The Bad Child's Book of Beasts

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The Bad Child's Book of Beasts
Cover of the 1918 edition
AuthorHilaire Belloc
IllustratorBasil Temple Blackwood
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherThe Camelot Press Limited
Publication date
Followed byMore Beasts for Worse Children 
TextThe Bad Child's Book of Beasts at Wikisource

The Bad Child's Book of Beasts is an 1896 children's book written by Hilaire Belloc.[1][2][3] Illustrated by Basil Temple Blackwood, the superficially naive verses give tongue-in-cheek advice to children. In the book, the animals tend to be sage-like, and the humans dull and self-satisfied.[4] Within the first three months of its publication, The Bad Child's Book of Beasts sold 4,000 copies.[5]

Lord Alfred Douglas accused Belloc of plagiarizing his work Tales with a Twist, which, although published two years after The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, was, according to Douglas, written before Belloc's work.[6]

Belloc's friend Donald Tovey had composed musical settings of some of the verses by 1899 and played them in public.[7] In 1911 Belloc expressed an interest in seeing them published. However, Tovey never got around to producing a final score, and the settings are now lost.[8]

The illustrations have also drawn comparison to the works seen in Dr. Seuss books.[9]

The Dodo

The Dodo used to walk around,

And take the sun and air.

The sun yet warms his native ground –

The Dodo is not there!

The voice which used to squawk and squeak

Is now for ever dumb –

Yet may you see his bones and beak

All in the Mu-se-um.


  1. ^ Cohen, Charles D. (2004). The Seuss, the whole Seuss, and nothing but the Seuss: a visual biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Random House, Inc. ISBN 0-375-82248-8.
  2. ^ "The Nation Company". The Nation. 65. 9 December 1897. ISSN 0027-8378. OCLC 1643268.
  3. ^ Pearce, Joseph (2002). Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc. Ignatius Press. ISBN 0-89870-942-3.
  4. ^ The Nation, p. 441.
  5. ^ Pearce, p. 58.
  6. ^ Pearce, p. 64.
  7. ^ Karen Arrandale. Edward J. Dent: A Life in Words and Music (2023), p. 59
  8. ^ Grierson, Mary. Donald Francis Tovey, A Biography Based on Letters. OUP (1952), p.151
  9. ^ Cohen, p. 42.

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