Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, would have turned 99 years old on May 23rd had she not can-can kicked a blood clot loose in her leg -- which quickly made its way to her heart -- killing her instantly.


An eccentric through and through, Brown split her time between, what she called, The Only House on an island off the coast of Maine and Cobble Court, a tiny four room house wedged between the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Cobble Court was eventually moved from Midtown to Greenwich Village where it can still be seen today. A lover of both men and women, Brown died childless, but left most of her estate to her 9 year old neighbor, Albert Clarke. Now over 65, Clarke has reportedly earned nearly $5 million in royalties, been in and out of jail, and has squandered most of that money on bad real estate ventures.



One of Brown's quirkier moves -- aside from that can-can kick -- was her insistence on the Little Fur Family being covered in actual rabbit fur. The first print run ran 50,000 copies, which conservatively cost the lives of 15,000 actual fur family members. Most of the first edition was destroyed by a moth infestation in Harper Collins' warehouse, which makes the intact book extremely valuable with copies now selling at upwards of $2000.00.


A facsimile of the First Edition can be had for $8.99 although you'll have to settle for faux fur...






Wondering what one of your books is worth? Feel free to PM me through My Profile Page.

Message Edited by PaulH on 05-27-2009 03:11 PM
0 Kudos
by Moderator Melissa_W on ‎05-27-2009 03:14 PM

Creepy.  And we thought she liked bunnies a lot....

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-27-2009 03:58 PM

I have so many old books but most are well-loved and not particularly valuable.  One of my own childhood favorites is the Tall Book of Make Believe, which I dearly wish they would reissue. Here's a picture of it on Flickr:


This was one of my favorite books when I was little, and it shows it.  My copy is torn and colored in, but if it was in good condition it would go for over $100:


Bannon, Laura (Author & Illus). THE LITTLE SISTER DOLL. Chicago: Whitman, (1955). 1st. 8vo, 32p. Cloth backed pictorial boards. Ann has a doll with a dress to match her own and a faithful Scottie dog who guards the doll. 

by Blogger Ellen_Scordato on ‎05-27-2009 04:03 PM

Many friends work for her publisher. I'll have to ask them why none of this made it into the bio on the flap. . . . She was an heiress to a Brooklyn manufacturing fortune, i believe?


but 15,000 dead rabbits. Brrr.

by on ‎05-27-2009 04:16 PM
Her father was a VP of Brooklyn manufacturing company, Ellen, but I believe her fortune -- which wasn't much of one when she died -- was self-made. That fortune grew with the popularity of "Goodnight Moon" and the rest is history. Weird history at that...
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-27-2009 04:55 PM
It's funny, I don't remember Goodnight, Moon at all from my own childhood, but we read it to our children all the time.
About Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog
Unabashedly Bookish features new articles every day from the Book Clubs staff, guest authors, and friends on hot topics in the world of books, language, writing, and publishing. From trends in the publishing business to updates on genre fiction fan communities, from fun lessons on grammar to reflections on literature in our personal lives, this blog is the best source for your daily dose of all things bookish.