The larger version has “pictures by Gyo Fujikawa” and was first published in 1969, while the smaller is from Knopf’s Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics and features Charles Robinson’s illustrations; this version was first published in 1885. As you might guess, the style of illustration is very different from one to the other. Here are the two books, side by side, open to the same poem, “Wintertime.”
Do you want to read the poem, too? Here is the first stanza:
Late lies the wintry sun abed,
A frosty, fiery sleepyhead;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
I don’t think this poem made it into my Little Golden edition of ACGOV. I don’t remember it, at any rate. I do remember many others, among them “The Swing”:
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
So did I, especially the when it was the tire swing hung from long ropes in an old, standard-size apple tree in my grandfather’s backyard. The child in Stevenson’s poem can see “over the wall,” and I could see over the tall board fence as
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
My recommendation on these two illustrated versions is that grownups will like the size and style of the classic, but younger children will probably be happier with the big pages and bright colors of Fujikawa’s pictures. Very modern and very young children probably to start with something much easier, something like Lois Ehlert’s Oodles of Animals. Here’s an example of the fun from this colorful book:
Swimming and sunning,
a crocodile’s happy.
But when he meets humans,
he tends to get snappy.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book is probably not only a wonderful trip down Memory Lane for adults but a great way to find books for children and grandchildren.