This post will not be as dramatic as the title sounds.
There I was, surfing along the internet, thinking that "The Cremation of Sam McGee" was just an obscure part of my strange childhood (well, no, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't thinking that when I ran across Kelly's post at Big A little a -- I wasn't thinking of Sam McGee at all, and haven't actually thought of him or Robert Service for years) when I encountered this book.
Strangely (almost twilight-zoneishly) I see that this poem has become a children's book. That it's been a children's book for 20 years. And that a 20th anniversary edition is now out. Well, now. Kelly gives it a fine review, and it does look as though it's beautifully illustrated. It even seems to be rather hip at the moment. But, as a child, I found this poem incomprehensible, frightening and bizarre. I can remember saying, "But Dad, if he's dead, why is he sitting up in the fire?" There was no one in this poem to whom I could relate (which was, to me, essential.) But then ... I'm a girl. As Becky points out in a comment on Kelly's post, Robert Service's poems are "a good way to get some poetry into boys." Yup.
I'm such a girl. I never really liked "Star Trek" either. Too many aliens to whom I couldn't relate. Sorry.