CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 7 . . . . November 29, 2002
The Little Land is one of the poems from Stevenson's collection, A Child's Garden of Verses (1885). The poem is an imaginative tale about a boy's whimsical journey to fairy land where the clover-tops are trees and the rain-pools are the seas. The boy is diminutive in size in fairyland, and he meets Little People; plays with bumblebees, ants, spiders and flies; sails in a leaf boat; and dances into the night with his insect friends. Following his adventures in the Land of Play, the boy returns home, and, of course, everything seems huge! The boy longs to return to the Land of Play and be a "sailor on the rain-pool sea" and a "climber in the clover tree" and come back home at night just in time to go to bed.
Fernandes, an award-winning children's book author and illustrator, has used Fimo in creating the unique three-dimensional artwork in the picture book. The textured and brightly coloured illustrations enliven the poem. The illustrations not only complement Stevenson's work, but they expand the poem. The verso illustration of the boy dancing with his newfound friends near the end of the book is a visual delight!
The age of the poem must be taken into consideration when critiquing the work. Although children will be able to relate to the idea of an imaginary land, the word order (and hence the rhythm) of some of the lines of the poem seems awkward as Stevenson worked to maintain the rhyming scheme. The appeal of the book will be the illustrations. Unfortunately, Fernandes does not provide readers with her reasons for selecting this particular poem to illustrate.
Sylvia Pantaleo is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC.
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