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Cautionary Tales for Children   By: (1870-1953)

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In Cautionary Tales for Children, Hilaire Belloc presents a collection of dark and humorous cautionary tales that are both entertaining and thought-provoking for readers of all ages. The book opens with a clever introduction that sets the tone perfectly, warning the readers of the potential consequences that may befall them if they fail to heed the lessons within.

Belloc's writing style is witty and engaging, effortlessly blending rhyme and rhythm to deliver memorable poems that stick with you long after you have finished reading. Each cautionary tale features a child protagonist who often meets a grisly end due to their own misbehaviors or foolish decisions. Although the stories are dark in nature, the author's clever use of humor softens the blow and ensures an enjoyable reading experience.

One of the remarkable elements of this book is its ability to address serious and important life lessons through such whimsical and entertaining stories. Belloc tackles themes like the importance of obedience, the dangers of greed, and the consequences of dishonesty, among others. Through these cautionary tales, children are taught valuable lessons about morality and making responsible choices.

Belloc's illustrations are another standout feature of this book. Originally penned by Belloc himself, they perfectly capture the mischievousness and mischief that permeate the tales. The detailed black-and-white drawings, which accompany each poem, add depth to the stories and enhance the overall reading experience.

While the tales may seem dark for a children's book, they serve an important purpose in teaching children the potential consequences of their actions. In a society where moral lessons are often diluted or sugar-coated, Cautionary Tales for Children provides a refreshing and honest approach to teaching children about the complexities of life.

However, it is important to note that some readers may find the content too morbid or unsettling. Parents should exercise their discretion when deciding if this book is suitable for their child's age and personality. While the book is labeled as children's literature, it may be best suited for older children who can fully appreciate the underlying messages without being overwhelmed.

In conclusion, Cautionary Tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc is a unique and captivating collection of cautionary poems that offer important life lessons in an entertaining and amusing way. Belloc's masterful storytelling and clever rhymes make this a delightful read for readers of all ages, encouraging reflection on the consequences of our actions. Whether for moral instruction or pure enjoyment, this book has a lasting impact, making it a valuable addition to any bookshelf.

First Page:



Designed for the Admonition of Children between the ages of eight and fourteen years

Verses by H. BELLOC

Pictures by B. T. B.



First published by Eveleigh Nash, 1907 First published by Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 1918 Thirteenth Impression, 1957

All rights reserved

Made and Printed in Great Britain by Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd London and Edinburgh



Upon being asked by a Reader whether the verses contained in this book were true.


And is it True? It is not True. And if it were it wouldn't do, For people such as me and you Who pretty nearly all day long Are doing something rather wrong. Because if things were really so, You would have perished long ago, And I would not have lived to write The noble lines that meet your sight, Nor B. T. B. survived to draw The nicest things you ever saw. H. B.


Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion.


There was a Boy whose name was Jim; His Friends were very good to him... Continue reading book >>

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