Papa Is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost, by Natalie S. Bober, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and Company, $17.99, ages 4-8), is reviewed today by Cathy Ballou Mealey.
Sometimes it’s easy for a child to describe the work that their parents do for a living: firefighter, mail carrier, farmer. What can you say to describe that work when your father is a poet? Through the eyes and words of young Lesley, this charming book tells young readers what life is like as the child of poet Robert Frost from 1905 to 1909.
The dramatic opening spread shows the tiny Frost family debarking from a looming ocean liner onto a barren New York City dock. The parents and four children are clutching old-fashioned trunks and carpet bags, ready to begin an adventurous new life on a farm in New Hampshire.
As the story unfolds, the family works, plays and learns together while Frost struggles to earn a living as a poultry farmer. He tends to farm chores at midnight so he can read and write “in the hush of a sleeping household.” During the day the family picnics, hunts for flowers, and watches sunsets. At night they share stories, read, and stargaze. Through all the activity, Frost is a loving husband and father, teaching his children to observe the world with care and write down their thoughts, dreams and impressions.
A young reader need not be familiar with Frost’s work to appreciate his deep passion for poetry and words. Lovely excerpts from his poems are sprinkled carefully throughout, and twelve complete poems are contained in the back pages. The charming illustrations pace this book smoothly with warmth as well as detail, offering delightful glimpses into turn of the century life.
This book is a treasure to be savored slowly and repeatedly for all those who love the magic of beautiful words read aloud.
.- Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher and received no other compensation. The opinions expressed here are my own. Disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”