Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Child's Garden of Verses

Many famous illustrators have interpreted Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved collection of poetry. When I was a child, a favorite aunt gave me Gyo Fujikawa’s lovely rendition; it remains my favorite. Michael Foreman, Tasha Tudor, Brian Wildsmith, and many others have also illustrated collections.

Robert Louis Stevenson was a man who "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing
spillikins", at least according to contemporary G. K. Chesterton. He was born in 1850 into a long line of lighthouse engineers. Stevenson chose writing, devoting himself to the profession. He was quite prolific.

Stevenson grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Although he suffered from tuberculosis, during the summer his parents encouraged to play outside, where he proved to be a wild and carefree child, and it seemed to improve his health. It must also have served as an inspiration to write his famous collection for children.

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