How am I to sing your praise?

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“Picture-Books in Winter”

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Summer fading, winter comes
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.

Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.

All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children’s eye,
Sheep and shepherds,
trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.

We may see how all things are,
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies’ looks,
In the picture story-books.

How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books?


I was unfamiliar with the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson until I saw the title A Child’s Garden of Verses on John Senior’s nursery booklist. Since then I have become extremely fond of Stevenson’s poetry and will always recommend A Child’s Garden of Verses if asked what poetry book to first invest in for a child’s library (apart from an excellent Mother Goose collection). Stevenson’s poems delightfully and wisely capture the joy, curiosity, and imagination of children. A Child’s Garden of Verses is also the first book I reach for when looking for poems for my young children to memorize.

The full text of A Child’s Garden of Verses is available at Gutenberg.org. If you are looking for a printed edition, I recommend the version illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Her illustrative style is a perfect match for Stevenson’s poetry.

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