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Gems from the Childcraft Books for Children - Poems of Early Childhood

Updated on December 13, 2014
Father William does a somersault!
Father William does a somersault!

From the 1960s and we still love them!

When I was growing up, there was never enough in the house for me to read - even though we had LOTS of books! We could have started our own little library.

I would read the Bible, the dictionary, the encyclopedias; anything I could find in print. We were fortunate enough to own World Book's Childcraft Books. I devoured them! Take a peek, and you'll see why I recommend them. Ready for a sample? Here we go...

The "Father William" poem is simply delightful, and I am sure many of you know it. Below is just an excerpt from it - you will want to read it in it's entirety, though. It is really amusing!

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw
Has lasted the rest of my life."

The poem is so typical of Lewis Carroll's entertaining humor, and the illustrations that accompany it, in the Childcraft books, are marvelous.

Photo: Emily Tack, from our copy of the Childcraft book. Poem by Lewis Carroll, illustration by R.L.

The Zaniness of Lewis Carroll

What a funny image!
What a funny image!

He Thought He Saw

In one of volumes of the Childcraft series that we have, is a poem from the man who brought us the immortal Alice in Wonderland, loved by families all over the world. Lewis Carroll's mind was simply - unfathomable. Few people seem to be familiar with this poem of his, entitled -"He Thought He Saw".

Like Carrol's Jabberwocky poem, it is a "nonsense" rhyme, but you and your children will enjoy it. Part of it goes like this:

"He thought he saw a banker's clerk descending from the bus :

He looked again, and found it was a Hippopotamus.

'If this should stay to dine, he said, there won't be much for us!' "

I read that, as a young child, and never forgot it. The rest of the poem is equally nonsensical, but - definitely a delight!

Photo taken by Emily Tack, from our owned copy of the Childcraft book. Illustrated beautifully by J. S.

Did you grow up reading them?

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He is one mixed-up fellow...

Jonathan Bing needs help...
Jonathan Bing needs help...

Jonathan Bing

My grown children all remember the "Jonathan Bing" poems. Beatrice Curtis Brown had a very droll sense of humor. One of the two Jonathan Bing poems that are in the Childcraft editions we have, starts out:

"O, Jonathan Bing, O Bingathon Jon

Forgets where he's going and thinks he has gone.

He wears his false teeth on the top of his head,

And always stands up when he's sleeping in bed."

Jonathan Bing simply does a lot of imbecilic things, and my children loved listening to me read about them. Some of the things he did remind me of my tribe, but they don't wear false teeth! Your children will love the colorful illustrations as much as the poems - and don't be surprised to find yourself laughing, too!

Photo taken by Emily Tack, from our owned copy of the Childcraft book. Illustration by R.L.

The elephant and the telephone!

We don't let our elephants use the telephone!
We don't let our elephants use the telephone!


I couldn't tell you how many children have laughed at this one! I first memorized it, when I was very, very young, and have "tickled" people young and old with its tongue-twisting ridiculosity! Oh, that's my own word - I made it up...

The poem goes like this:

"Once there was an elephant,

Who tried to use the telephant -

No! No! I mean an elephone

Who tried to use the telephone..."

That's how it starts, and continues on, in silliness. Penned by Laura Richards, it's one of my favorites, and you'll probably fall in love with it, too!

Photo taken by Emily Tack, from our owned copy of the Childcraft book. Illustration by Walt Disney.

What a hired hand!

The Elves of the Raggedy Man
The Elves of the Raggedy Man

The Raggedy Man

Now, how many poems do you know about the hired help? I don't think I know any others, just this one!

The poem is narrated by a child, who declares that the man who works for their "Pa" is "the goodest man you ever saw". The children just love him, and it's easy to see why! Here's one thing the child says:

"An' the Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes

An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:

Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffins, an' Elves,

And the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swaller themselves!

An' wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,

He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got..."

Now, can you see how that would capture a child's attention? It still catches mine!

"The Raggedy Man" was written by James Whitcomb Riley, who also wrote the well-known poem, "Little Orphan Annie".

Photo taken by Emily Tack, from our owned copy of the Childcraft book. Illustrated, again, by J. S.

Childcraft~1961 Edition~11 Volumes
Childcraft~1961 Edition~11 Volumes

This is the edition I grew up reading, and loved every single one of the books, as did my children and grandchildren!


This is a love poem?

No, it was not a "love poem"!
No, it was not a "love poem"!

A Farmer's Boy

Featuring the art of Walt Disney, this short little poem is one that just sticks in your brain. Here it is, in its entirety:

"They strolled down the lane together,

The sky was studded with stars.

They reached the gate in silence,

And he lifted down the bars.

She neither smiled nor thanked him

Because she knew not how;

For he was just a farmer's boy

And she was a Jersey cow."

For well over half a century, that sweet, short little poem has stuck in my head, and I can still recite it, today!

Photo taken by Emily Tack, from our owned copy of the Childcraft book. Illustration by Walt Disney.

Poor Antonio!
Poor Antonio!


This is simply another delightful piece of artwork from the Childcraft Books.

It was one of the illustrations from the poem entitled "Antonio".

Poor Antonio was tired of living "alonio". How did he end up in the predicament you see in the photo?

You will just have to read the poem, to find out!

© 2010 Emily Tack

We really enjoy the Childcraft Books, so tell us...Have we "tweaked" your interest? - Do you own them? Did your children read them?

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    • Shades-of-truth profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Tack 

      4 years ago from USA

      peachpurple, the books are simply delightful. I read them when I was a young child, when I was a young mother, and also enjoyed them as a granny and a great-grandma. If you can find them, you'll enjoy them!

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I have never read any of these

      Books when I was young and sure sounds fun to read

    • Shades-of-truth profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Tack 

      5 years ago from USA

      So do I, Lisa Marie! I still enjoy quoting some of these to my grandchildren. There is no substitute for reading books, in my opinion, and I wish some of the older, excellent children's books were read more frequently today!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I used to love Father William - and several of the others here. Children love to play with words and I think these are so much better than chaotic cartoons all day long!

    • Shades-of-truth profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Tack 

      5 years ago from USA

      Cari Kay 11 - I was so glad to read your comment. Those books still make me laugh, and I must admit, I still love them after all these years!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image


      5 years ago

      I was the same way as a child and read anything I could get my hands on. I love these types of poems and loved making my own children giggle with them. Fun page :)

    • Shades-of-truth profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Tack 

      6 years ago from USA

      @Linda Pogue: I loved them when I was young, and I love them still. Thank you!

    • Shades-of-truth profile imageAUTHOR

      Emily Tack 

      6 years ago from USA

      @LizMac60: Thank you, and please forgive my long-delayed reply!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 

      9 years ago from Missouri

      I had these when my children were small. We all loved the poems in them.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Delightful lens.


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