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A plethora of poetry books arrive just in time for National Poetry Month. Now available in a board book edition, A Child's Garden of Verses, compiled by Cooper Edens, pairs eight of Robert Louis Stevenson's poems with turn-of-the-century illustrations to captivate a child's imagination. For instance, "Happy Thought" ("The world is so full of a number of things,/ I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings") is embedded like a placard within a pen-and-ink by E. Mars (1900), while opposite, a 1940 illustration by Ruth Mary Hallock depicts a happy assembly of children and kittens, gathering for a snack break after a game of croquet. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Gr 1 Up Eleven editions of this classic are in print, including those illustrated by Tasha Tudor (Rand McNally, 1981), Jessie W. Smith (Scribners, 1905) and Brian Wildsmith (Oxford University Pr, 1984), yet Foreman's work lives on its own terms. His pen and ink-wash drawings and watercolors evoke both the dream world of a child's imagination and the real world of today. The child in ``My Shadow'' and the nude sprite in ``The Flowers'' are both wearing tennis shoes. ``To My Mother'' pictures a woman in jeans. What could be trite or trendy is instead fresh and modern and unstuffy. The book is meticulously laid out, and Mary Thwaite's introduction is clear and concise. But the core of this lovely book is Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry, which remains original, inspiring and wonder-provoking after a century. One may well wince at the underlying chauvinism of ``Foreign Children,'' but most of the poems still sing. Foreman clearly understands how to ``. . .sing your praise, /Happy chimney-corner days, /Sitting safe in nursery nooks, /Reading picture story-books. . . .'' Kathleen D. Whalin, New Canaan Library, Conn.