Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
In the Great Green Room

In the Great Green Room

The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown

Amy Gary

Flatiron Books

In the Great Green Room READ AN EXCERPT →



For decades children and their parents around the world have cuddled together to read Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. While the lulling words of these stories have formed nighttime rituals for millions, few know that these classic works were part of a publishing revolution led by Margaret Wise Brown, who was renowned not only for her prolific writing and creative genius, but also for her stunning beauty and thirst for adventure.

In 1990, author Amy Gary discovered unpublished manuscripts, songs, personal letters, and diaries from Margaret tucked away in a trunk in the attic of Margaret’s sister’s barn. Since then, Gary has pored over these works and with this unique insight in to Margaret’s world she chronicles her rise in the literary world. Clever, quirky, and wildly imaginative, Margaret embraced life with passion, threw wild parties, attended rabbit hunts, and lived extravagantly off of her royalties. She carried on long and troubled love affairs with both men and women, including the ex-wife of John Barrymore, and was engaged to a younger man (who was the son of a Carnegie and a Rockefeller) when she died unexpectedly at the age of 42.

In the Great Green Room captures the exceptional spirit of Margaret whose unrivaled talent breathed new life in to the literary world.





Once upon a summertime

A bug was crawling on a vine

A butterfly lit on a daisy

While a little bee



Praise for In the Great Green Room

"Measured, wise, and thrilling in its clarity, Amy Gary's In the Great Green Room animates for readers an extraordinary life devoted to satisfying every curiosity and deepening every meaning. Not content with the cosmos as she found them, Margaret Wise Brown renamed the stars until she knew them on her terms. In her generous books, she gave this magical power of recreation to generations of children and their parents. Now, Amy Gary has extended this same gift to Brown." —Tracey Daugherty, author of The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion

"What a fascinating (and at times melancholy) life.... The author's writing style was captivating and moving...I couldn't stop reading about this extraordinary woman and wished she had received the attention and acclaim she deserved. And a tragic ending of her life and a missed opportunity to finally be happy in a relationship brought me to tears.... [This book] would be an inspiration to anyone wanting to become a writer." —Robin Beerbower,

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Amy Gary

AMY GARY has cataloged, edited, and researched all of Margaret’s writings for the last twenty-five years. Amy has been covered in Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, and The Wall Street Journal. She was formerly the Director of Publishing at Lucasfilm and headed the publishing department at Pixar Animation studios.

Amy Gary

Michele Gay Photography

Amy Gary

Margaret Wise Brown website