world. Clever, quirky, and incredibly talented, Margaret embraced life with passion, lived extravagantly off of her royalties, went on rabbit hunts, and carried on long and troubled love affairs with both men and women. Among them were the two great loves in Margaret's life, one of whom was a gender-bending poet and ex-wife of John Barrymore. She went by the stage name of Michael Strange, and she and Margaret had a tempestuous yet secret relationship. At one point they lived next door to each other so that they could be together. After the dissolution of their relationship and Michael's death, Margaret became engaged to a younger man who also happened to be the son of a Rockefeller and a Carnegie. But before they could marry Margaret died unexpectedly at the age of forty-two, leaving behind a cache of unpublished work and a timeless collection of books that would go on to become classics in children 's literature. Author Amy Gary captures the eccentric and exceptional life of Margaret Wise Brown and, drawing on newly discovered personal letters and diaries, reveals an intimate portrait of a creative genius whose unrivaled talent breathed new life into the literary world."--Dust jacket.… (more)

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Margaret Wise Brown was an extraordinary woman who was ahead of her time. (And, possibly, ours.)

The quality of prose in this book was somewhat lacking. It felt repetitive, simplistic in syntax, and lacked the magic of Brown's excerpted poems. ( )
  charlyk | Nov 15, 2019 |
Just couldn't make myself care enough to finish it.
  liz.mabry | May 13, 2019 |
Showing 2 of 2
But Gary only manages to render her in shades of taupe. Her sentences are strictly utilitarian. (“Margaret and Gratz had seen little of each other over the past few years, and they enjoyed the time together.”) Her early pages are teeming with dead-end digressions. They’re also packed with descriptions of décor and menus — the plastic-foam peanuts authors sometimes toss into a story to give it volume, without realizing that they’re adding no weight.

Far more baffling — criminal, actually — is that Brown’s voice is absent, entirely, from “In the Great Green Room” until the final page.
 
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with gratitude for a life of love and laughter
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On a crisp, cold morning in January of 1950, a crowd of almost seventy people, clad in tweeds and corduroys, knee-high boots, and warm jackets, gathered at the stables of the large estate on the north shore of Long Island waiting for the call from the hunt master.
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