A Visit to William Blake's Inn Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers

by Nancy Willard

Hardcover, 1981



Call number

811.54 Wil

Call number

811.54 Wil

Local notes

811.54 Wi




Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich (1981), Paperback


A collection of poems describing the curious menagerie of guests who arrive at William Blake's inn.


National Book Award (Finalist — 1982)
Caldecott Medal (Honor Book — 1982)
Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Winner — Picture Book — 1982)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 1983)
Newbery Medal (Medal Winner — 1982)
Golden Kite Award (Honor — 1982)
CCBC Choices (Poetry — 1981)


Original publication date


Physical description

9.8 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member elenchus
Willard somehow manages to capture the ideal of William Blake without directly borrowing anything specific from his poems, that I could discern. (I didn't have Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience at my elbow, and probably should have.) Some reviewers indicate the poems are revisions of
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Blake's, others they are merely inspired by Blake's own: need to confirm.

Reminiscent of Master Snickup's Cloak in that the immediate impression of weight or innovation can't be pinned down to anything in particular, but still I'm left thinking this is something pretty special. Though with Snickup, it was primarily the art work, and with Willard it's both her poetry and the Provensen's artwork.

Willard brings in whimsical animal characters, who interact and speak with people, but again, the effect is not so much Pooh or Seuss or Peter Pan ... more a Mona Lisa smile than a laugh or snicker. As of a world-weary adult reminding themselves of the importance of magic, and imagination. For example, a Tiger features throughout, with Tyger, tyger burning bright quoted in the forward, but nothing more is done to link them, apart from keeping the Tiger's antics from becoming overly quaint or cutesy.

Written longer ago than first I thought: 1981, winning Caldecott and Newbery awards for 1982. Perhaps recently reprinted as it surfaced more than once in the last year for me.
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LibraryThing member juliette07
This was one of the first Newbery winners I wanted to get hold of. I loved the idea of reading this book but was disappointed. It seems to me that it is a book written with a view to adults enjoying it. I wondered if there is an element of the time in which it was written. I am certain my young
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children would not have been at all captivated by this book in the 1980s. The illustrations were interesting but again not, in my opinion aimed at young readers. I worked hard to re read the rhymes and look more carefully at the illustrations but sadly came to the conclusion that this is not a book I would recommend.
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LibraryThing member goodnightmoon
I love the idea of this book, but I found the actual poems inaccessible. I could see a younger child enjoying the dreaminess of the pictures, but the poems themselves have difficult syntax and strange premises - too complex to be enjoyed by an older child.
LibraryThing member DushiyanthiMcCarley
The book is a collection of poems about William Blakes Inn. The poems were written two hundred years ago by William Blake. The poems all deal with travellers who come to the Inn, and the Inn is run by two dragons, two angeles and a rabiit. Some of the guests include the man in the marmalade hat,
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the king of cats, and two sunflowers who request a "room with a view".

I liked this book because the poems were simple and humourous. There were lots of pictures that helped iilustrated the poems, so for young children who may not be interested in poetry this will could keep their attetion.

Extension ideas 1. In the classroom after reading this book I would have the students write about four lines of their own poem. It does not have to be something long, but something simple for children to enjoy writting.
2. I would read one of the poems in the book without showing them the picture and have the students paint a picture by themselves of what we read.
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LibraryThing member meallen1
This book is fictional because it is a story about a traveler. The art in this book is hand drawings that are colored. The content includes poems about the life at an imiginary inn called William Blake's Inn. Animals like dragons, cats, and rabbits all work at the Inn. The reading level is fifth
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grade. The curricular connection is that is is a fictional story.
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LibraryThing member malinacoulter
This is a book of poems about a magical Inn owned by William Blake. Each poem tells a story abput one of the travelers that is staying there. Many different animals are staying at the Inn as well.

This is a good collection of poetry. Each poem is easy to read and follow. They also have lots of magic
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and adventure added into each of them. The illustrations that go along with each poem helps tell the story as well.

