Over the River and Through the Wood is the first and only collection of its kind, offering readers an unequaled view of the quality and diversity of nineteenth-century American children’s poetry. Most American poets wrote for children—from famous names such as Ralph Waldo Emerson to less familiar figures like Christina Moody, an African American author who published her first book at sixteen. In its excellence, relevance, and abundance, much of this work rivals or surpasses poetry written for adults, yet it has languished—inaccessible and unread—in old periodicals, gift books, and primers. This groundbreaking anthology remedies that loss, presenting material that is both critical to the tradition of American poetry and also a delight to read.
Complemented by period illustrations, this definitive collection includes work by poets from all geographical regions, as well as rarely seen poems by immigrant and ethnic writers and by children themselves. Karen L. Kilcup and Angela Sorby have combed the archives to present an extensive selection of rediscoveries along with traditional favorites. By turns playful, contemplative, humorous, and subversive, these poems appeal to modern sensibilities while giving scholars a revised picture of the nineteenth-century literary landscape