The Furry Side of Margaret Wise Brown
In 1947 Margaret Wise Brown published Good Night Moon. The book would redefine the bedtime story and find a place on the bookshelves of millions of infants and kids around the world. By 1990 over 4 million copies had been sold. It has been lauded as one of the better illustrated and designed books of its time.
The year before Harper & Brothers published her book Little Fur Family, a tale of a little fur child’s day in the woods.
Unlike the well executed design of Goodnight Moon, the Little Fur Family didn’t fare so well. The original 1946 edition featured a book entirely wrapped in real rabbit fur. The book was laid in an illustrated die-cut box that allowed for the fur to protrude and be felt.
It is believed that upwards of 15,000 rabbits were killed and skinned to provide enough fur for the 50,000 copy first printing. Contrary to the publisher’s expectations the real fur cover did not go over so well with the public forcing the publisher to issue later editions with artificial fur or no fur at all.