Lesson 1: How Doth the Little Crocodile

By: Lewis Carroll

Week: 1

A crocodile bathes in the Nile River and eats little fishes.

Lesson 2: The Walrus and The Carpenter Stanzas 1-9

By: Lewis Carroll

Week: 2

The sun shines in the middle of the night as the Walrus and the Carpenter walk along the beach and discuss how to remove all the sand. The Walrus and the Carpenter invite the Oysters to walk with them. The eldest Oyster refuses, but many other Oysters agree.

Lesson 3: The Walrus and The Carpenter Stanzas 10-18

By: Lewis Carroll

Week: 3

The Walrus, the Carpenter, and the Oysters walk on the beach. When the Walrus mentions needing pepper and vinegar, condiments used to season oysters, the oysters worry they are about to be eaten. At the end of the poem, the Carpenter asks the Oysters if they wish to return home, but no Oysters answer. The Walrus and Carpenter have eaten them all.

Lesson 4: Christmas Greetings

By: Lewis Carroll

Week: 4

The narrator speaks to a lady and asks fairies to put aside trickery and embrace the holiday spirit of peace and goodwill. The narrator wishes the lady a merry Christmas and a glad New Year.

Lesson 5: Beautiful Soup

By: Lewis Carroll

Week: 4

The narrator describes his love of beautiful, green soup served in a hot tureen.

Lesson 6: A Life Lesson

By: James Whitcomb Riley

Week: 5

The poem moves through difficulties faced by a girl as she grows up. The narrator reminds the girl that her troubles are temporary and that better days are ahead.

Lesson 7: The Raggedy Man Stanzas 1-4

By: James Whitcomb Riley

Week: 6

The poem describes a farm worker that the boyish narrator calls 'The Raggedy Man.' The kind farm worker performs tasks around the narrator's childhood farm, such as feeding the animals, chopping wood, and working in the garden. The Raggedy Man also climbs trees, picks apples, and plays horsey with the children. 'The Raggedy Man' is based on a real person, a German worker hired by James Whitcomb Riley's father.

Lesson 8: The Raggedy Man Stanzas 5-8

By: James Whitcomb Riley

Week: 7

The poem describes a farm worker that the boyish narrator calls 'The Raggedy Man.' In the second half of the poem, The Raggedy Man tells rhymes and tales of giants, pretends pigs are bears and his hoe is a bear-shooter, and plays games of kings and robbers. The Raggedy Man asks the narrator if he will be a rich merchant like his father. Instead, the narrator aspires to be a nice Raggedy Man. 'The Raggedy Man' is based on a real person, a German worker hired by James Whitcomb Riley's father.

Lesson 9: Little Orphant Annie

By: James Whitcomb Riley

Week: 8

An orphan named Annie comes to live with the young narrators of the poem. Annie gathers the children around the fire and tells spooky tales of goblins that come for children who disobey their parents and teachers and don't help the needy.

Lesson 10: When the Frost is on the Punkin

By: James Whitcomb Riley

Week: 9

The poem praises the sights, sounds, sensations, and foods of farm life during the autumn season.

Lesson 11: Hunting Weather

By: Mary Austin

Week: 10

The poem lists animal behaviors that signify the beginning of hunting weather.

Lesson 12: Signs of Spring

By: Mary Austin

Week: 10

The poem describes flowers growing, blackbirds and sparrows in trees and bushes, budding orchard trees, green things growing, poppies blooming, and woolly clouds creeping.

Lesson 13: The Sandhill Crane

By: Mary Austin

Week: 11

When the frogs and fishes hear the sandhill crane coming, they hide to save their lives.

Lesson 14: Blue-Eyed Grass

By: Mary Austin

Week: 12

The poem describes the sights and sounds that signify the arrival of summer.

Lesson 15: Prairie-Dog Town

By: Mary Austin

Week: 13

Peter Prairie-Dog builds an underground house in Prairie-Dog Town. His underground house is dark and quiet. To protect himself and his home, he stays still and upright like a stick when he sees anyone above ground.

Lesson 16: Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

By: Eugene Field

Week: 14

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod ride in a wooden shoe to fish in a beautiful sea. In the final stanza, the poem reveals Wynken and Blynken are the eyes of a sleeping child, Nod is the child's head, and the wooden shoe is the child's trundle-bed.

Lesson 17: Japanese Lullaby

By: Eugene Field

Week: 15

A lullaby poem describes the beauty of the night and encourages 'little pigeons' to sleep.

Lesson 18: The Sugar Plum Tree

By: Eugene Field

Week: 16

The lovely Sugar-Plum Tree grows delicious sweets that make children happy. The tree is too tall for people to reach the candy. To get the candy, people must ask the gingerbread dog below the tree to bark, which scares the chocolate cat in the tree into knocking down the candy.

