The author has been selective in this relatively brief biography of R.L.B., including the episodes in his childhood and later life most likely to interest youngsters. A spirited, if sickly boy, he knew that the lighthouse engineering, which was a family tradition, could never satisfy his imaginative nature. In telling of Stevenson's travels in Switzerland, the United States and the Pacific, and his residence until his death at , the author points out characters and incidents which figured in Stevenson's writings -- how he wrote Treasure Island for his stepson, Lloyd, and patterned John Silver after the appearance of the poet Henley. Stevenson's family were bostile to his marriage to the older Mrs. Osbourne. The defensive stand which Stevenson took to defend Father Damien of the leper colony is not included. The biography's chief strength is in showing the relationship between the real people who surrounded Stevenson and their effect on his imagination. Those children who come to this biography after reading Stevenson's works should find it satisfying, and those who have not encountered them should find this impetus toward major book experiences -- A Child's Garden Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.