Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

A Book for Kids »

By Clarence James Dennis

Children’s poetry, Australian ‌ Children’s stories, Australian

A Book for Kids


Clarence James Dennis


reissued as Roundabout (1935)

A very charming gentleman, as old as old could be, Stared a while, and glared a while, and then he said to me: “Read your books, and heed your books, and put your books away, For you will surely need your books upon a later day.” And then he wheezed and then he sneezed, and gave me such a look. And he said, “Mark–ME–boy! Be careful of your book.”

A very charming gentleman, indeed, he seemed to be. He heaved a sigh and wiped his eye, and then he said to me: “Take your books and make your books companions–never toys; For they who so forsake their books grow into gawky boys.” I don’t know who he was. Do you? he snuffled at the end; And he said, “Mark–ME–boy! Your book should be your friend.”


To all good children over four
And under four—and—eighty
Be you not over—prone to pore
On matters grave and weighty.
Mayhap you’ll find within this book
Some touch of Youth’s rare clowning,
If you will condescend to look
And not descend to frowning.

The mind of one small boy may hold
Odd fancies and inviting,
To guide a hand unsure and old
That moves, these days, to writing.
For hair once bright, in days of yore,
Grows grey (or somewhat slaty),
And now, alas, he’s over four,
Though under four—and—eighty.



A Very Charming Gentleman
The Baker
The Dawn Dance
The Swagman
The Ant Explorer
Riding Song
The Funny Hatter
The Postman
The Traveller
Our Street
The Little Red House
The Pieman
The Triantiwontigongolope
The Circus
You and I
Going to School
Bird Song
The Music of Your Voice
The Boy who Rode into the Sunset
The Tram—man
The Axe—man
The Drovers
The Long Road Home
The Band
Bessie and the Bunyip
Good Enough
The Porter
Growing Up
The Unsociable Wallaby
The Song of the Sulky Stockman
Our Cow
The Teacher
The Spotted Heifers
Tea Talk
The Looking Glass
The Barber
Farmer Jack
Old Black Jacko
Bird Song
The Sailor
The Famine
The Feast
Upon the Road to Rockabout
A Change of Air
Polly Dibbs
The Publisher
Good Night


I’d like to be a baker, and come when morning breaks, Calling out, “Beeay—ko!” (that’s the sound he makes)– Riding in a rattle—cart that jogs and jolts and shakes, Selling all the sweetest things a baker ever bakes; Currant—buns and brandy—snaps, pastry all in flakes; But I wouldn’t be a baker if . . . I couldn’t eat the cakes. Would you?


What do you think I saw to—day when I arose at dawn? Blue Wrens and Yellow—tails dancing on the lawn! Bobbing here, and bowing there, gossiping away, And how I wished that you were there to see the merry play!

But you were snug abed, my boy, blankets to your chin, Nor dreamed of dancing birds without or sunbeams dancing in. Grey Thrush, he piped the tune for them. I peeped out through the glass Between the window curtains, and I saw them on the grass–

Merry little fairy folk, dancing up and down, Blue bonnet, yellow skirt, cloaks of grey and brown, Underneath the wattle—tree, silver in the dawn, Blue Wrens and Yellow—tails dancing on the lawn.

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