When I was 5 my mom bought me a little golden book called Mister Dog the dog who belonged to himself by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams. I know she bought it for me and not my sister – because I wrote my name in it.
I must have really liked it, because I’ve kept it for over 60 years. Fast forward to 1985 and the birth of our daughter. I started buying her books at thrift stores and yard sales – many of them by Margaret Wise Brown. I like the way MWB wrote for children, she used words that sound interesting, make sounds, tell a story without talking down to a child.
Phil, my DH is and has been a book collector for going of 50 years. He likes to read. Everything. Nothing is out of bounds. Our family outings were nearly always bookended ( like that pun?) by buying books at thrift stores , yard sales, antique stores, flea markets or estate sales. Because I was along for the hunt – I started collecting children’s books, originally to read to our daughter, then it morphed into books I wanted for the illustrations or because I liked the author. Eventually I narrowed it down to Margaret Wise Brown and a few of her illustrators; Leonard Weisgard, Garth Williams, Clement Hurd, Dorothy Wagstaff Ripley and Rojo.
I’ve made some wonderful friends though collecting MWB’s books. I’ve made lifelong connections and had great conversations with collectors, authors, biographers, illustrators, friends of Margarets, librarians, the Hollis Library ( where MWB’s papers are held), a documentarian and even people I firmly disagree with. I’ve even been considered and expert – I have no idea how that happened – Anyone can read (neary) all of her books and have an opinion.
It has been a joyful ride and I still haven’t given up on reading O’ said the Squirrel – It’s the only one I haven’t read. I’ll let you know when I do.