Reviews for Days Before Now
Horn Book Guide Reviews 1995
A picture-book text is adapted from Brown's entry in the 1951 edition of [cf2]The Junior Book of Authors[cf1] (Wilson). The prose is honed; selective details create time and setting; the pace suggests the inner rhythm so characteristic of Brown's work. Allen's pastel and charcoal illustrations evoke the aura of memories, and Blos's afterword adds interest and dimension to an unusual and welcome production. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1994 November #1
Adapted from an autobiographical entry Brown (1910-1953) wrote for a 1951 edition of the Junior Book of Authors, this poetic reminiscence is marked by the author's trademark simplicity and visual imagery. Brown (see also Four Fur Feet, reviewed above) strings together memories of her early years in Brooklyn and her family's move to Long Island, concluding with notes on her adult life. Though pleasantly lyrical, the placid, stream-of-consciousness quality of her recollections may render this a bit ethereal for some youngsters. Of her own career, she writes: ``I have written more than sixty books, and I wish I didn't have ever to sign my name on the cover of a book; I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely as true as Peter Rabbit and Snow White.'' A stunning book design sets the type against Allen's (In Coal Country) accomplished pastel and charcoal illustrations, which gracefully fill each spread. His effectively grainy art features hushed yet rich tones of gray, blue and brown, and neatly captures the period flavor. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 1995 March
K-Gr 4?Originally published as an autobiographical sketch in The Junior Book of Authors (Wilson, 1951), Brown's eloquent memoir, written with all the vibrant simplicity for which she is justly noted, has been gently molded by Blos into picture-book form. From its opening words (``This is to say/that I was born in a brick city/on a wide street of cobblestones''), the book is alive with the essence of all that matters in childhood?people, places, pets (``I had..two squirrels?one bit me and dropped dead''), sights, smells, and sounds. In its closing pages, the narrative mood changes from wide-eyed, childlike wonder to the fulfilled contentment of the mature writer?with, here and there, a wistful note (``...I wish I didn't have ever/to sign my long name/on the cover of a book''). From a scene of the little girl dwarfed by ``giant'' aunts to one of the pensive author alone at her desk, Allen's pastel-and-charcoal illustrations are well tuned to the rhythm and spirit of the text, conveying all the nostalgia of a sepia photograph and illuminating Brown's words as if softened by the haze of distant memory. A remarkable portrait of a revered and gifted writer.?Marcia Hupp, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY