Robert Frost’s familiar 1915 poem presents enigmatic choices for an elementary-age boy.
A red-haired elementary-age boy trekking through golden woods with a beagle comes to a place where “two roads diverged.” Wishing he could “travel both,” the boy studies one road and then chooses the less-worn path, opting to keep the other road for “another day,” knowing he’s unlikely to “ever come back” and taking the road “less traveled by” could “make all the difference.” Richly hued illustrations in a palette of yellows and blues rely on simple rounded shapes, flat patterns, varying perspectives, and single- and double-page spreads to provide a possible context for Frost’s spare verse. Dwarfed by stylized trees resembling giant yellow toadstools, the boy begins his journey wearing a striped hoodie, blue backpack, jeans, and red boots. An impressive treetop view shows boy and beagle confronting the diverging path, emphasizing the magnitude of choice. The boy picks up fallen leaves, ponders two unknown roads, selects a leaf for his backpack, and proceeds along his chosen path. As he journeys, scenes from his ensuing life unfold, carrying him from childhood to becoming a young man with a family and eventually an elderly man, still musing about the choice he made in the woods that indeed changed everything. Inexplicably, his hair darkens from red to brown with a single page turn, which is likely to befuddle more than one reader.
A favorite Frost poem reveals how serendipitous choice affects a lifetime. (Picture book. 4-8)