Sunday, June 21, 2020


 Featuring:  'A Child's Garden of Verses' by
Robert Louis Stevenson      -and-
'Chicken Soup With Rice' by Maurice Sendak


#1:  'A Child's Garden of Verses' by Robert Louis Stevenson

About the Book {from Goodreads}:

Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad on foreign lands.

Here is a delightful look at childhood, written by master poet and storyteller Robert Louis Stevenson. In this collection of sixty-six poems, Stevenson recalls the joys of his childhood, from sailing boats down a river, to waiting for the lamplighter, to sailing off to foreign lands in his imagination.

Tasha Tudor's watercolour paintings evoke a simpler time in the past, and celebrate two of the things she loves most — children and nature. Her talents are the perfect match for these inspiring poems, making this a handsome gift edition that will be cherished by families for generations.

About the Author {from Goodreads}:

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of 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 literature. It is only recently that critics have begun to look beyond Stevenson's popularity and allow him a place in the Western canon.

About the Illustrator:

To learn more about this gifted artist, I suggest you visit the 'Tasha Tudor & Family' website at:  Tasha Tudor & Family

 Link to read this book on The Gutenberg Project Website:    
A Child's Garden of Verses

My Thoughts:   

My Grandma McCrary sent me a hardcover copy of this book when I was in second grade. We lived roughly 2,000 miles apart, so I only saw her every other summer. However, she was instrumental in my early literacy because she regularly wrote long letters to me and also sent me some of my most treasured books of my early childhood. This book, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, and 'Winnie the Pooh' are the books I best remember. Three of my favorite poems from this volume were, and remain, Nest Eggs, The Wind, and The Flowers.  

Some people, including children, assume that a 'picture book' is only for young children. I beg to differ. During my teaching career I taught Kindergarten through fourth grades. I also taught many literacy classes in summer school and after-school programs which included middle-graders who were struggling with their literacy skills. 

I can't remember a single time when a middle-grader commented that a picture book was a book written for babies or made any other negative remark. In fact, I think they enjoyed it when I read aloud to them and then we worked together on some vocabulary development, sentence structure, phonics, and writing skills. By not having to read the passage or poem themselves, which was a struggle for them, they set aside their anxiety and just enjoyed the poetry and prose being presented in the lesson.

I have always believed that nurturing a child's love of reading was as important, at least, as teaching them phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, etc. If they could relax and enjoy what we were doing and build some confidence, they could take the next step into improving their reading fluency and comprehension.

This book includes a lot of rich vocabulary and historical references as it was originally published in 1885. There is also rhyme, rhythm, and repetition -- the three keys to early literacy. 

Here's a link to a worksheet created by a teacher resource website focused on the poem, The Moon, from this book that may be helpful if you are sharing this book with a middle-grade student.



About the Book {from Goodreads}:

Maurice Sendak, the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of the iconic Where the Wild Things Are, created a warmly loved classic book of months, in verse, with Chicken Soup with Rice.
This rhyming book cleverly uses a little boy’s love for soup to teach children the months of the year and features Sendak’s imaginative drawings and lyrical verses.

Who says you can only slurp chicken soup with rice in cold January or freezing December? Chicken soup with rice is nice all year round!

About the Author {from Goodreads}:

Maurice Bernard Sendak was an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. An elementary school (from kindergarten to grade five) in North Hollywood, California is named in his honor.

Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, and decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney's film Fantasia at the age of twelve. His illustrations were first published in 1947 in a textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. He spent much of the 1950s working as an artist for children's books, before beginning to write his own stories.

My Thoughts:

Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months is one of my favorite collection of children's poems because it is so delightfully whimsical and is filled with good, old-fashioned fun! Originally published in 1962, I still have my well-used, well-loved paperback version from the early 1990s.

Each poem is about a month of the year. Rhyme, rhythm, and repetition are at their best in this simple, attractively-illustrated book by Maurice Sendak. Mr. Sendak deftly creates a rhyme for each month using familiar themes for youngsters about events or holidays that occur in the particular month.

For example, in January the narrator is ice skating with his bowl of soup. In October, the narrator is hosting a Halloween party for witches, goblins, and a ghost where he serves them chicken soup with toast. One of my favorite rhymes and illustrations is for the month of May where a robin is 'concoting' soup inside a nest. What fun!

What are some of your favorite books of children's poetry? Please let us know by posting a comment to this post. Thank you.

Next week we will move up to middle-grade poetry written by one of my all-time favorite poets, Shel Silverstein. Until then, happy reading!


Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.


Find the links to more great 'It's Monday! What Are You Reading?' (#IMWAYR) posts for children's and Young Adult books over at the Unleashing Readers website.





  1. I personally love Stevenson, but he's a tough sell for my students. I remember having a Little Golden Book with selected verses. Silverstein is popular, but his poetry doesn't work well for the project one teacher assigns. Poetry is a part of my library collection that really needs some work. I love Nye's Amaze Me.

  2. As my library students used to say, "I have a connection!" I just finished reading a historical fiction about RLS and his wife Fanny by Nancy Horan THE WIDE AND STARRY SKY. Adults will enjoy learning about the places the Stevensons lived and their writing journeys. Also using picture books with middle school students, we librarians changed the name of picture books from EASY to Everybody books. Some were geared towards older readers with their concepts. Still poetry is for everyone. Thanks for sharing these great resources, June!

  3. I remember Chicken Soup With Rice from when I was a kid. And I had a really tiny boxed set of Robert Lewis Stevenson poems when I was a kid. You're bringing back happy memories with your post.

  4. I completely agree that it's important not just to teach kids to read well, but to actually make sure that they enjoy reading! Both of these books sound quite good—I remember loving Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are when I was little. I also enjoyed Shel Silverstein's books, so I'm excited to hear your thoughts on them! Thanks for the wonderful reviews!

  5. I love how you kept these treasured classics. I have always been a Shel Silverstein fan so I'm looking forward to next week, Thanks for the push to use poetry books and for posting the feature on MMGM.

  6. Lovely post today. It's so cool how you'vekept your original copies. I remember having poetry books as a child of the 50s -- but I can't remember any titles or authors. Robert Lewis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses" look vaguely familiar. But, I enjoyed what you shared from Stevenson and Sendak.

  7. We didn't have a lot of books at home, but we did have World Book encyclopedias and their companion Childcraft books. I pretty much wore out the Poems and Rhymes book. And we used the library like crazy. I remember A Child's Garden of Verses and loved it. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I remember A Child's Garden of Verses and Chicken Soup with Rice. I have always loved anything that rhymed. I still love books in verse and poetry. I love the patterns and the rhythms. Great post!

  9. Awww, I appreciated hearing about your Grandma McCrary. There are special books my grandfather sent me during my childhood that will likely remain with me until I die -- or be passed down to one of my children. I'm especially grateful that he wrote inscriptions in the front pages. And I know at least two of the books were Winnie-the-Pooh books. Sooo special! <3



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