Boys and Girls Bookshelf; a Practical Plan of Character Building, Volume I (of 17) - Fun and Thought for Little Folk
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"I believe you, Chuckie Wuckie dear," said her father, earnestly.

That night the little girl stood at the gate, watching for her father to jump off the car. She could hardly wait for him to kiss her. She took his hand and led him to the canna-bed.

"Look!" she cried eagerly.

She was pointing excitedly to a hole beside the roots of a fresh, green canna plant.

"That hole again," said her father. "There's a stone in it now, isn't there?"

"No, that's what I thought; stoop down and look close, papa!" cried Chuckie Wuckie.

It was the head of a fat hop-toad, but all that could be seen was its mouth and bright eyes. It was staring at them. Papa poked it with the point of his umbrella. It scrambled deeper into the hole, until there was nothing to be seen but the dirt. It was slowly changing to the color of the black earth.

"I watched him," cried Chuckie Wuckie, excitedly—"oh, for an hour! When I found him he was just hopping on the canna-bed. He was looking for his house. He acted as if the door had been shut in his face. Then he began to open it. He crawled and scrambled round and round, and threw up the dirt, and poked and pushed. At last he had the hole made, just as it is every morning, and he crawled in. Then he lay and blinked at me."

"Clever fellow," said papa. "Well, we won't grudge him a home, and we won't shut the door again in his face, will we, Chuckie Wuckie?"

The cannas have grown very tall now—almost as tall as Chuckie Wuckie's papa—and so thick that you cannot see where the roots are; but a fat, brown hop-toad has a snug, cool, safe little nest there, and he gratefully crawls into it when the sun grows very hot.

The Conceited Mouse


Once upon a time there was a very small mouse with a very, very large opinion of himself. What he didn't know his own grandmother couldn't tell him.

"You'd better keep a bright eye in your head, these days," said she, one chilly afternoon. "Your gran'ther has smelled a trap."

"Scat!" answered the small mouse—"'s if I don't know a trap when I see it!" And that was all the thanks she got for her good advice.

"Go your own way, for you will go no other," the wise old mouse said to herself; and she scratched her nose slowly and sadly as she watched her grandson scamper up the cellar stairs.

"Ah!" sniffed he, poking his whiskers into a crack of the dining-room cupboard, "cheese—as I'm alive!" Scuttle—scuttle. "I'll be squizzled, if it isn't in that cunning little house; I know what that is—a cheese-house, of course. What a very snug hall! That's the way with cheese-houses. I know, 'cause I've heard the dairymaid talk about 'em. It must be rather inconvenient, though, to carry milk up that step and through an iron door. I know why it's so open—to let in fresh air. I tell you, that cheese is good! Kind of a reception-room in there—guess I know a reception-room from a hole in the wall. No trouble at all about getting in, either. Wouldn't grandmother open her eyes to see me here! Guess I'll take another nibble at that cheese, and go out. What's that noise? What in squeaks is the matter with the door? This is a cheese-house, I know it is—but what if it should turn out to be a—O-o-o-eeee!" And that's just what it did turn out to be.




My mother she's so good to me, Ef I was good as I could be, I couldn't be as good—no, sir!— Can't any boy be good as her.

She loves me when I'm glad er sad; She loves me when I'm good er bad; An', what's a funniest thing, she says She loves me when she punishes.

I don't like her to punish me— That don't hurt—but it hurts to see Her cryin'.—Nen I cry; an' nen We both cry an' be good again.

She loves me when she cuts an' sews My little cloak an' Sund'y clothes; An' when my Pa comes home to tea, She loves him 'most as much as me.

She laughs an' tells him all I said, An' grabs me up an' pats my head; An' I hug her, an' hug my Pa, An' love him purt' nigh much as Ma.

[O] From "Rhymes of Childhood," by James Whitcomb Riley. Used by special permission of the publishers. The Bobbs-Merrill Company.



When mother comes each morning She wears her oldest things, She doesn't make a rustle, She hasn't any rings; She says, "Good-morning, chickies, It's such a lovely day, Let's go into the garden And have a game of play!"

When mother comes at tea-time Her dress goes shoo-shoo-shoo, She always has a little bag, Sometimes a sunshade too; She says, "I am so hoping There's something left for me; Please hurry up, dear Nanna, I'm dying for my tea."

When mother comes at bed-time Her evening dress she wears, She tells us each a story When we have said our prayers; And if there is a party She looks so shiny bright It's like a lovely fairy Dropped in to say good-night.


