IT is one of the most famous love poems of all time. Now romantic verse My Luve’s Like A Red, Red Rose – a tribute from a man to a woman – has been recast to capture the love between a parent and child in a new children’s book.
The release, which will hit book shops next week, puts a new spin on Robert Burns’s 1784 song, using watercolours by Indian illustrator Ruchi Mhasane to depict the relationship between a mother and daughter.
The pair are pictured in the garden, at home and on days out in the summer leading up to the girl’s first day at nursery.
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The everyday scenes are inspired by lines of the text, with the pair paddling at the coast and playing in a sandpit as Burns describes how his love will last “till a’ the seas gang dry” and “while the sand of life shall run”.
Floris Books – Scotland’s biggest independent children’s publisher – hopes the release will help parents “share the work of Scotland’s bard with very young children” and praised Mhasane’s “stunning” work. However, Mhasane had to draw on memories of her only ever trip to Scotland to create the scenes, which were inked from her “hot, bustling and colourful” home city of Mumbai.
She told The National: “I’ve been to Scotland once and was fortunate to stay at a Scottish friend’s and interact with his lovely family.
“Apart from some photographs and memories, I relied on information and suggestions kindly shared by the Floris team.”
Mhasane, who graduated from Cambridge School of Art, did not know the poem before starting the project, but has since become a Burns fan.
She said: “I knew of Robert Burns but was not familiar enough with his work to have an enlightened view of it. However, that also allowed me to approach the project with fresh eyes. It intrigued me and I’ve read many of his poems since then.
“I was immediately taken by the idea of presenting what was originally a more romantic poem as a poem about the love between a mother and child.
“Love presents itself in so many different ways and it is great if children witness it in different forms around them.
“In terms of the poem, it is just beautiful and I felt myself connect to it at once.”
Aimed at children aged two to five, the book will be published on Thursday. Sally Polson, senior commissioning editor at Floris Books, said: “Young children enjoy the rhythm and sound of language as well as the actual meaning of the words, which is why rhyming texts are so popular in picture books.
“We at Floris started thinking of classic poems that might work as picture book texts, and Burns seemed an obvious place to start.
“Of all Burns’ poems, we felt that this one had the potential to be enjoyed by a very young audience.”