The Bad Child's Book of Beasts (Illustrated Edition)
Joseph Hilaire Pierre Rene Belloc (1870-1953) was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. His best travel writing has secured a permanent following. The Path to Rome (1902), an account of a walking pilgrimage he made from central France across the Alps and down to Rome, has remained continuously in print. More than a mere travelogue,...more
It is Belloc's style which makes this book unique. It does remind one of Roald Dahl in fact, although 'The Bad Child's Book of Beasts' was written way back in 1896, exactly twenty years before Dahl was born. It is difficult to recommend it to parents nowadays, as its potential of edification (which I believe to be essential in children's literature) for children is ...more
The Big Baboon is found upon
The plains of Cariboo.
He goes about
with nothing on
(A shocking thing to do).
But if he
And let his whiskers grow,
How like this Big Baboon would be
To Mister So-and-So.
Such as the entry on D for Dinosaur telling the tale of the happy-go-lucky dino, whose downfall was that he liked to sleep in trees, with the resultant tumble the reason that "His fossil, therefore, comes to light / All broken up: and serve him right. Moral: If you were born to walk the ground, / Remain there; do not fool around." (p 110)
Or "E stands for Egg. Moral: The ...more
Alas, the art that originally accompanied the poems had no similar Seussian verve. Still, this very short book is a delight to read.
I found the tales to be entertaining and catchy – most made me grin. The illustrations accompanying this text are even more beautiful than the ones found in East O’ the Sun and West O’ the Moon. Not only are they realistic, but the attention to detail is astounding.
The Dodo used to walk about, and take the sun and air,
The sun still warms his native land yet the dodo is not there.
The voice that used to squawk and squeak is now forever dumb,
But you may see his bones and beak all in the Mus-e-um.