Evening was falling, cold and dark, And people hurried along the way As if they were longing soon to mark Their own home candle's cheering ray.

Before me toiled in the whirling wind A woman with bundles great and small, And after her tugged, a step behind, The Bundle she loved the best of all.

A dear little roly-poly boy With rosy cheeks, and a jacket blue, Laughing and chattering full of joy, And here's what he said—I tell you true:

"You're the goodest mother that ever was." A voice as clear as a forest bird's; And I'm sure the glad young heart had cause To utter the sweet of the lovely words.

Perhaps the woman had worked all day Washing or scrubbing; perhaps she sewed; I knew, by her weary footfall's way That life for her was an uphill road.

But here was a comfort. Children dear, Think what a comfort you might give To the very best friend you can have here, The lady fair in whose house you live,

If once in a while you'd stop and say,— In task or play for a moment pause, And tell her in sweet and winning way, "You're the GOODEST mother that ever was."



Nowadays girls go to cooking-school And learn to cook just so by rule; But all I know, I'm glad to say, My mother taught me day by day.

She did not need a great cook-book; She knew how much and what it took To make things good and sweet and light. What Mother does is always right.



Whose hair is all curly, an' eyes "baby-blue"? Who wakes up too early 'fore night-time is fru? Who dresses her pillow all up in the clo'es, An' counts all her piggies when nobody knows? An' who's des' as quiet as quiet can be? Muvver says—me.

Who w'ites wif a pencil all over a book? An' who gets the ink when nobody does look? An' who gets her fingies all blacker than black? An' who gets 'em spatted when Muvver comes back? An' who's des' as sorry as sorry can be? Muvver says—me.

Who goes down to dinner on Sundays at two, All dressed in w'ite frillies, an' tied up in blue? An' who waits for Father to cut up her meat, When she is so hungry an' nuffin' to eat? An' who's des' as "patient" as "patient" can be? Muvver says—me.

Who gets on her nightie an' says all her prayers? An' then comes a-stealin' an' creepin' down-stairs? Who cuddles up comfy an' teases to stay? An' who is so spoiled 'at she won't go away, Even when she's as sleepy as sleepy can be? Muvver says—me.



My dearest is a lady, she wears a gown of blue, She sits beside the window where the yellow sun comes through; The light is shining on her hair, and all the time she sews, She sings a song about a knight, a dear, brave knight she knows.

My dearest is a lady—and oh, I love her well! Full five and twenty times a day this very tale I tell; For I'm the knight in armor, a shield and sword I wear, And Mother is my lady, with the light upon her hair.


How many lumps of sugar Ought a little girl to use To sweeten a cup of chocolate? I can take just what I choose.

Five make it just like candy, And four are most as good— There's no one to say I mustn't, Now I wonder if I should.

Three is what Nurse allows me, So that would be surely right. Uncle Jack takes two lumps always And says it is "out of sight."

Five, four, three, two—I wonder— Or none, just like Papa? Well, after all, I'll take but one And copy my dear Mama.

When Mother Goes Away


Says Bobby to Mother: "I'll be good as I can." "I know you will, Bobby; You're Mother's little man."


His mother then takes every match from the box; The door of the pantry securely she locks; Puts the hammer and tacks, and the scissors and ink In the best hiding places of which she can think And wonders at last, as her hat she pins on, What mischief her Bobby will do while she's gone!


When people ask me where I live, I hate to have to go and give A name like Smithville, plain. I'd rather say:—"Sir, if you please, My home is in the Hebrides," Or, "High up in the Pyrenees," Or, "At Gibraltar, Spain."

"Constantinople," too, sounds fine, And "Drachenfels-upon-the-Rhine," And "Madagascar," too; And "Yokohama" sounds so great, And "Hindustan" is just first-rate; I rather like even "Bering Strait," And "Cuzco" in Peru.

And yet, I would not be at night, Alone upon the "Isle of Wight," Or on the "Zuyder Zee." At "Nova Zembla," in a gale, I know that I should just turn pale; For fear of earthquakes, I should quail In "sunny Italy."

A place that sounds nice on the map, May have a little too much snap To keep within its wall, And so, though many names I see, That sound as stylish as can be, There's no place quite so good for me, As Smithville, after all!

Blanche Elizabeth Wade.




Grandmother sits in her easy-chair, In the ruddy sunlight's glow; Her thoughts are wandering far away In the land of Long Ago. Again she dwells in her father's home, And before her loving eyes In the light of a glorious summer day The gray old farm-house lies.

