My mother sent my son a book of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poetry for Christmas (he was three months old at the time). At first I wasn’t sure what to do with it: surely I don’t sit down and read him poetry before bed? That’s what picture books are for. But then I pulled it out and started reading some of the poems: Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems take me back to my child-like world of imagination.
When I was a young child, my friend and I had an imaginary world where we had all sorts of adventures. To enter our magical world, we walked around the large tree three times. We never knew what adventure awaited us then. Once, we were the size of spiders and got caught in their web. But we never knew the adventure until we walked around the tree.
I don’t remember when that ended, but at some point the tree no longer held that same magic.
I’m not familiar with Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. This book says it’s been “edited” so I’m not sure how extensive the editing has been from Stevenson’s original. But I love this collection of imaginative poems, presented with gorgeous illustrations. I take back my first thought: Of course I can sit down and read him poetry before bed! These are great poems for a child.
As I read these short poems, I find children exploring the world of their yards, children traveling in dreams, and children finding an adventure played out on their bedspread. I love the imagination involved in each child’s story. My favorite poems: The Land of Nod, The Land of Counterpane, Travel.
I think children still need such imagination. I hope to regularly revisit these poems with my son, and encourage such escapes as these. Hooray for childhood imagination!