The title of Frost’s earliest collection of poems was A Boy’s Will (1913), and his poems are included in school readers and considered appropriate reading for children. When You Come Too was published, Frost was a great-grandfather, yet he was not a writer of children’s verse nor as grandfatherly and benign as he looked.
Although Frost did write many lovely descriptions of nature (“A Hillside Thaw”), some humorous verses (“The Rose Family”), and even a few romantic sonnets (“Never Again Would Birds’ Song Be the Same”), he also wrote of “boughten friendships,” despair, and death. The same man who wrote, in “The Pasture,” “I’m going out to fetch the little calf/ That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young/ It totters when she licks it with her tongue” also wrote, in “Desert Places,” “They cannot scare me with their empty spaces/ Between stars—on stars where no human race is./ I have it in me so much nearer home/ To scare myself with my own desert places.” This reality is represented in You Come Too, which includes some dark and disturbing poems. “Departmental” describes death in the ant world; “Death of the Hired Man,” the last hours of an old farmworker; and “Fire and Ice,” the destruction of the world. “Good Hours” and “Acquainted with the Night” communicate loneliness and alienation.
Many other poems in the collection present to readers ideas that seem to ask—as Cox suggests in the foreword—to be invited in while one gets to know them. In “Birches,” the reader is prompted to contemplate the tension between the pleasures of earthly life and longings for Heaven. In “The Tuft of Flowers,” the reader must puzzle out the meaning of Frost’s concluding couplet: “‘Men work together,’ I told him from the heart,/ ‘Whether they work together or apart.’ ” In “Two Tramps in Mud Time” is another work idea: “My object in living is to unite/ My avocation and my vocation/ As my two eyes make one in...
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That Robert Frost participated in the selection of the poems commends You Come Too, which is still widely available in libraries. The continuing popularity of Frost’s poetry among children and young adults is suggested by Henry Holt’s publication of two subsequent collections in their Books for Young Readers series: Birches (1988) and Christmas Trees (1990).
Among more recent collections of Frost’s poems, one of the best is Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost (1994), edited by Gary D. Schmidt with watercolor illustrations by Henri Sorenson. The poems are organized by seasons, and almost half of them are among those found in You Come Too. This collection also includes a biographical-critical essay on Frost and New England life, as well as a few brief helpful notes on the poems. A discussion of books of Frost’s poems for young readers would be incomplete without mentioning Susan Jeffers’ beautifully illustrated Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (1978). Nevertheless, You Come Too remains the standard collection of Frost’s poems for children and young adults.