She hears the hum of the spinning-wheel And the spinner's happy song; She sees the bundles of flax that hang From the rafters, dark and long; She sees the sunbeams glide and dance Across the sanded floor; And feels on her cheek the wandering breeze That steals through the open door.

Beyond, the flowers nod sleepily At the well-sweep, gaunt and tall; And up from the glen comes the musical roar Of the distant waterfall. The cows roam lazily to and fro Along the shady lane; The shouts of the reapers sound faint and far From the fields of golden grain.

And grandma herself, a happy girl, Stands watching the setting sun, While the spinner rests, and the reapers cease, And the long day's work is done; Then something wakes her—the room is dark, And vanished the sunset glow, And grandmother wakes, with a sad surprise, From the dreams of long ago.

Great-Aunt Lucy Lee

By Cora Walker Hayes

Sometimes when I am tired of play My mother says to me, "Come, daughter, we will call to-day On Great-aunt Lucy Lee."

And soon, by mother's side, I skip Along the quiet street, Where tall old trees, on either side, Throw shadows at my feet.

The houses stand in solemn rows, And not a child is seen; The blinds are drawn, the doors are shut, The walks are span and clean.

Then when we come to number three, I stretch my hand up—so! And find the old brass knocker's ring; I rap, and in we go.

There Great-aunt Lucy, small and prim, Sits by the chimney-piece; Her knitting-needles clicking go, And never seem to cease.

Aunt Lucy's eyes are blue and kind, Her wrinkled face is fair; She hides with cap or snowy lace Her pretty silver hair.

Aunt Lucy's voice is sweet and low, Her smile is quick and bright; She wears a gown of lavender, And kerchief soft and white.

I fold my hands in front of me And sit quite still and staid, Till Great-aunt Lucy, smiling, says, "Come hither, little maid!"

There Great-aunt Lucy small and prim Sits by the chimney-piece Her knitting needles clicking go And never seem to cease]

And from her silken bag she takes A peppermint or two, And questions me about my play, My school, my dolls, the Zoo.

And then she rings for Hannah, who Comes hobbling stiffly in, With sugared cakes and jelly-tarts Upon a shining tin.

When I have eaten all I can, Aunt Lucy bids me go Into the garden, where all kinds Of lovely flowers grow.

Pale roses of a hundred leaves, Sweet-william, four-o'clocks, Pinks, daisies, bleeding-hearts and things All bordered 'round with box.

And there's an arbor, where the grapes Hang low enough to reach; A plum-tree just across the path, And by the wall a peach.

And oh! I think it very nice To come and visit here; The house, the garden and the folks All seem so very queer!

And though I am well satisfied A while to romp and play,— A wee old lady, kind and dear, I want to be some day;

And so I hope that when I, too, Have grown to eighty-three, I'll be a lovely lady like My Great-aunt Lucy Lee.

Our Visitors

By Isabel Lyndall

When grandma comes to visit, She very often brings Her satchel full of cookies, And ginger cakes and things.

Grandpa carries in his grip For Dorothy and me, One of the newest toys that moves, When wound up with a key.

Aunt Sarah says there is no need To have so many toys! She seems to think that useful things Are best for girls and boys.

Uncle Jack we're glad to see Although he is a tease. He gives us each a quarter To spend just as we please!


Grandmamma sits in her quaint arm-chair— Never was lady more sweet and fair! Her gray locks ripple like silver shells, And her brow its own calm story tells Of a gentle life and a peaceful even, A trust in God and a hope in heaven!

Little girl Mary sits rocking away In her own low seat, like some winsome fay; Two dolly babies her kisses share, And another one lies by the side of her chair. Mary is fair as the morning dew— Cheeks of roses and ribbons of blue!

"Say, grandmamma," says the pretty elf, "Tell me a story about yourself. When you were little, what did you play? Was you good or naughty, the whole long day? Was it hundreds and hundreds of years ago? And what makes your soft hair as white as snow?

"Did you have a mamma to hug and kiss? And a dolly like this, and this, and this? Did you have a pussy like my little Kate? Did you go to bed when the clock struck eight? Did you have long curls and beads like mine? And a new silk apron, with ribbons fine?"

Grandmamma smiled at the little maid, And laying aside her knitting, she said: "Go to my desk and a red box you'll see; Carefully lift it and bring it to me." So Mary put her dollies away and ran, Saying, "I'll be as careful as ever I can."