I would like for the students to write their own book of poetry to go along with William Blakes. I would also like to read another book of poetry aloud to the students and have them compare and contrast the books of poetry.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Am I missing something? Why in the world was this book chosen for the Newbery? What do any of these poems have to do with William Blake? Did he have an inn? If he did not have a real inn, what is meant by his imaginary inn? Tedious. Boring, boring, boring.I must find someone who loves this book to
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share what he loves about it.
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LibraryThing member Melanielooper
This was a poem book about William Blake's Inn. Through the poems different stories were told about the creatures of William Blake's Inn. There was a rabbit who showed the boy to his room, he slept on a bear, he took a walk with William Blake in the Milky Way Galaxy with a rabbit, a tiger, a rat,
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and a cat.

This was a very cute book. Like I said before, the poems each told a story about the characters. The author also took some everyday sayings and made them very literal to the characters. For example, the cat had breakfast "on the house" and illustrated was the cat eating breakfast on top of the house.

In the classroom, I could have the children write a poem. We could also discuss some of the places they went, such as the milky way.
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LibraryThing member mildred981
A visit to William Blakes End is a group of magical poems about life in a imaganery inn, ran by William Blake. The inn is staffed with two dragons, two angels, and a rabbit whom do human like tasks. Throughout the story theres funny phrases that will keep young children entertained. Such as "His
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wife not to grow fat like a common kitchen cat and two sunflowers who demand a room with a view."

This a a very wonderful group of poems, that are vividly illustratred to help unfold the story. If you love animals this will be a great book for you.

A fun activity to do with this book, would be to have your class put on a play with puppets two react the poems. Also, you can have class find rhyming words to fit in poem.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
What a fun collection of poems inspired by William Blake. There is a feeling of whimsy and definite references to Mr. Blake's poems. The illustrations are particularly nice.
LibraryThing member Lindsey_Mcdowell
This book is filled with Poems about William Blake and his Inn. Which he runs and owns, he has two dragons that cook the food, and two angels that clean all the linens.

Personal Reaction
I really liked the book, the poems were all so magical and enchanting. I thought the pictures in the book
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were amazing even though they were older i thought they were perfectly fitting for the poems.

Classroom Extension
1. This poems are so Imaginative that i think they would be great to read to the class and have the children all illustrate a part of the poem.

2. you could also read the children a poem out of the book and have them all write their own somewhat like it.
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LibraryThing member manich01
This delightful collection of Romantic poems, revisions from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, are nonsense (or philosophy, in disguise!) sure to spark the imagination. Use this as an introduction to the traits of Romantic writing, including formal meter & rhyme, mood, and
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symbolism as well as intuition and the sublime.
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LibraryThing member krystalramirez
Summary: Many poems, almost every poem refers to an animal in some way, either how an animal sounds, what it does, or what it is. Newbery award winner.

Personal reaction: I liked this book of poems. There are several different stories told through these poems.

Classroom extensions
1) Every child can
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write a poem and create a classroom poem book.
2) Read 1 poem at a time and draw pictures that we see in our minds as we read the different stories.
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LibraryThing member abrinkman
I was pleasantly surprised by the whimsical poetic take on William Blake and his poetry that Nancy Willard achieved in A Visit to William Blake's Inn. While the book captured the essence of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, "Tyger, Tyger, Burning bright...", Willard magically
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enhanced them for a child's introduction to those works with playful beasts, the poet as the master of majestic inn, and easily accessible poetry in four line stanzas with rhyming couplets.
For example:
Two mighty dragons brew and bake
and many are the loaves they've burned
and are the spits they've turned
and many those who stop and break
their joyful bread with William Blake.

The musical quality of Nancy Willard's poetry is delightful to read aloud and the illustrations that usually encompass the full two page layout are detailed water color line drawings which capture the dress and architecture of the romantic period. The book is rather long, forty-five pages, but Willard broke up individuals poems under pseudo (perhaps) chapter titles, thus giving the reader the ability to stop after one or at least to break up the book into shorter reading sessions.

