Our children have always loved poetry but after an unsettling run-in with James Whitcomb Riley's Little Orphan Annie* Max vowed to never read poetry again.
A careful choosing of our next poet was required. Would it be a nonsensical romp with Edward Lear or the faster than thought and lighter than air poetry of Emily Dickinson? A trip to the library settled everything as our children's librarian had wisely shelved Jane Yolen's 2009 picture-book My Uncle Emily face out, capturing all our attention.
My boys immediately warmed to the relationship between 6-year-old Gib and his favorite "uncle," Emily Dickinson, with whom he shares a love of poetry and bees. Based on the poem "Tell All the Truth" we gain an appreciation of the poet's life, her poetry, and the importance of being sensitive while remaining honest. While we've always used only poetry itself for poetry appreciation, Jane Yolen has given us such a living introduction to Emily Dickinson that I am sure our beloved Charlotte Mason would applaud and then add it to her own book list.
As for our home, the love of poetry has been restored. Thank you Jane and Emily.
Tell All the Truth
Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth's superb surprise;
As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
*I learned my lesson and will always pre-read. I'm sure we'll return to Mr. Riley at some point by Year 12.