Friday, August 17, 2007

A Visit to William Blake's Inn (1982)

I love letting my visits to the library be dictated by stream of consciousness. Last weekend I took my boys to the main library branch. While they were occupied with the fish tank, checkers game, puzzle table and other distractions, I pursued my own interests.

On a recent car trip, I checked out the audio CD of "Judy Moody Declares Independence." The book is about a girl's family trip to Boston and includes a few lines from "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." I went to the library's poetry section to see if I could get a copy of the entire poem to read to the boys.

While in the poetry section, I browsed other titles. Because I'd recently read Sandy D.'s post about the book, "A Visit to William Blake's Inn" caught my eye. I checked it out, read it twice and have this to report:

It grew on me.

The first time through I thought the illustrations far outshone the writing. I was irritated with the author's presumption that the reader would be familiar with William Blake's poetry (I wasn't). I'm guessing the poems' various styles (?) were tribute to Blake's verses but without side to side comparisons, who's to know?

Then I read it a second time. Maybe it was being more comfortable with the rhyme schemes this time around, but I better saw how they interrelate to tell an overarching, albeit weird, story. I even liked a few of the poems (in particular, Blake Leads a Walk on the Milky Way").

I agree with Sandy that this is not a children's book. Or at least it's not a book I'd expect children to spend any time with.

As for me, especially for the low investment of time it required, I'm glad to have read it.


Sandy D. said...

For me, it definitely suffered in comparison to "Out of the Dust" and "Joyful Noise". And even Jack Prelutsky - who is a lot like Shel Silverstein.

Maybe if I hadn't read any other kids' poetry lately I would have liked it more.

Alicia said...

I actually checked out a bunch of poetry books at the same time: a kids book of Carl Sandberg poems (Grassland), another of Robert Frost's and a third about Baseball for my nine-year-old.

I have tried over and over reading poetry to the kids with fair to poor results. They do like Prelutsky, though.