What I find so interesting about this book and would use in the classroom, especially a high school one, is the way in which she was able to take a nearly two hundred year old, sometimes very complicated to understand poetry, and put them into a new format. The assignment: To take a poem (and everyone would have the same poem) and have to create a poem in response. The response could by translating the poem into modern english or rap, or creating a conversational response as Ralegh did to Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to his love. The assignment would not only force the students to examine the poem closely, it would also hopefully give them a sense that they were in control of it and thus alleviating any fear they have to reading or examining poems. Nancy Willard's A Visit to William Blake's Inn could stand as a wonderful example of one way to create a response - by making an assigned poem into a children's poem.
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LibraryThing member blossomfairy
This book has an intro from the author and how she found out about William Blake which was through her babysitter at the age of seven. Nancy receives a little book in the mail titled Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience by William Blake and that is the reason she became writing a
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collection of rhyming poems describing the entire life and events of William Blake.

Personal Reaction:
The pictures are just amazing and how each poem illustrates them very well so that the children can understand it clearly and better and I enjoyed this so much that it has been a favorite of mine especially for earning the Newberry and Caldecott award.

Classroom Extension:
1. The children can write their own rhyming poem about a specific event that happened in their life.
2. They can choose their most favorite poem individually and present it to the class why they liked it the best.
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LibraryThing member Desirichter
Wonderful Illustrations steal the show in this book of poems, animated by animals from Blakes own poems.
LibraryThing member atinney16
Summary: The rthymic patterns that are shown in this book bring the characters to life in Blake's Inn and all the guest who are apart of the inn. There are many animals in this story such as a dragon, a cat, a rabbit, and theres even a King of the Cats. the color markings used in this storya re
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different because they appear to be from the 18th century to represent the inn.
Personal Experience: It was great to read a story that had such an imagination and such a broad part of illustrations. Reflections from this time on the illustrations would help a child see the difference in the 18th cnetury and todays time.
Reflection: Have students draw their own "inn" with their name and imaginative characters. They could use painting/colors to represent the 18th century.
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LibraryThing member lbblackwell
Inspired by William Blake's poetry, Nancy Willard creates an imaginary inn that Blake himself runs. With fantastic images accompanying them, her poems tell the stories of the travelers who visit the inn. Great allusions to Blake's Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence.
LibraryThing member jcarroll12
Awesome introduction to William Blake's biography and his poetry! Although I do not teach this poet in my curriculum, I would love to share this with the British lit teachers who often express how Blake can be challenging.
LibraryThing member acahil3
This collection of poems is inspired by William Blake's "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience." The poems reflect Blake's imaginary inn and all of the unusual guests that come to stay.
Willard uses the genre of poetry when targeting the interests of travelers. William Blake
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and his inn is a common topic that many readers of the targeted age group are familiar with, and therefore they are able to hear this story through a different genre than it is usually portrayed.
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LibraryThing member SusieDell
Summary: This is a book of poem, mainly about animals,cats, tigers and a rabbit. Each poem has a William Blake title like" The wise Cow Enjoys A cloud." The cow is asked where did he sleep last night, where did he lay his head? Some of the poem like the cow one is rhyming, but a few of the are
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Personal reaction: I would say this is one of those classic books of poems. The rhyming ones was fun. I did like some of the pictures, because they made it easy to understand the poem.
Extension: I would use this book in the classroom to teach on the different styles of poetry, and really use the pictures for examples for the younger ones to look at. I would also encourage the students to write poems that they can make up and call their on style.
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LibraryThing member thornton37814
This Newbery-winning and Caldecott finalist collection of poetry honors poet William Blake. Many of the poems reference Blake's poems so it is probably most appreciated by those familiar with his poetry. The author's set-up is an inn honoring the bard, visited by various persons and animals. It
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makes me want to pick up Blake's work to read in the near future, possibly for poetry month in April.
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LibraryThing member trinker
Asher and I have declared this book to be "cozy". High praise from both of us.
LibraryThing member r13
A rare double ... Newbery and Caldecott medals. This is my favorite book for new parents, with the inscription "Bedtime reading need never be boring." Great for showing that even published authors imitate other authors' writing.
LibraryThing member Whisper1
It is rare to win both the Newberry Medal Award and a Caldecott Honor Award for the same book.
Well worth the accolades, this book is lushly illustrated with a silly manner that keeps the readers attention while smiling at the creativity. In addition, well-written poems in the style of William Blake
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hold the readers interest. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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½ (126 ratings; 3.8)
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