For our together studies this year, we’ve been choosing from the books in Ambleside Online’s Year One. We haven’t been strictly following the schedule, but we’ve been modifying it to suit our family and our needs. We are loosely Charlotte Mason, but we are also very relaxed and interest-led, so we sometimes have a very different approach to our schooling, but each family is different, isn’t it? It’s been a very successful year, but somehow, it took us quite some time to get around to this year’s poetry selections.
However, I did want to expose the children to some of the different poets, so I dutifully bought The World of Christopher Robin to try with the children. For those unfamiliar with this collection of poems, this book combines two of A.A. Milne’s books of poetry, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, to paint an imaginative picture of the world for children that are very young on up to all of us adults who enjoy poetry.
The poems are wide-ranging, which makes this volume hard to describe. One minute you’re reading a poem such as, “Politeness,” where the narrator is wishing that everyone he encounters is not quite so eager to make polite conversation (it’s the classic introvert response to small talk). The next minute you’re reading a long story poem about a knight whose armor doesn’t squeak having his pride lowered by finding another knight whose armor does not squeak. Sir Tom is reduced to plotting to give the other knight rusty armor so that, once again, Tom is the only knight whose armor does not squeak.
To begin with, here are the kids’ opinions:
Ellie (age 6): Five stars. I loved it. I liked all the poems in Now We Are Six. My favorite poem is “The End.”
Connor (age 7): Two stars. I didn’t like this book that much. In one of the poems, he says he is the king of everything, but God is the king of everything. Also, he doesn’t know where wind comes from, and it’s stupid to even think of following a kite. You might end up in Africa. He acts like he doesn’t know anything.
Emalee (age 11): One star. I didn’t like it because I thought he acted like a spoiled, little brat in the poems. And, it felt like he had four different girlfriends throughout the poems.
Bennet (age 12): Five Stars. I really liked the little poems because I feel like they are unique. I haven’t read any other poems like them. I like the way they are organized.
My children have vastly different personalities, and as such, their opinions do differ widely. I personally found the poems to be delightful and felt that the children were more engaged in these poems than they have been with many of the poets that we have read together.