100 Best Books for Children ~ Stevenson

Now we need to diverge a bit from our original list, which lists “Eliot’s Poetry for Children” as the next entry. This may refer to Charles Eliot, former president of Harvard and known for the Harvard Classics series. We were able to locate a Poetry for Childhood and Youth from the mid-1800s but it was published anonymously. We are saved from this sticky wicket by using a later edition of The Book-lover which replaced Poetry for Children with Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, number 65 on The Hundred Best Books for Children list.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) was a Scottish author and essayist. His father was an engineer in the Scotch lighthouse service and wished his son to be an engineer. Stevenson switched to a study of law before settling down as a writer. His most famous works include Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But his A Child’s Garden of Verses usually marks the homeschool student’s introduction to the author, described as “robust, courageous, and cheerful of spirit”:

Nagged by tuberculosis and exiled by this disease to the South Pacific, Stevenson came to an early death on the island of Samoa, but he left mankind a generous legacy.

There is hardly a young person in the English-speaking world who reads at all who has not been thrilled by Treasure Island, Kidnapped and the Black Arrow. The grace and tenderness of A Child’s Garden of Verses is known to millions of homes….

Stevenson was a master of the short story, writing with an air of high romance and a fine, easy-flowing style. His health was broken by disease and often he had money worries, but his writings continued to carry a message of good cheer.

“Great Stories and Great Story-Tellers,” The Book of Knowledge

A Child’s Garden of Verses has been reprinted countless times over the years since it was first published in 1885. The 64 poems in the book include favorites such as:

  • “Where Go the Boats.”
  • “Pirate Story.”
  • “The Land of Counterpane.”
  • “My Shadow.”
  • “Happy Thought.”
  • “The Wind.”
  • “The Lamplighter.”
  • “The Swing.”
  • “The Land of Story-Books.”

We have covered A Child’s Garden of Verses as part of 4 Ways to Incorporate Poetry. But the book is a classic worthy of simply enjoying as a read-aloud for the entire family!

Free eBook
A Child’s Garden of Verses {Free eBook}

A Child’s Garden of Verses ~ Free eBook
There are many versions with various illustrators. This list on the page above includes personal favorites.

Other options:

  • As mentioned above, just read and enjoy the book!
  • We kept these readings short, a poem a day, so that poetry did not become overwhelming.
  • If you are using the book in a more structured learning setting, have your child choose a favorite (or two) poem to memorize. Here is our suggested method.
  • Copy a favorite poem and illustrate it on Drawing and Writing Paper.
  • A Child’s Garden of Verses is a favorite with adults as well as children. You can use this book with your older children by incorporating ideas from our 14 Forms of Writing for the Older Student: Poetry.
  • Create an author page for Robert Louis Stevenson (along with the other authors in our series).

Additional Resources

“The Wind” by Robert Louis Stevenson
Poetry study from our Online Poetry Anthology.

“Pirate Story” by Robert Louis Stevenson
Another poetry study from our Online Poetry Anthology.

Author Notebooking Pages {Free Download}
Use this free set to create an author notebook for our 100 Best Books for Children series.

The Hundred Best Books for Children ~ Introduction
The Hundred Best Books for Children

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