‘January is not only an opportunity to remember Burns, but to reflect and reconsider Burns’ work’
It’s only a week to go till Burns Night arrives amid a flurry of haggis and tartan, whisky and poetry. Perhaps some of our readers are seasoned bards themselves, able to recite Tam O Shanter backwards and know a mouse from a louse when they see one. Or perhaps you’ve never encountered the Scottish bard before? Whatever your feelings about Burns, Scotland’s most famous writer has endured unfalteringly in the national conscience of the Scottish people for over 250 years. From Edinburgh to Aberdeen and from the West Coast to the East Coast, countless school children have been reading and reciting the poetry of Rabbie Burns in the run-up to January 25th.
However, January is not only an opportunity to remember Burns, but to reflect and reconsider Burns’ work in a new light, something which the Floris Books edition of My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose sets out to do.
In this beautifully illustrated picture-book version of Burns’ classic poem, the lyrics have been re-imagined to explore the special love between a parent and their child, specifically a mother and her daughter. Featuring everyday scenes, from playing in a garden to splashing in the sea, each scene is inspired by Burns’ original, eloquent words.
With delightful, heart-warming illustrations by Ruchi Mhasane (illustrator of The Selkie Girl), this new edition of the famous poem reveals the multi-layered depth of meaning that can be found in Burns’ verse and how different readings of the poem can enhance our understanding and appreciation of Burns as a writer.
It’s clear that the team at Floris Books, based in Edinburgh, are all hugely passionate about the work of Robert Burns and believe that it’s valuable and relevant to share his work with children from a young age. In resituating the classic romantic verse of Red, Red Rose within the context of familial love and the everyday, this new edition encourages children to enjoy poetry and books, including the Classics, whilst offering parents a way of expressing their love for their children.
We asked Senior Commissioning Editor, Sally Polson, where the idea for this new edition of the classic poem came from. “The inspiration emerged from observing how young children respond to the rhythm and repetition of poetry. Though they may not fully understand the content, these literary devices enable them to enjoy classic poetry that may at first have seemed too challenging. This led us to thinking about how the context of this poem could be changed to reflect the lives of young children and parents, without altering the words and their message about the intensity of unconditional love. As with many of Burns’ poems, this poem originated as a song, so the rhythm, use of repetition and strong imagery make it ideal for a picture book adaptation for young children.”
Asking the team how they felt about publishing this new edition of Burns’ poem, they said, “We believe it’s important to keep revisiting classic works and providing alternative perspectives. Many of us, in the office, have children ourselves and empathise with this re-reading of the original poem, which we feel is just as valid as the more traditional interpretation of romantic love. This book will allow parents and their children to rediscover Burns in a completely new way, meanwhile nurturing the next generation of readers and writers. By introducing young readers to writers like Burns at an early stage in their lives, we’re opening the door to a wealth of literature, culture and ideas.”
Finally, we ask the team whether they’ll be reciting any Burns for Burns Night. Unsurprisingly from this proudly Scottish publisher the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” However, as the team have proved, Burns is not just for one night only. In fact, My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose is an ideal gift for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day and one that ought to be treasured throughout the year.
My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose is available from Floris Books priced £6.99.