Runaway Bunny

by Lois H. (they/them or she/her)

It doesn’t take much to get me spiraling down a WikiHole, on a Google frenzy, or placing holds on every book written by my current author of interest. When I’m interested in a topic, I want it all. And I want it now.

Like the time I listened to Queen’s entire discography in chronological order while reading along with the lyrics. Or when I listened to a podcast about the Black Dahlia and the Hodel family and fell down a two-week WikiHole from which I will never recover.

Recently, this obsession for information gathering led me to the life of Margaret Wise Brown.

Down the Rabbit Hole

I’ve always appreciated Brown’s work. As a child, I fondly remember reading Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny with my parents. As an adult, I shared Brown’s books with my niece and the children at my storytimes. My love for her picture books was mostly based on nostalgia.

Then, I read The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown by Mac Barnett.

In this juvenile biography, Mac Barnett composes the story of Brown’s life with frank precision. And although the title uses the singular “thing,” I learned many important things about her life, her work, and her legacy.

Like Brown, Barnett writes in clear, straightforward statements, never shying away from topics like her death, the censorship of her books, and her bisexuality.

Both authors share the belief that children deserve important books. Strange books that are full of wonder and don’t make sense. Books with stories that reflect what children see, think, and feel.

Barnett spearheaded a picture book proclamation signed by twenty-two authors and illustrators. I can’t help but think of the eery, dreamlike quality of Brown’s Goodnight Moon in one of their statements:

“Even books meant to put kids to sleep should give them strange dreams.”

The Important Thing

There isn’t really a proper ending to this blog post. It will end, but it won’t be an ending. I’m still reading through all of Brown’s books. I’m now starting to read all of Barnett’s books. There will always be another topic that inspires my enthusiastic interest.

The important thing, I think, is this: don’t forget to be curious. Open the secret door. Allow yourself to wonder.

Remember how you saw things as a child.

What topics have led you down the rabbit hole? Share your experience in the comments so I can find my next adventure!

Curious about the authors mentioned? Check out the books on this list:

Runaway Bunny

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