goodnight songs

“Baby sail the seven seas

Safely in my arms

When the waves go up and down

You are safe from harm.”

Goodnight Songs is a previously unpublished collection of works by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by twelve artists: Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger, Sophie Blackall, Linda Bleck, Renata Liwska, Christopher Silas Neal, Zachariah OHora, Eric Puybaret, Sean Qualls, Isabel Roxas, Melissa Sweet and Dan Yaccarino.  I'm so taken with the cover by @studioroxas.

Margaret Wise Brown’s works were arranged and performed by singers/songwriters Tom Proutt, Emily Gary and a group of musicians.  Amy Gary talked about the story behind Goodnight Songs in an interview on NPR.  “I was a young publisher and was looking for things that I could reprint of Margaret's. And I was looking through all of these old books at her sister's home. And her sister said oh yes, there's this wonderful manuscript she was working on, but I've got it in the trunk and her barn. She was living in Vermont at the time. I thought, oh my goodness…I wonder if any of these papers are actually still left.”

“And one of the illustrators set this so beautifully. He said, you know, her writing evokes more images than anyone else's writing can do. She was able to write in a way that really spoke to children and that's why the things she's written have remained in print for so many years.”

From “A Note from the Musicians” at the end of Goodnight Songs: “These unpublished words are so rich in imagery that they invite instrumentation and melodies.  Margaret Wise Brown often used simple, spare images that enable a listener to home in on little details—a bell, a bug, a buoy—with an almost meditative focus.  ‘The Mouse’s Prayer’ and ‘Sounds in the Night’ evoke stillness and quiet so effectively that readers may well imagine being able to hear the far away sounds mentioned in the poems.  But her words also invite us into a a surprising world of wildness, wandering, and risk taking, where monkeys throw coconuts at the sky and baboons and bears take an outlandish trip to the moon in a hot air balloon.”

Wooden camera and submarine teether by Little Sapling Toys.