Stevenson was also a popular Victorian children's poet. In 1885, his now classic children's poetry anthology. A Child's Garden of Verses was published, and even today, several contemporary collections include his poems.
In the nineteenth century, much of the poetry intended for children tended to be religious in nature, with a clear intention of teaching morality lessons. In contrast, Stevenson wrote poems about everyday childhood topics & experiences like playing in the sand or having a pet. Of course, this is the norm today for children's poetry, but it's one of the reasons Stevenson's poems have remained popular for generations.
Although not as easily recognizable, metaphors can be similarly straightforward. (His bedroom is a garbage dump. Her skinny legs were matchsticks.)
But...metaphor can be so much more than just a one liner.
"The Land of Nod," is my probably my all around favorite exemplar poem for teaching metaphor because the entire poem acts as the metaphor. Going abroad to the Land of Nod is a metaphor for going to sleep...and it's one kids of any generation can relate to.
From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.
All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do--
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.
The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.
Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.
My Bed is a Boat by Robert Louis Stevenson
My bed is like a little boat;
Nurse helps me in when I embark;
She girds me in my sailor's coat
And starts me in the dark.
At night, I go on board and say
Good-night to all my friends on shore;
I shut my eyes and sail away
And see and hear no more.
And sometimes things to bed I take,
As prudent sailors have to do;
Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,
Perhaps a toy or two.
All night across the dark we steer;
But when the day returns at last,
Safe in my room, beside the pier,
I find my vessel fast.