Gift Guide

My Shadow


The poems in Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses have been popular ever since the book's first appearance more than one hundred years ago, and none more so than "My Shadow," a traditional favorite for reading aloud.

Glenna Lang has created a visual narrative depicting a young girl's travels through a dream nighstcape with her shadow companion. Beautifully true to the sense and spirit of Stevenson's work, the illustrations add ...
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The poems in Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses have been popular ever since the book's first appearance more than one hundred years ago, and none more so than "My Shadow," a traditional favorite for reading aloud.

Glenna Lang has created a visual narrative depicting a young girl's travels through a dream nighstcape with her shadow companion. Beautifully true to the sense and spirit of Stevenson's work, the illustrations add their own grace and rich atmosphere to Stevenson's popular poem. This edition of My Shadow is a wonderful way to enjoy an old favorite bedtime poem with the youngest child.

An illustrated version of the poem in which a child describes his relationship with his shadow.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rand leads the reader through a joyful parade of children from all over the world in his rendition of the poem about a child playing with his shadow. A Chinese youngster plays kickball in front of a stone lion, a boy balances on the edge of a fountain in Italy, an African tyke stares at a puddle of shadow beneath his feet. Unfortunately, the Stevenson text, with its single narrator, is not well synchronized with the subjects of Rand's illustrations, who vary from page to page. For example, a girl in a garden is pictured saying, "One morning . . . I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup.'' The sentence is completed by a group of children playing on an island beach who say, "But my lazy little shadow . . . stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.'' Although Rand's often idyllic locales are gorgeously depicted, his settings may not always be clear to readers, adding further confusion to the artistic device. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Joni Lucas
Stevenson's classic poem about his relationship with his shadow is joined with adorable illustrations of modern children discovering and playing with their shadows. In a visual age, this is a great way to combine picture and prose and introduce a new generation to Stevenson's vivid words.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 --Stevenson's poem plays with the concept of "shadow'' as a physical phenomenon, and even hints at a psychological dimension to the shadow self, who is called a "coward,'' evokes disgrace ("I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!''), and "can only make a fool of'' the speaker. Lang's flat acrylic paintings eliminate natural shadows and reduce volumes to shapes--as shadows do. The problem with the illustrations is conceptual. Although the flap copy asserts that the heroine travels through "a dream nightscape,'' there are no internal cues to differentiate the dream setting from the real one. In her pajamas, the heroine might be having a late stroll, or an early one. A sliver of moon confusingly does all the work of shadow-making, until the last line, when the heroine emerges "very early, before the sun was up'' into a world as bright as midday but mysteriously shadowless (while the noontime shrinkage of shadows cited in the text has occurred at midnight). The book not only does disservice to Stevenson's verse but also badly muddles the principles of shadow casting. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This beautifully formatted book presents the classic poem about childhood through the eyes of a mouse. The large, shadowy gray, artistic font becomes a part of the exquisite illustrations, spreading across a double page or side by side with the artwork. The lively rodent tumbles, runs, and jumps through a happily cluttered playroom where he has taken up residence. However, there are some problems with the text. Using a mouse as the voice necessitates changing the word "children" to "mice" in the second and third stanzas, thereby disturbing the rhythm of the poem. The word "mom," which has been substituted for "nursie" in the third stanza, is out of place with the quaintly antiquated tone of the poem. Finally, substituting the word "errant" for "arrant" seriously confuses the meaning of the line. The book is a visual delight but changing the wording diminishes the integrity of the work.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609731540
  • Publisher: Child's World, Incorporated, The
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Series: Poetry for Children Series
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 691,584
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Louis  Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
The Victorian poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson once said, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." The author of the magical A Child's Garden of Verses and the chilling The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson indeed planted powerful literary seeds -- that grew into undisputed classics.


Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh. His father was an engineer, the head of a family firm that had constructed most of Scotland's lighthouses, and the family had a comfortable income. Stevenson was an only child and was often ill; as a result, he was much coddled by both his parents and his long-time nurse. The family took frequent trips to southern Europe to escape the cruel Edinburgh winters, trips that, along with his many illnesses, caused Stevenson to miss much of his formal schooling. He entered Edinburgh University in 1867, intending to become an engineer and enter the family business, but he was a desultory, disengaged student and never took a degree. In 1871, Stevenson switched his study to law, a profession which would leave time for his already-budding literary ambitions, and he managed to pass the bar in 1875.

Illness put an end to his legal career before it had even started, and Stevenson spent the next few years traveling in Europe and writing travel essays and literary criticism. In 1876, Stevenson fell in love with Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne, a married American woman more than ten years his senior, and returned with her to London, where he published his first fiction, "The Suicide Club." In 1879, Stevenson set sail for America, apparently in response to a telegram from Fanny, who had returned to California in an attempt to reconcile with her husband. Fanny obtained a divorce and the couple married in 1880, eventually returning to Europe, where they lived for the next several years. Stevenson was by this time beset by terrifying lung hemorrhages that would appear without warning and required months of convalescence in a healthy climate. Despite his periodic illnesses and his peripatetic life, Stevenson completed some of his most enduring works during this period: Treasure Island (1883), A Child's Garden of Verses (1885), Kidnapped (1886), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).

After his father's death and a trip to Edinburgh which he knew would be his last, Stevenson set sail once more for America in 1887 with his wife, mother, and stepson. In 1888, after spending a frigid winter in the Adirondack Mountains, Stevenson chartered a yacht and set sail from California bound for the South Pacific. The Stevensons spent time in Tahiti, Hawaii, Micronesia, and Australia, before settling in Samoa, where Stevenson bought a plantation called Vailima. Though he kept up a vigorous publishing schedule, Stevenson never returned to Europe. He died of a sudden brain hemorrhage on December 3, 1894.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Good To Know

It has been said that Stevenson may well be the inventor of the sleeping bag -- he described a large fleece-lined sack he brought along to sleep in on a journey through France in his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes.

Long John Silver, the one-legged pirate cook in Stevenson's classic Treasure Island, is said to be based on the author's friend William Ernest Henley, whom he met when Henley was in Edinburgh for surgery to save his one good leg from tuberculosis.

Stevenson died in 1894 at Vailima,, his home on the South Pacific island of Upolu, Samoa. He was helping his wife make mayonnaise for dinner when he suffered a fatal stroke.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 13, 1850
    2. Place of Birth:
      Edinburgh, Scotland
    1. Date of Death:
      December 3, 1894
    2. Place of Death:
      Vailima, Samoa

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