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The Bad Child's Book of Beasts   By: (1870-1953)

Book cover

First Page:



Verses by H. BELLOC

Pictures by B. T. B.


Child! do not throw this book about; Refrain from the unholy pleasure Of cutting all the pictures out! Preserve it as your chiefest treasure.

Child, have you never heard it said That you are heir to all the ages? Why, then, your hands were never made To tear these beautiful thick pages!

Your little hands were made to take The better things and leave the worse ones. They also may be used to shake The Massive Paws of Elder Persons.

And when your prayers complete the day, Darling, your little tiny hands Were also made, I think, to pray For men that lose their fairylands.

Made and Printed in Great Britain by The Camelot Press Limited, London and Southampton



Master EVELYN BELL Of Oxford

Evelyn Bell, I love you well.



I CALL you bad, my little child, Upon the title page, Because a manner rude and wild Is common at your age.

The Moral of this priceless work (If rightly understood) Will make you from a little Turk Unnaturally good.

Do not as evil children do, Who on the slightest grounds Will imitate the Kangaroo, With wild unmeaning bounds:


Do not as children badly bred, Who eat like little Hogs, And when they have to go to bed Will whine like Puppy Dogs:

Who take their manners from the Ape, Their habits from the Bear, Indulge the loud unseemly jape, And never brush their hair.

But so control your actions that Your friends may all repeat. 'This child is dainty as the Cat, And as the Owl discreet.'


The Yak


As a friend to the children commend me the Yak. You will find it exactly the thing: It will carry and fetch, you can ride on its back,


Or lead it about with a string.


The Tartar who dwells on the plains of Thibet (A desolate region of snow) Has for centuries made it a nursery pet, And surely the Tartar should know!



Then tell your papa where the Yak can be got, And if he is awfully rich He will buy you the creature or else he will not . (I cannot be positive which.)


The Polar Bear

The Polar Bear is unaware Of cold that cuts me through: For why? He has a coat of hair. I wish I had one too!


The Lion

The Lion, the Lion, he dwells in the waste, He has a big head and a very small waist; But his shoulders are stark, and his jaws they are grim, And a good little child will not play with him.


The Tiger

The Tiger on the other hand, is kittenish and mild, He makes a pretty playfellow for any little child; And mothers of large families (who claim to common sense) Will find a Tiger well repay the trouble and expense.


The Dromedary

The Dromedary is a cheerful bird: I cannot say the same about the Kurd... Continue reading book >>

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