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A Child's Garden of Verses
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A Child's Garden of Verses

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  16,224 ratings  ·  314 reviews
A collection of poems to celebrate childhood.
Paperback, 125 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin Books (first published 1885)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Soraya
My grandma gave me this book when I was very young. I read it around ages 6-7 years-old. It made me happy to be young and now it makes me want to be that young again. It was strange how easily I could identify with the young Robert Louis Stevenson. I could absolutely understand his annoyance at being sent to bed while it was still light in summer and I just wanted to be there with him. When I read it back now I am reminded of the innocence of being so young, something that I didn't think about o...more
max
The Land of Counterpane

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

* * * * *

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Once upon a time, when I was a young child home sick from school and confined to bed, my mother encouraged me to memorize this poem. The title baffled me, since I had no idea what a counterpane was. I thought th...more
Wayne
Nov 29, 2008 Wayne rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has some modern children's poetry nearby as an antidote.
Recommended to Wayne by: my interest in Robert Louis
I really tried to give this at least TWO stars, but when you're really glad you have finished a book I think that's a pretty good indication of the star rating.

Perhaps it might be thought that a poetry book should be read in small bites??
Yes, much poetry is dense in terms of compacted thoughts and image and metaphor. After reading one Shakespeare sonnet(reviewed) one has to gasp for breath. (What was that semi-trailer that just passed over me!??!!) An immediate reread is necessary. The syntax(w...more
Fewlas
Stevenson canta con genuinità i piaceri dell’infanzia. Protagonisti assoluti sono il bambino con i suoi giochi, la nurse, il giardino che ogni volta ospita avventure diverse, quindi a volte è oceano, la volta dopo deserto. E i genitori, che per una buona volta non sono aridi e troppo cresciuti; riescono ad accettare il passare del tempo e a trattenere l’amore che esso lascia dietro di sé nella sua veloce fuga. In questa raccolta si ritrovano i dolci momenti dell’infanzia raccontata da Blake e li...more
Marnie
This book was given to me by my kindergarten teacher. I still have it and treasure it.
Taymara Jagmohan
Absolutely wonderful!

A Child's Garden of Verses is a read that reminds me of all the little experiences as a child!

Sometimes we see the moon, we see the weathered patterns, and we see the happy thoughts resonate into actions, but do we ever know where they spring from? They don't lodge themselves from the grabs of young imagination, but this is a phase that truly continues to grow.

You grow old towards the genuine reality, and repose of life, but are you enjoying it?

Do not be afraid of living fo...more
Kirei
I give this book two stars and I think that is being pretty darn generous. The poetry is very old-fashioned and filled with difficult words--words that are even difficult for me like "paven pools" and "gabies". I doubt these will show up on future SAT's. The poems are good if you are old enough to understand them, but the children they are meant for are probably too young for them.

We read Gyo Fujikawa's edition. The illustrations are so cute but, despite being drawn by a Japanese-American woman...more
Cher
This is a sentimental review because of how personally I cherish this collection. My grandfather had a old edition of this book like from the 1940s and whenever my sister and I slept over, he would read the different poems over and over again until we fell asleep. So to say I adore this book is a bit of an understatement as I can't read the poems without hearing my grandpa's voice. The poems themselves are utterly charming, harking back to an older childhood, perhaps a more innocent one, a time...more
John
Ratings aren't particularly helpful with a book of children's poetry like this. If you like it then you must have been exposed to this before the age of eight and are looking back with nostalgia. It's true that there is much that seems outdated and only fit for parody - nursie, lamplighters and such - but it also has a timeless quality and a capacity to delight or it wouldn't still be read 130 years on. I'll try and quote from memory:

When I'm grown to man's estate
I shall be tall and very great
I'...more
Susan Ashley
As a child it was my Mom who who read to me many bedtime stories, except for Christmas eve when my Dad would read us "The Night before Christmas", and every so often, my Dad would read from this book! His favorite was "The Lamplighter" The book had beautiful illustrations and I can still hear my Dad saying with great voice inflection "O Leerie I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you". Some other favs of mine in this book: The Swing,The Wind, My Bed is a Boat, My Shadow, The Land of C...more
Lorelei
As wonderful as when I first discovered a shorter version (with pictures) in the bookcase in my mother's apartment before I was old enough to go to school. The last poem is perfect - warm and joyous and bittersweet. There are ballads that wouldn't do to read when one is feeling down, and others that make the heart race and bring a smile to the face. The children's poems at the beginning are delightful and (at least for me) require no translation. Some of the Scottish later on could be hard if yo...more
Sarah
I have a beautiful old version of this that I read as a child (I think it might have been my Mum's it certainly wasn't given to me,it was in the house when I was growing up). It might have been the first book of poetry I ever read but it has certainly stayed with me. Some of the poems I not only remember but I can visualise how the look on the page.

The love of poetry has stayed with me and for that alone I think this book will always be special to me.

If you want a book of traditional poetry, th...more
Bree
Oct 16, 2014 Bree is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-poetry
Notes:
illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith
Linda Lipko
While trying to get some semblance of order for my books, I found this rare gem. Copyrighted in 1900, the paper is older and semi glossy; the illustrations are simple and lovely. My copy is in poor condition, but none of the pages are missing.

It was incredibly delightful to spend time savoring each delightful poem. While simply written, each sentence paints a lush portrait of serenity and reminds the reader of a childhood of dreams and time spent exploring through the imagination. Many of the mi...more
Debra
So beautiful and childlike, not in the simplicity of the poems but in Stevenson's incredible way of showing the mind of a child. These are poems for any child . These are poems of imagination and play. These are poems from a child's view point written by a man of great literary talent. These are poems you can read over and over to a child or read just for the sheer pleasure by yourself. These are poems of beauty and childhood.