Then grandmamma opened the box: and lo! A beautiful child with a throat like snow, Lips just tinted like pink shells rare, Eyes of hazel and golden hair, Hands all dimpled, and teeth like pearls— Fairest and sweetest of little girls!

"Oh, who is it?" cried winsome May; "How I wish she was here to-day! Wouldn't I love her like everything, And give her my new carnelian ring! Say, dear grandmamma, who can she be?" "Darling," said grandmamma, "that child was me!"

May looked along at the dimpled grace, And then at the saint-like, fair old face, "How funny!" she cried, with a smile and a kiss, "To have such a dear little grandma as this! Still," she added, with a smiling zest, "I think, dear grandma, I like you best!"

So May climbed on the silken knee, And grandma told her her history— What plays she played, what toys she had, How at times she was naughty, or good, or sad. "But the best thing you did," said May, "don't you see? Was to grow a beautiful grandma for me!"



Over the river and through the wood, To grandfather's house we go; The horse knows the way To carry the sleigh Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood— Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes And bites the nose, As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood, To have a first-rate play; Hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ding!" Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood, Trot fast, my dapple-gray! Spring over the ground, Like a hunting hound! For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the wood, And straight through the barn-yard gate. We seem to go Extremely slow— It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood— Now grandmother's cap I spy! Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done? Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!


Grandma told me all about it; Told me so I couldn't doubt it; How she danced—my grandma danced, Long ago. How she held her pretty head, How her dainty skirt she spread, How she turned her little toes, Smiling little human rose! Long ago.

Grandma's hair was bright and sunny, Dimpled cheeks, too—ah, how funny! Really, quite a pretty girl, Long ago. Bless her! Why, she wears a cap, Grandma, does, and takes a nap, Every single day, and yet, Grandma danced a minuet, Long ago.

No—they moved with stately grace, Everything in proper place; Gliding slowly forward, then Slowly courtesying back again, Long ago. Modern ways are quite alarming, Grandma says; but boys were charming— Girls and boys, I mean, of course— Long ago.

Bravely modest, grandly shy— Now she sits there rocking, rocking, Always knitting grandpa's stocking, Every girl was taught to knit, Long ago. Yet her figure is so neat, And her smile so staid and sweet, I can almost see her now Bending to her partner's bow, Long ago.

Grandma says our modern jumping, Hopping, rushing, whirling, bumping Would have shocked the gentlefolk, Long ago. What if all of us should try Just to feel like those who met In the graceful minuet, Long ago?

With the minuet in fashion, Who could fly into a passion? All would wear the calm they wore, Long ago. In time to come, if I perchance Should tell my grandchild of our dance I should really like to say: "We did, dear, in some such way, Long ago."



When Aunt Jan's coming there's such romping in the house, She's sweeter than a daffodil and softer than a mouse! She sings about the passages, and never wants to rest, And father says it's all because a bird is in her breast.

When Aunt Jan's kissing there's such a crowding round her knees, Such clambers to her bosom, and such battles for a squeeze! We dirty both her snowy cuffs, we trample on her gown, And sometimes all her yellow hair comes tumbling, tumbling down.

When Aunt Jan's dancing we all watch her as she goes, With in-and-out and round-about upon her shiny toes; And when her merry breath is tired she stops the fun and stands To curtsy saucily to us, or kiss her pretty hands.

When Aunt Jan's playing, the piano seems alive, With all the notes as busy as the bees are in a hive; And when it's time for Bedfordshire, as sweetly as a lark She sings that God is waiting to protect us in the dark.

When Aunt Jan's leaving we are not ashamed to cry, A-kissing at the station and a-waving her good-by; But springtime brings the crocus after winter, rain and frost So dear Aunt Jan will come again. She isn't really lost.


Very often in the evening, Shortly after tea, Father, when he's read the paper, Takes me on his knee.

There I fix myself "quite comfy," In his arms so strong, While he makes up lovely stories As he goes along.

Mother near us with her sewing, Rocking to and fro, Smiles and listens to the stories, Likes them too, I know.

And I'm sure that she is thinking, What perhaps you've guessed, That the stories Father tells us Are the very best.



"Come hither, little puppy-dog, I'll give you a new collar, If you will learn to read your book, And be a clever scholar."

"No! no!" replied the puppy-dog, "I've other fish to fry; For I must learn to guard your house, And bark when thieves come nigh."

With a tingle, tangle titmouse, Robin knows great A, And B, and C, and D, and E, F, G, H, I, J, K.

