1. The following is “The Land of Counterpane” by Robert Louis Stevenson:

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Which of the following options best explains the main purpose of the poem “The Land of Counterpane” by Robert Louis Stevenson?

A. To illustrate a child’s fertile imagination.
B. To tell a story of high adventure.
C. To show the journeys of a young child.
D. To build an understanding of physical malady.

2. The following is the poem “The Sun Travels” By Robert Louis Stevenson:

The sun is not a-bed, when I
At night upon my pillow lie;
Still round the earth his way he takes,
And morning after morning makes.

While here at home, in shining day,
We round the sunny garden play,
Each little Indian sleepy-head
Is being kissed and put to bed.

And when at eve I rise from tea,
Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea;
And all the children in the West
Are getting up and being dressed.

What is the main idea of the poem “The Sun Travels”?

A. Not all parts of the world are on the same time.
B. The daily routine of an ordinary child can be mundane.
C. The patterns of the sun and earth are predictable.
D. Cultural differences lead to differences in the time of day when people eat and sleep.

3. The following is the poem “The Moon” by Robert Louis Stevenson:

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and field and harbor quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

Which of the following is the main idea of the poem “The Moon”?

A. The moon looks over the night and observes all the bad things that are awake when the sun sets.
B. Nighttime is just as interesting and active as the day, but it belongs to different actors.
C. The moon, like a kindly woman, oversees her own distinct world while the world of day sleeps.
D. Some animals are active during the day and some animals are active at night.

4. The following is the poem “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson:

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

What is the purpose of the poem “The Swing”?

A. To describe the great swing of emotions which is common in a small child.
B. To show a child’s delight in the simple pleasure of riding a common swing.
C. To illustrate the beautiful view that is visible from great heights.
D. To describe the physical sensation often felt when riding a swing.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­5. A student, having read a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, claims that the children in the poem are peering into a river as they would a mirror. Which quotation from the poem most effectively illustrates the claim?

A. Smooth it glides upon its travel/ Here a wimple, there a gleam/ O the glean gravel/ O the smooth stream.
B. We can see our colored faces/ Floating on the shaken pool/ Down in cool places/ Dim and very cool;
C. Patience, children, just a minute/ See the spreading circles die/ The stream and all in it/ Will clear by-and-by.
D.  Sailing blossoms, silver fishes/ Paven pools as clear as air/ How a child wishes/ To live down there!

6. The following is the poem “From a Railway Carriage” by Robert Louis Stevenson:

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

Which choice best describes the function of the underlined portion in the text as a whole?

A. It describes the inability of the narrator to visualize the world around him.
B. It explains to the reader the energy of the child described later on in the poem.
C. It paints a picture of the “glimpse gone forever” that the narrator will later introduce.
D. It helps the reader realize that the poem is a description of the world from a fast-moving train.

7. The following is the poem “The Hayloft” by Robert Louis Stevenson:

Through all the pleasant meadow-side
The grass grew shoulder-high,
Till the shining scythes went far and wide
And cut it down to dry.

Those green and sweetly smelling crops
They led in wagons home;
And they piled them here in mountain tops
For mountaineers to roam.

Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail, Mount Eagle and Mount High;—
The mice that in these mountains dwell,
No happier are than I!

Oh, what a joy to clamber there,
Oh, what a place for play,
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
The happy hills of hay!

According to the text, what is it that Mount Clear, Mont Rusty-Nail, Mount Eagle, and Mount High are made from?
A. The homes of mice.
B. The shoulder high grass, growing in the meadows
C. The imagination of a child
D. The dried hay.

8. “The Unseen Playmate” is a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Having read the poem to her class, a teacher claims that the playmate described in the poem is only present when children play by themselves. What quotation from “The Unseen Playmate” most effectively illustrates the claim?

A.  Nobody heard him and nobody saw/ His is a picture you never could draw.
B. Tis he that inhabits the caves that you dig/ ‘Tis he when you play with your soldiers of tin/ That sides with the Frenchmen and never can win.
C. When children are happy and lonely and good/ The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.
D. When’er you are happy and cannot tell why/ The Friend of the Children is sure to be by!

9. “My Kingdom” is a poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson. After reading it, a class is confused as to whether the kingdom is literal. A student claims that it is figurative. Which quotation from “My Kingdom” most effectively illustrates the claim?

A. I played there were no deeper seas/ Nor any wider plains than these/ Nor other kings than me.
B. Down by a shining water well/ I found a very little dell
C. This was the world and I was king/ For me the bees came by to sing
D. How very big my nurse appeared/ How great and cool the rooms!