To Any Reader

As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A 1001 CBYMRBYGU.
I’m obligated to read all of Stevenson’s oeuvre. My school is named after this man.
This book contains a variety of short poems for children written by RLS himself. The poems range from the proscriptive:
“A child should always say what’s true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;
At least as far as he is able.”

To:
“The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
Cheri
Speaking of the art - because that's what I love. Tasha Tudor is the kind of benign, crazy, old lady that I will likely become. Living in Vermont in a period house, wearing turn of the century clothing and doing everything as it was done back when, (seriously, everything - churning her own butter included) it's not surprising that her books evoke a gentler time and sensibility. She's a modern day Beatrix Potter.
Joanna
This was another book for my recent children's lit class, but I wasn't so crazy about it. Stevenson is a great author ( Treasure Island ), but these poems were a little bit too sappy-sweet for me. They reminded me of the types of poetry that Lewis Carroll mocks. They seemed technically sound, but they just didn't appeal to me . . . I'm more of a Shel Silverstein kind of gal.
Heila
The way children see the world -- from down low, with so much wonder, with special observations of adults and nature -- all that is encapsulated in these poems. I had seen this book around forever, but always thought it was old-fashioned and would be boring, whereas instead it was fantastic. So enjoyable, to be transported (as does all good fiction and especially good poetry, as dense as it is) into worlds as seen from "the swing" or, through the eyes of "the unseen playmate," or "where the gold...more
D.M.
[Read as part of a Collected Works of Stevenson.]
Though this is hardly on a par with Robert Louis Stevenson's greater works (or even his lesser works), A Child's Garden of Verses is just what it proposes: a collection of poems for children, about the experiences of childhood. There is an emphasis on the bucolic wonders of life in the country during Stevenson's lifetime, with occasional diversions on the wonders of imaginative play. As might be expected, the tone leans a bit heavily toward the na...more
Tiritirimatangi
I choose to read one poem in this book called "A good boy" because I needed to have something written by a classic author.

I like how in this poem isn't a depressing (how most poems are) but instead it is about a good young boy who is happy and is well mannered. This poem teaches young kids that being good makes you happy and that manners are important.

I like the verse
"I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play."
I like it because...more
Jeffrey Bumiller
This is the first book I remember my mom reading to me. There is this one illustration of A child holding a lantern and creeping down a dark hallway, it scared the balls off of me. It's a very important memory for me.
Lilia
Jan 28, 2014 Lilia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children, esp. at bedtime
Recommended to Lilia by: grandparents
Shelves: favorites
I received this book as a Christmas present from my grandparents when I was 8. I may have read it five or more times as a child and still have it on my bookshelf. I remember thinking the poems were so pretty, dreamlike and peaceful (a nice respite from my rowdy brothers!). I love how it is thoughtful, intelligent and wry. One of my favorite poems - probably b/c my dad liked to say, "Children should be seen and not heard," - is "Whole Duty of Children": "A child should always say what's true, And...more
Loraine
Classic children's verse and poetry with marvelous illustrations. Great read aloud.
Little Pearl
In adulthood,...this book provided me with the childhood I never had.
Jaclyn
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with poetry. Sometimes it is so darn confusing and I wonder if I am missing something because it just doesn't make sense. Other times when I read poetry I find myself sucked into the beauty of it. I love the rhythm of it and how it can flow so smoothly. It can be fun to read, sometimes even funny. Of course, there are some poems that can strike a tender place in my heart and bring tears to my eyes. This book had all of the above. This is a great collectio...more
Valerie
These poems are heavily influenced by who illustrated them. These illustrations are somewhat more robust than is implied by the words. The cover picture is of a pudgy little flower-crowned girl. The 'number of things' are much more realistic than the dreamy text would suggest.

Only in "The Land of Counterpane" does one really get an idea of the sickly, pale little boy Stevenson was probably harking back to when he wrote the original poems; and even so, it's noteworthy that the boy is quite a bit...more
abcdefg
Stevenson's book of verse for children is a delight to read and a childhood classic.

The poetry explores the child's imagination - from the microcosm of garden to the mysteries of the wind, skirts, and a boy's own shadow.

It's nice to get a picture of a world seen from a child's eyes and the curiosity that raises. Stevenson follows a somewhat strict rhyming scheme in most of his poems, however some of them pleasantly take a different turn in rhythm, which I thought was a nice departure from time...more
Wayne S.
Who wrote, "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings"? Did you guess Robert Louis Stevenson? Poetry is not my favorite form of literature. However, Stevenson is one of my best-loved authors, and I have always liked his poetry because, unlike some other poetry that I have read, it makes sense to me. One of my favorites is “The Swing”:
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
...more
Kirsten Hobbs
This is the most beautiful, most wonderful book of poetry I know of. The poems are short and perfectly sweet and imaginative. The hardest part is choosing which edition to read because so many different artists have illustrated it. I think the Classic Illustrated edition is my favorite. I also love the Brian Wildsmith version, but there are many others you can see on Amazon.com to choose what pictures you like best. Some versions contain the complete poems from the original Child's Garden of Ver...more
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Young Writers: A Child's Garden of Verses 17 25 Jan 26, 2014 10:33PM  
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Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature. He was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling and Vladimir Nabokov.

Most modernist writers dismissed him, however, because he was popular and did not write within their narrow definition of...more
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“To My Mother
You too, my mother, read my rhymes
For love of unforgotten times,
And you may chance to hear once more
The little feet along the floor.”
2 likes
“In winter I get up at night,
and dress by yellow candlelight,
In summer, quite the other day,
I have to go to bed by day”
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More quotes…