The Friends of Robert Frost is
delighted to announce the publication of a book we couldn't help
but love. Robert Frost wrote these little stories for his four
children: Lesley, Carol, Irma and Marjorie. They transport the
reader back to the idyllic days on the Derry farm as seen through
the eyes of the Frost children. How delightful they are! Here,
as he did so often in his poetry, he shifts his vision to the
sensibility of a fellow being, this time to a child.
The book is decorated with illustrations
by the Frost children. The pictures are extremely well done and
show how much care in observation and practice the children made
in their artwork. Many of the botanical pieces show an amazing
quality of perception. There must have been many happy hours
spent in practicing the contours of leaves, petals and berries.
The drawings were taken from a family magazine called The
Bouquet, which the Frost children and friends created while
they were in England, from 1912 - 15. Six of the original fourteen
issues have survived, now a part of the Frost archive at the
University of Virginia Library. The
Bouquet featured prose and poetry, pictures, puzzles
and even advertising. Lesley, the eldest child, served as editor
and typed the manuscript on the Blickensderfer brought from America.
Although created separately, the pictures work extremely well
with the stories, giving the reader insight into the shared creativity
of the Frost family.
This book works well on many levels.
To a Frost lover, it reveals the touch of the poet's humor and
love of his family. The insight into everyday experience in those
early days of Frost's life can be read between the lines, including
the care taken to teach the children to observe their own world
and to feel its rhythms. When reading Frost's poetry, we often
find the poems echoing to one another. These stories echo too
in a most interesting way. A good companion book to read is New
Hampshire's Child: The Derry Journals of Lesley Frost, which
his eldest daughter began writing at the age of 5.
Robert and Elinor Frost educated
their children at home by teaching them to read and to write
about the play of daily life. It was at once clever and touching
of these parents to guide their children's work through personal
involvement in projects of drawing, writing and storytelling
and to integrate their own family members as the characters and
subject matter of the lessons. I am struck with the tenderness
and love of a father who would write stories for his children
making them the characters! How enchanting for the children
to be named in the story that Papa was reading to them.
Finally, the book is a delightful
set of stories, enjoyable to children and parents alike. My favorites
include "The Wise Men," in which Frost's son, Carol,
climbs a tree and then, as if by magic, seems to come down as
a little old wise man, dressed in a cape and wizard's hat to
the surprise of his sisters. In "The Crash," the children
are playing on a table full of dishes and things until it tumbles
over with a big crash that is heard by President Roosevelt in
Washington. In "The Looking Glass," two fairies claim
a late apple fallen on the ground and want to carry it away to
use as a looking glass, to the delight and consternation of Lesley
As Told to a Child, is a fine arts edition by the Cyder Press
with an introduction by Frost's granddaughter, Dr. Lesley Lee
Francis. It has been printed in a limited edition of 500 hand
numbered copies. The Cyder Press was established by Cheltenham
& Gloucester College of Higher Education as an extension
of the resources provided by The Dymock Poets Archive & Study
Centre. The book may be ordered, while copies last, direct from
the publisher at a cost of $45.00 U.
S. dollars, which includes delivery.