If you were marooned on a deserted island with a toddler, what one book would you want?It's a good bet many parents would choose Margaret Wise Brown's classic bedtime story, Goodnight Moon, illustrated by Clement Hurd. Goodnight Moon has sold more than five million copies since its publication in 1947.
In the last several years, a number of new books by Margaret Wise Brown have appeared like forgotten presents discovered under the Christmas tree. These are all the more welcome because Brown died unexpectedly in 1952, at the age of 42. Now, some out-of-print books are being reissued while new ones are being released for the first time, after the discovery of some unpublished Brown manuscripts in 1991.
The cover of The Good Little Bad Little Pig has the look of a book that's been lovingly passed down from generation to generation. That's because Dan Yaccarino, creator of the animated television series Oswald, has chosen a decidedly retro, '50s style for his illustrations. One day Peter, the boy in the story, asks his mother if he can have a pig. You want a dirty little bad little pig? she replies.
No, said Peter. I want a clean little pig. And I don't want a bad little pig. I want a good little bad little pig. So they send a letter to a farmer with their request. The farmer goes out and sees three little pigs asleep, plus a fourth one who is jumping up and down. Guess which one he sends to Peter?When Peter's new pig arrives, the cuddly critter embarks on a series of adventures in which he does some good things (like eating everything on his plate) and some bad things (like making a mess while eating everything on his plate).
By the end of the story, Peter knows he has gotten just what he wanted a good little bad little pig. And it's a sure bet that members of the toddler and pre-school set, who often have days where no matter what they do everything seems to be wrong, will find comfort in the picture of Peter and his pig embracing at the end. For, as Margaret Wise Brown wrote, Sometimes the little pig was good and sometimes he was bad, but he was the very best pig any boy ever had.