[iii] THANKS are due to Charles Scribner's Sons for
permission to use the poems, "One, Two, Three," by
Henry C. Bunner, and "Rock-a-By Lady," by Eugene
Field, and to Charles Scribner's Sons and Mr. Oliver
Herford for permission to use "The Elf and the
Dormouse"; to Mr. Fred E. Weatherly for permission to
include one of his poems; to the Century Co. and Isabel
Eccelstone Mackay for "Spring's Waking"; to the
Century Co. and John Kendrick Bangs for permission to
use "The Little Elfman"; to Longmans, Green, and Co.
for permission to use "Bunches of Grapes," by Walter
De La Mare; to John Lane and Co. for permission to use
"The Peddler's Caravan," by William Brighty Rands; to
the Page Co. and Laura E. Richards for permission to
use "Little Brown Bobby," and "Peterkin Prout and
Gregory Grout"; to Rand McNally Co. for permission to
use "The Little Robin" and "Seven Little Chicks,"
by Wilhelmina Seegmuller; to Bossey and Co. and Madam
Liza Lehmann for permission to use a poem by A. S. from
"Bird Songs." The selections from Celia Thaxter,
Edith M. Thomas, and Lucy Larcom are used by
permission of and by special arrangement with Houghton
Mifflin Co., the authorized publishers of their works.
"I know not how it is that we need an interpreter, but
the great majority of men seem to be . . . mutes, who
cannot report the conversation they have had with
nature." "The poet is the sayer, the namer, and
represents beauty." "The poets are liberating gods.
. . . They are free and make free."
[ix] THEN let us use the poets, wisely, freely, fully to
liberate the souls of our children, to make them free.
Never were we in graver peril of forgetting our poets,
of losing their liberating influence, of dulling,
benumbing our sense of beauty than at present; for
modern education, pressed by economic needs, confronted
with industrial exigencies, dominated by the scientific
spirit of the age which exults in marvels of mechanical
invention, is rapidly tending to extol efficiency as
its exclusive pursuit, forgetting the eternal need of
beauty in human life, if man is to be more than a human
mechanism, unmindful that starvation of the soul is
more fatal than starvation of the body.
Poetry rather than prose is the language of childhood,
Mother Goose is the child's first "liberating god."
But with Mother Goose the process of liberation is
[x] only begun. Systematically should it be continued,
throughout the whole period of education.
To facilitate the systematic use of poetry in the
classroom, The Child's Own Book of Verse has been
compiled. Attention is called to the fact that it is
the child's own book, not the teacher's, because the
child's interests have been a guiding principle of
selection. Variations in taste and in temperament have
prompted the inclusion of a wide variety of poems, not
always classic in quality, that every "open sesame"
to the great world of poetry might be offered.
The earliest appeal is to the ear through sound rhymes,
jingles, rhythm. In the next stage sound rhymes and
rhythm are connected with personal experience as in
imitative poems, such as "The Wind." Next have been
added poems in which thought plays an equal part with
sound and rhythms as in lullabies and pure lyrics.
These are followed by story-telling poems.
The Child's Own Book of Verse consists of three volumes
planned for use during the four primary years.
BOOK ONEis made up of sound rhymes, lyrics, and
BOOK TWP follows much the same plan. Less space is
given to sound rhymes and more to lyrics and longer
story-telling poems with the addition of a group of
short descriptive poems.
BOOK THREE has many of the features of the first and
second books, but it contains, in addition, a larger
[x] group of descriptive poems, and many of the longer
simple ballads are included.
It is hoped that by so constant and so thoughtful a use
pf verse as these volumes suggest there may result a
liberating of the sense of beauty, an instilling of an
abiding love of poetry, the interpreter of beauty, and,
it may be, a freeing of the power of poetic expression.