10.“My Treasures” is a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Having read it, a child claims that the narrator’s treasures are just pointless pieces of nature. Which quotation from “My Treasures” most effectively disproves this claim?

A. The stone, with the white and the yellow and grey/ We discovered I cannot tell how far away;
B. This whistle we made (and how clearly it sounds)/ By the side of a field at the end of the grounds/ of a branch of a plane, with a knife of my own
C. But of all my treasures the last is the king/ For there’s very few children possess such a thing/ And that is a chisel, both handle and blade.
D. And I carried it back, although weary and cold/ For though father denies it, I’m sure it is gold.

Answer Explanations

  1. A.  The poem tells of a child who, though sick, still explores a vast imaginary land complete with soldiers, ships, cities, and countryside. It is an exploration of imagination. The things described are not literal, so it is not answer B or C. The poem mentions physical malady only once, and it is not the main focus or purpose, so it is not D.
  2. A. In the poem, we read the reflections of a child who points out that as he or she does each of his or her daily tasks, other people in other parts of the world will be doing something else as it is different times of day in different places. This best fits with answer option A. Answer option B is incorrect as it does not address different parts of the world. Answer option C is incorrect because, while the earth and sun are mentioned, discussing them is not the main idea. Option D is incorrect as it is not because of cultural differences that people do things at different times, it is because of their varying geography.
  3. C. Notice how the poem personifies the moon, giving it a face, calling it “she”. In addition, the poem points out the normally active parts of the day that are quiet at night and vice versa. The poem is painting an image of a different world, that only comes to life under the watchful eye of the moon. This makes option C the best answer. Option A is incorrect as there is no evidence that there are many bad things at night (even though the poem mentions thieves). Option B is incorrect as it neglects to mention the moon. Option D is incorrect as it is a description of one thing the poem mentions, but fails to show the bigger main idea.
  4. B.  In the first stanza, the narrator says that riding a swing is “the pleasantest thing/ever a child can do”. He goes on to describe the pleasantness, joy, and delights of such a ride. This makes option B the best answer. The narrator does not describe the physical sensations that he feels, making option D incorrect. Emotions are not discussed, making option A incorrect. While the narrator does describe the incredible view, this is not the main purpose of the passage, but rather, just part of the evidence proving why he delights in riding a swing.
  5. B. Answer options A, C, and D all give evidence that the narrator or child is near a river, or even looking at a river; however, only option B gives evidence that they are using the river as a mirror. The evidence states that they can see their faces floating on the water. This makes B the best proof of the claim that they are “peering into a river as they would a mirror.”
  6. D. The underlined portion essentially says that “stations” are whizzing by “in the wink of an eye”. This is what leads the reader to realize that the narrator is on a train, traveling at quick speeds. This brings the rest of the poem into focus as the reader realizes it’s a description of all the things zipping past outside the windows. Without the underlined portion, the poem makes no sense. This makes option D the best answer. The other options don’t capture what the underlined portion is saying, but rather connect it to singular details elsewhere in the poem, not to the poem as a whole.
  7. D. We see in the poem that the shoulder-high grass is cut down (with scythes) and dried before being transported in wagons and then piled high into the mountains of hay on which the narrator plays. The grass is therefore not still growing in the meadows, making option B incorrect. The hills of hay contain mice, but are not made up of mice homes, making option A incorrect. The hills are literal stacks of hay, making option C incorrect.
  8. C. The teacher claims that the playmate only emerges when children play by themselves, or when they are alone. Option C clearly states that when children are lonely, the Friend of the Children (the unseen playmate) emerges. The other options all describe him in one way or another, but they don’t clarify that he only comes to play when a child is alone.
  9. A. A literal kingdom would be a country that is actually ruled over by a monarch. The question asks for evidence that this is not literal, but rather figurative, in other words, that the “kingdom” is not real. Answer option A best fits this description by showing that this is all play. The narrator is “playing” or pretending that he is the only king over deep seas and wide plains. Answer option B could be literal or figurative. Answer C has some figurative language in the bees singing, but does not prove that the narrator is not a literal king with a literal kingdom. Option D gives no evidence of a literal or figurative kingdom.
  10. C.  The question is a bit different in that is asks you to disprove a claim. We are therefore looking for evidence that not all the narrator’s treasures are pointless pieces of nature. Choice A describes a treasure which is a rock. Choice B describes a treasure which is a whistle made of a branch. Both these could be described as pointless pieces of nature. Choice C, however, is a man-made object. This, as a treasure, disproves the claim that all the treasures are pieces of nature.

If you’d like to read more poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson, you can explore his work on Project Gutenberg. Below is a link to the book from which each of these poems was taken.


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