A Child's Garden of Verses (Paperback)
A Child's Garden of Verses is the ideal field for the Grown-Up's harvester. It stands alone. There is nothing like it, so intimate, so simply truthful, in our language, in any language. Herein the poet (at last one may use the words "poet" and "poetry" with no reservations) has accomplished that most difficult of feats: he has recaptured in maturity the thoughts, ambitions, purposes, hopes, fears, philosophy of the child. It is our joy, as we listen, to recapture them too. "I also hunted behind the sofa back." The man of genius who can draw from his charmed reader a genuine "I also," is assured of a niche in the heart. The Child's Garden of Verses is one of those books which inspire the feeling - almost the passion-of gratitude. As we read our eyes are a little moist-with satisfaction; and now, when the words have the sympathetic alliance of Charles Robinson's pencil, more so than ever. (Never were author and artist in closer accord. It adds matter to our grief for Mr. Stevenson's early death that he could not see these winsome pictures, especially perhaps the last.) As we read, years fall away, wrinkles are smoothed out, the envious crow removes his foot, world-knowledge so bitterly acquired evanesces, and once again the man is a child at play, and a bird is singing in his heart as of old. In reading these verses, we can exclaim: We also. But this is a slight exaggeration. Only a very few readers could honestly say that, for the Stevenson child is a child of genius, removed from the ordinary child by a wide gulf. It is true that a philosopher has recorded his belief that every child has genius; but, even if that be so, there are degrees. It is given to few to possess the wisdom and imaginings of this little gardener. The difference between the child of genius and the ordinary child may be illustrated by quotation. The ordinary child, impelled to verse in the presence of a cow, remarks, "The friendly cow, all red and white, I love with all my heart; She gives me cream with all her might, To eat with apple tart." The poems themselves are so precious that we can never have too many new editions, whether the artists wholly succeed or not. Lastly, it is not likely that any one will ever illustrate Stevenson as sympathetically as did the Charles Robinson, and a great many have tried. The poems themselves are so precious that we can never have too many new editions, whether the artists wholly succeed or not. The illustrations in this edition wear the habiliments of Stevenson's boyhood. The grace of draftsmanship, for example, in "The Land of Counterpane," the atmospheric effect in "Looking Glass River," and "My Shadow" is rarely excelled in story-book pictures, the print of the child ensconced in the opening image of "Historical Associations," is a veritable triumph illustration.