Papa Is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost

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Overview

When Robert Frost was a child, his family thought he would grow up to be a baseball player. Instead, he became a poet. His life on a farm in New Hampshire inspired him to write “poetry that talked,” and today he is famous for his vivid descriptions of the rural life he loved so much. There was a time, though, when Frost had to struggle to get his poetry published. Told from the point of view of Lesley, Robert Frost’s oldest daughter, this is the story of how a lover of language ...

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Overview

When Robert Frost was a child, his family thought he would grow up to be a baseball player. Instead, he became a poet. His life on a farm in New Hampshire inspired him to write “poetry that talked,” and today he is famous for his vivid descriptions of the rural life he loved so much. There was a time, though, when Frost had to struggle to get his poetry published. Told from the point of view of Lesley, Robert Frost’s oldest daughter, this is the story of how a lover of language found his voice.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
"Robert Frost never saw New England as clearly as when he was living in old England, and out of these recollections came some of his best-loved poems," writes Bober in an author's note that concludes this account of the poet and his family. In that same spirit of recollection, the book unfolds through the perspective of his 15-year-old eldest daughter, Lesley, who shares her memories of growing up on her family's New Hampshire farm and, later, the family's time in England. Lesley describes bucolic days and nights spent reading, picnicking, writing, and memorizing poems (and constellations), while always emphasizing the importance her father placed on books and language ("He decided to milk his cow at midnight so he could stay awake and read Shakespeare and write poems in the hush of a sleeping household"). Working in mixed media, Gibbon (Celebritrees) contributes pale, folksy scenes of familiar togetherness (it's a rare spread that doesn't feature at least one Frost with his or her nose in a book). Frost's poems are smoothly interspersed throughout the story, as well as collected at the end of this contemplative tribute. Ages 4–8. Illustrator's agent: Riley Illustration. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Frost's poems are smoothly interspersed throughout the story, as well as collected at the end of this contemplative tribute."—Publishers Weekly

"Photos, quotations, a short bibliography, and a dozen of Frost’s poems are appended. Charming, detailed folk-art-style watercolor paintings add to the appeal of this readable introduction to a great American poet." — School Library Journal

"A likable introduction to Frost as a father, farmer and poet who took the road “less traveled” from the engaging perspective of his oldest daughter." — Kirkus Reviews

Praise for A Restless Spirit:

“Bober successfully portrays the four-time Pulitzer Prize winner as a very human schoolboy, husband, father, farmer, and teacher. She stresses Frost’s determination and Yankee spirit, but also gives glimpses of his darker side—the anger, the depression, the suicidal bent. The clear and straightforward text is interwoven with poetry.” —School Library Journal

Praise for Rebecca Gibbon’s illustrations in Elizabeth Leads the Way:

“Excellent gouache and colored pencil illustrations, rendered in a lighthearted folk-art style, provide rich background for the brief text.” —School Library Journal

“The sometimes informational tone is animated and energized by Gibbon’s plentiful vignettes and paintings, rendered in a vibrant folk-art style.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for Rebecca Gibbon’s illustrations in Celebritrees:

“Gibbon’s acrylic-ink, colored-pencil, and watercolor artwork creates an inviting look throughout the book.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
Lesley, elder daughter of Robert Frost, is the narrator of this biography of her father. Many of the related events and happenings are taken from her journal. The book opens with the family’s arrival back in America from a two -year stay in England. As they wait in the train station for transportation home, Lesley begins to remember what life was like on00 the New Hampshire farm where they lived before going to England. There were plenty of chores, Sunday picnics, walks to gather flowers or watch the sunset and, best of all being read to by their parents before bedtime. With Mamma and Papa as teachers, the children were taught at home. Using a “three-foot-long brass telescope” the youngsters learned about the night sky. Papa eventually arrives back at the railroad station with the good news that his two books of poems have been purchased by a publisher. Interspersed in the text are lines from Frost’s poetry that clearly match the narrative. The folksy styled illustrations done with watercolor, colored pencil and acrylic ink blend well with each page of the chronicle. Useful additions include twelve of Frost’s most famous poems; biographical data; a bibliography; photos and well-known Frost quotes. Adults and children will find this book a delightful tool to learn about one of America’s most famous poets. Purchase is recommended. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth; Ages 6 to 9.
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
Gr 3–5—Bober's picture-book biography is narrated by Frost's oldest daughter, Lesley, and based upon her childhood journal. It begins with the family's return home from two years in England, where they had lived so Frost could concentrate on writing poetry instead of farming. "Papa had the courage to trust his own feelings and know what he had to do. He made a reckless choice," says the teen, quoting the first verse of "The Road Not Taken." As she waits with her mother and siblings in New York's Grand Central Terminal for the train to New Hampshire, her father visits the publisher of a book of his poetry that his wife saw reviewed in the New Republic. Lesley recalls her childhood at Derry Farm, where her papa raised chickens and sold their eggs; took his family on all-day Sunday picnics; and, with his wife, homeschooled the children. Reading and memorizing poetry were highly stressed in the Frost household, as was the purchase of books. ("Papa thought that any book worth reading twice was worth owning.") Bober has captured the poet's personality, his love for family, and the inner strength that allowed him to follow his dreams. Indeed, he returns to the station with a contract for two books-the beginning of his successful writing career. An author's note offers further biographical information. Photos, quotations, a short bibliography, and a dozen of Frost's poems are appended. Charming, detailed folk-art-style watercolor paintings add to the appeal of this readable introduction to a great American poet.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Robert Frost's eldest daughter's fictional reminiscence of her father's influential early years as a poet on their New Hampshire farm. After their 1915 trans-Atlantic crossing following two years in England, 15-year-old Lesley Frost and her family arrive in New York City, where her father discovers his first book of poems has just been published. Waiting for the train home to New Hampshire, Lesley remembers her childhood on their poultry farm, where days "were ordinary but meaningful." Speaking in the first person, she recalls the "cupboard was often bare, yet life was filled to the brim" and lovingly describes daily events her father later immortalized in his poems, including how he taught them to read, reread and write down their thoughts and feelings. Bober successfully creates this fictional account from Lesley's childhood journal and her own A Restless Spirit: The Story of Robert Frost (1981), incorporating lines from Frost's poems to show how his life on the New Hampshire farm shaped him as a poet. Sprightly acrylic ink, colored pencil and watercolor illustrations embody their idyllic country life. A likable introduction to Frost as a father, farmer and poet who took the road "less traveled" from the engaging perspective of his oldest daughter. (author's note, photos, Frost quotations, text of selected Frost poems, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805094077
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 519,473
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD1010L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Natalie S. Bober is an award-winning biographer and historian who has written about Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, and William Wordsworth, among others. She is the author of the middle-grade book A Restless Spirit: The Story of Robert Frost. She lives in Port Washington, New York.

Rebecca Gibbon is the illustrator of many picture books, including Elizabeth Leads the Way, an ALA Notable Book; and Celebritrees. She lives in England with her family.

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