The Wandering Poet earns its way by relating Wordsworth's life and work--scenes from youthful walking trips, his enthusiasm for the French Revolution and later strong affection for England are related to excerpts from the verse. Still, though Bober touches all the bases here, the prose is less than sparkling--""William and Coleridge had much in common, although there were many ways in which the two were different."" Nor are the insights particularly acute. Bober takes so many pains to justify William's actions that we are left with a rather idealized version of the man, and having made Dorothy appear quite selfless and sensible, Bober surprises us by noting that she was ""too distraught"" to attend her brother's wedding. In addition her habit of giving us sneak previews of works and events to come makes the chronology confusing at times. Seen Manley's biography (KR, 1974) does somewhat better with the personal dynamics of the William-Dorothy-Coleridge circle. Though if, in addition to the shelves of adult material available, a specifically juvenile as well as broader-gauged treatment is needed, this does the job acceptably.