At age 22, Romantic poet John Keats (1795–1821) wrote home to his younger sister, Fanny, while hiking the hills of Scotland. His letter included a playful and self-deprecating “song about myself,” whimsically illustrated by Raschka (A Ball for Daisy) in watercolor scenes bisected by brightly colored arrows that allude to a long journey in progress. Described as a “naughty boy,” the poet “ran away to Scotland/ The people for to see/ Then he found/ That the ground/ Was as hard.... That a door/ Was as wooden/ As in England.” If Keats’s boy-poet sounds disillusioned, Raschka pictures him as energetic and outdoorsy, leaning against a tree, marveling at a butterfly, and soaking up the sun in all seasons. Raschka fittingly dedicates this edition to his own sister, and his endpapers make connections across time and space, too: a collapsed map imagines the islands of New York City abutting those of Scotland. It’s a enchanting and intimate glimpse of the distant, anthologized Keats as a conversational letter writer who once “stood in his shoes/ And... wonder’d” at his world. Ages 6–9. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017 Release date: 03/14/2017 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.