Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017: Maximum Shelf: Good Day, Good Night


HarperCollins: Explore the World of Margaret Wise Brown

HarperCollins: Good Day, Good Night by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Loren Long

HarperCollins: Good Day, Good Night by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Loren Long

HarperCollins: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

Good Day, Good Night

by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Loren Long

The collaboration of Margaret Wise Brown's never-before-published text and Loren Long's (Nightsong, Of Thee I Sing) illustrations begins with a double-page spread featuring a familiar-looking bunny watching the sun rise. "When the sun came up the day began./ Who saw the first light of the sun?/ 'I,' said a bunny, 'the only one.'" Atop his hobbit-hole-like burrow, the bunny, in his red-and-white striped shirt and little blue shorts, leans toward the rising sun, the first colors of dawn creeping in around the edges of the illustration.

"Good morning, world!
Hello, daylight
Good day, everyone
Good-bye, night"

Long's rich illustrations show the rabbit neighborhood waking up: one bunny delivers rolled-up copies of the newspaper, the Daily Warren; our red-and-white-clad bunny picks wildflowers bigger than himself; the Harey Dairy milkman makes the rounds; the proprietor of the Bonbunnyrie pastry shop sweeps the area in front of the store.

With every turn of the page, the morning progresses and the sky behind the animals lightens. Leaving the rabbit warren briefly, the reader says hello to a mother bird bringing breakfast to three peeping baby birds and "good day" to bees buzzing out of their hives.

"Good morning to you!
Open your eyes
For every day
Is a new surprise
Go live your day!"

Now full day, the rabbit town bustles with activity: bunnies on bikes and mopeds zip around the streets, young bunnies play soccer and there's even a tired-looking jogger heading up a hill.

Then, as night starts to fall, the background begins to darken. "When the moon came up the night began," and our red-and-white-clad bunny can be seen once again sitting atop the burrow, gazing at the sky, accompanied by his kitten. The next few spreads show the birds and ladybugs bedding down and the adult rabbits returning from work; our bunny is now dressed in his pajamas, getting cozy in a very familiar-looking room. A teddy bear sits on the yellow-and-green rocking chair, the fire blazes in the fireplace and the night peeks through the red windows. On the side table, next to the green bed with the green-and-yellow bedspread, a number of children's books can be seen, including another classic Harper title, The Carrot Seed.

Good Day, Good Night has much for a young reader to discover: mushrooms and flowers are the same size as the bunny inhabitants, two holes are punched in every vehicle roof for the bunny ears, and there are a ton of rabbit puns. There are also plenty of nods to Brown's original Goodnight, Moon. The trim size of the two books is the same, the bunny's room is illustrated in the same color palette as the classic and on one page, a very sleepy bee parent can be seen inside the hive, reading Goodnight, Moon to a very awake young bee.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Goodnight, Moon, which has sold 32 million copies in various formats worldwide. Good Day, Good Night is being published not as a sequel, but as a companion to this beloved children's book. While Goodnight, Moon is perfectly designed to lull a child to sleep, Good Day, Good Night allows children to wake up with the same things they go to bed with--it is a "good morning" story as much as it is a "goodnight" story.

Loren Long, a New York Times bestselling picture book author, began his career illustrating greeting cards. Since then, he has written and illustrated his own series of picture books (Otis) and illustrated works for many authors, including President Barack Obama, Madonna and, now, children's literature great Margaret Wise Brown. His colorful acrylic illustrations bring vibrant life to Brown's book with bold, bright colors, vast landscapes that narrow down to bustling animal cities and sweetly rendered animal characters.

Long's illustrations also add their own stories to the text, enhancing and expanding Brown's work. The story itself begins on the endpapers--before a single word appears--with the tiniest hint of sunrise coloring the sky above rolling green hills (the same goes for the book's end: a darkened, night sky over those same hills). And, just as the rhyme and rhythm of the text bring about a feeling of comfort due to their similarity to Goodnight, Moon, the illustrations work to give the reader an immediate familiarity with this title. Long's attention to detail and use of the same color palette as Clement Hurd's result in illustrations that will remind the reader of the original book but make the work solely his.