Lesson 19: The Duel

By: Eugene Field

Week: 17

An old Dutch clock and Chinese plate tell the narrator a terrible tale about a battle between a gingham dog and a calico cat. Neither the cat nor the dog win their fight. Instead, both the dog and cat disappear forever, having eaten each other up.

Lesson 20: Jest 'Fore Christmas

By: Eugene Field

Week: 18

The poem narrator discusses how he is a mischievous troublemaker throughout the year with one exception - he's extra good right before Christmas to ensure he receives presents under the tree.

Lesson 21: Fifteen Men on the Dead Man's Chest

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

Week: 19

The poem is a sea song from Robert Louis Stevenson's book 'Treasure Island.' For many years, no one knew what Stevenson meant by the song. The hypothesis offered in "Geographical", a publication of the Royal Geographical Society, is that the famous pirate Blackbeard marooned his misbehaving crew on the island of Dead Man's Chest in the British Virgin Islands [1]. Blackbeard gave each crew member a bottle of rum and a sword. The island had little water or food. Blackbeard hoped the men would die, but when Blackbeard returned thirty days later, fifteen the men were still alive.

Lesson 22: A Good Boy

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

Week: 19

The poem describes a day in the life of a happy boy.

Lesson 23: Windy Nights

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

Week: 20

The poem describes a man galloping back and forth during the night.

Lesson 24: The Swing

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

Week: 20

The poem describes the feelings and sights experienced when swinging through the air.

Lesson 25: My Shadow

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

Week: 21

The poem describes a child's observations of their shadow, which changes throughout the day and night.

Lesson 26: Solitude

By: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Week: 22

The poem states people gravitate to those who are happy and shun those who are sad.

Lesson 27: A Fable

By: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Week: 23

A gossiping group of jealous birds meets to discuss reprimanding a majestic eagle that they feel soars too high in the sky. The eagle pays no mind and continues to soar through the sky.

Lesson 28: Sunset

By: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Week: 24

The poem personifies 'day' (writes as if 'day' is a person). Day lowers a lamp (the sun) over the edge of the world (the horizon) at sunset.

Lesson 29: A March Snow

By: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Week: 25

The narrator asks that the dirty March snow be covered in a white sheet of new snow. The narrator asks that their own mistakes be similarly covered in a white sheet of repentance.

Lesson 30: The Tiger

By: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Week: 26

A hunter finds a sleeping tiger, but the tiger awakens before the hunter can shoot. The tiger crouches to spring at the hunter. We don't know the hunter's fate, but we can guess, as the poem warns of the tiger that has tasted human flesh. Note to instructors: The poem/tiger is symbolic of passion (e.g. 'jungle of the senses' in line 1), but we will treat the poem characters, places, and events literally for the little ones.

Lesson 31: The Fisherman

By: Abbie Farwell Brown

Week: 27

The poem describes a fisherman with curious eyes who lives half upon the shore and half upon the sea.

Lesson 32: Friends

By: Abbie Farwell Brown

Week: 28

The narrator describes their Friends, the Sky, the Sunshine, and the Wind.

Lesson 33: The Faithless Flowers

By: Abbie Farwell Brown

Week: 29

The narrator wonders why flowers don't live up to their names. Johnny-Jump-Ups don't jump. Golden-Glows don't glow. Bouncing Bets don’t bounce. Tiger-lilies aren't fierce like tigers. Dogwoods aren't like dogs. Bulrushes aren't like bulls. Toadworts aren't like frogs.

Lesson 34: Baby’s Valentine

By: Abbie Farwell Brown

Week: 30

The narrator describes their love and adoration for a baby. The narrator promises to clothe the baby in beautiful flowers and set the baby on a flower throne. The narrator says bugs will worship the baby. It is unclear whether the ode is to a human baby or perhaps a fairy baby.

Lesson 35: A Tryst

By: Abbie Farwell Brown

Week: 31

The narrator promises to meet the sun at dawn the following day, watches the sun set, and goes to bed.

Lesson 36: There Will Come Soft Rains

By: Sara Teasdale

Week: 32

The poem ponders the importance of humankind to the rain, the animals, the plants, and the passing seasons.

Lesson 37: Barter

By: Sara Teasdale

Week: 33

The poem advises us to spend all we have on the loveliness and peace life is selling.

Lesson 38: Let It Be Forgotten

By: Sara Teasdale

Week: 34

The poem asks that something be forgotten like faded flowers, extinguished fires, or the sound of a footstep in a long ago melted snow.

Lesson 39: May Day

By: Sara Teasdale

Week: 35

The poem describes the sights, sensations, smells, and sounds of the first day in May. The melancholy narrator wonders if they will ever see another first of May again.

Lesson 40: Wishes

By: Sara Teasdale

Week: 36

The child narrator enjoys wishing for a kitty and a blue balloon, even though they know their wishes will probably not come true.