From the title page, featuring our bunny waking up to the first light of day, to the final spread with our bunny cozily tucked into bed, Good Day, Good Night welcomes the reader into the world of the "great green room" and imaginatively expands it into a great big world. --Siân Gaetano

HarperCollins, $18.99, hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780062383105

HarperCollins: The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd


Loren Long: Good Day, Loren

Loren Long is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books Otis, Otis and the Tornado, Otis and the Puppy, An Otis Christmas and Otis and the Scarecrow. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of President Barack Obama's picture book Of Thee I Sing, the re-illustrated edition of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper and Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna. Long's Little Tree is a picture book for all ages. Good Day, Good Night, a never-before-seen Margaret Wise Brown text, will be published with Long's illustrations on October 3, 2017 (Harper).

How did you get involved with this project?

In terms of the nuts and bolts, Nancy Inteli from HarperCollins called me and offered me the opportunity. I was instantly interested because of my personal connection with Margaret Wise Brown. Well, not her the person, but with Goodnight, Moon. When I was a young father reading picture books to my children, I was also a young illustrator trying to figure out how to make a living. I was not yet in children's publishing--I was working for magazines and in the editorial markets, doing greeting cards, never really thinking I was going to be a picture book illustrator or author. But I remember not understanding what was so amazing about Moon until I read it to my sons for about the 100th time. The pattern, rhythm, rhyme and poem were amazing, crafted to connect the child to the real world. The reading of this book allowed a special connection with my child and there is such love that comes from that experience. I always tell this to young parents (or anyone who will listen): yes, you're giving your child the gift of creativity and development, but you're also giving them yourself. Forget about all the great literature that Brown gave the world--she gave a lot of that. She bottled up that for a lot of parents and families and teachers and librarians and caregivers. And that's what picture books should do.

As a young father, I felt very strongly connected to Moon. That connection will never leave me and I believe it will never leave my sons.

Good Day, Good Night immediately intrigued me because it had never been published. From what I understand, that story was almost like a movie: the text was found by the estate's editor in a trunk in Brown's sister Roberta's barn attic something like 60 or 70 years after Brown's death. There were some notes that suggest Brown intended Day to be a companion book to Moon. And she loved this idea that, while children would go to bed with Moon, they could wake up and go to bed with Day. I just loved that. We don't want to limit Day to a bedtime story but it has all the makings of a great nighttime read, with that very simple classic feel: "When the sun came up, the day began. Who saw the first light of the sun? 'I' said, a bunny. 'The only one.' "

What was it like to illustrate something that works as a companion to a classic like Goodnight, Moon?

I was a little nervous about that. But that's where you bring in collaboration. Nancy and I discussed that very early on. Here we have this famous book and we are suggesting that Day might stand next to it on a bookshelf. But my work doesn't look like Clement Hurd's, so we decided that we weren't going to try to mimic his style. That would be foolish. We decided that I would illustrate this the best way I knew how, and we have some tributes to Night scattered throughout the book. We also made it the same trim size as the original.

What are some of the creative nods to Night?

Specifically, I was always struck with the color palette. Everybody is struck with the color palette! Why in the world this green room? Somewhat idiosyncratic color schemes. I used the green-and-yellow bedspread in my book to give a nod and a little love to Night. Two windows on either side of a fireplace; a really deep red carpet; on the bookshelf of the little bunny, I have The Carrot Seed (another Harper classic), and The Cow Jumping over the Moon is on the nightstand. And also, in one of the little beehives a really tired mother bee is reading Night to a really awake child bee.

What does your creative process look like when trying to bring a text to life through illustration?

You have to love the text enough to own it, because you will own it. It's not just that you have to spend time with it--that book becomes your book. And that's really a proud moment. It's exciting. Before you start sketching, that's when the book could be the best book you've ever created. Or the worst....

For me, this was kind of a hard text. I started with a little bit of baggage because this is Margaret Wise Brown. I asked myself, "Where does this take place? It talks about a bunny but is that a real bunny?" After asking those questions, I made the choice to break new ground in children's literature and feature a bunny. I thought, "I am going to be brave! I am going to do something that will rock the industry! I'm going to make a bunny book." And I did.

But then it's just starting to sketch. Those little thumbnail sketches feel like they can make or break how successful a book becomes.

What has been your favorite part of working with this book?

I've not yet read it to an audience as a final piece. What I really appreciate is having the chance to bring such a noted, beloved author's work to life. We created a book that we are proud of, and I believe Brown would be proud of it, too. I believe that, above all else, what we've done is put something very pure and noble and good into this crazy world. And that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. --Siân Gaetano


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