"Come hither, pretty cockatoo, Come and learn your letters; And you shall have a knife and fork To eat with, like your betters."

"No! no!" the cockatoo replied, "My beak will do as well; I'd rather eat my victuals thus Than go and learn to spell."

With a tingle, tangle titmouse, Robin knows great A, And B, and C, and D, and E, F, G, H, I, J, K.

"Come hither, little pussy-cat, If you'll your grammar study, I'll give you silver clogs to wear, Whene'er the gutter's muddy."

"No! whilst I grammar learn," says puss, "Your house will in a trice Be overrun from top to toe With flocks of rats and mice."

With a tingle, tangle titmouse, Robin knows great A, And B, and C, and D, and E, F, G, H, I, J, K.

"Come hither, then, good little boy, And learn your alphabet, And you a pair of boots and spurs, Like your papa's, shall get."

"Oh, yes! I'll learn my alphabet, And when I've learned to read, Perhaps papa will give me, too, A pretty, long-tailed steed."

With a tingle, tangle titmouse, Robin knows great A, And B, and C, and D, and E, F, G, H, I, J, K.


Ale, A is for Apple, Artichoke, and Ann;

Brown Bear, B is for Black Bear, and Bran;

Chestnut, C is for Clay, Coke, and Coal,

Dear, D is for Dray, Dick, Duck, and Droll,

Eve, E is for Eagle, Eel, East, and Ear;

Fan, F is for Feather, Furrow, Fox, and Fear;

Goose, G is for Gander, Green, Grub, and Gray;

Horse, H is for Hound, Hip, Haw, and Hay;

Ice, I is for Idler, Ink, If, and Ill;

James, J is for Jane, for Jack, and Jill;

Kiss, K is for Kitten, King, Kitchen, and Kite;

Lamb, L is for Lady, Lace, Luck, and Light;

Moon, M is for Mitten, Mist, Moth, and Mote;

Ned, N is for Nurse, for Nose, Nut, and Note;

Oil, O is for Order, Oat, Orange, Oak;

Pin, P is for Pan, and Pig in a Poke;

Queen, Q is for Question, Quarter, and Quack;

Reel, R is for Radish, Ruff, Reeve, and Rack;

Skate, S is for Salmon, Sprat, Saw, and School;

Tin, T is for Teapot, Tar, Torch, and Tool;

Urn, U is for Usher, Umpire, and Use;

Vegetables, V is for Varnish, and Views;

Want, W is for War, Water, and Wing;

Xenophon, X is for and Xerxes, the King;

Yam, Y is for Yacht, Yellow, and Yawl;

Zeal, Z is for Zebra, Zany—

That's all!



A was an ant Who seldom stood still, And who made a nice house In the side of a hill. a Nice little ant!

B was a book With a binding of blue, And pictures and stories For me and for you. b Nice little book!

C was a camel; You rode on his hump; And if you fell off, You came down such a bump! c What a high camel!

D was a duck With spots on his back, Who lived in the water, And always said "Quack!" d Dear little duck!

E was an elephant, Stately and wise: He had tusks and a trunk, And two queer little eyes. e Oh, what funny small eyes!

F was a fish Who was caught in a net; But he got out again, And is quite alive yet. f Lively young fish!

G was a goat Who was spotted with brown; When he did not lie still He walked up and down. g Good little goat!

H was a hat Which was all on one side; Its crown was too high, And its brim was too wide. h Oh, what a hat!

I was some ice So white and so nice, But which nobody tasted; And so it was wasted. i All that good ice!

J was a jackdaw Who hopped up and down In the principal street Of a neighboring town. j All through the town!

K was a kite Which flew out of sight, Above houses so high, Quite into the sky. k Fly away, kite!

L was a light Which burned all the night, And lighted the gloom Of a very dark room. l Useful nice light!

M was a man, Who walked round and round; And he wore a long coat That came down to the ground. m Funny old man!

N was a net Which was thrown in the sea To catch fish for dinner For you and for me. n Nice little net!

O was an orange So yellow and round; When it fell off the tree, It fell down to the ground. o Down to the ground!

P was a pig, Who was not very big, But his tail was too curly, And that made him surly. p Cross little pig!

Q was a quail With a very short tail; And he fed upon corn In the evening and morn. q Quaint little quail!

R was a rabbit, Who had a bad habit Of eating the flowers In gardens and bowers. r Naughty fat rabbit!

S was the sugar-tongs, Nippity-nee, To take up the sugar To put in our tea. s Nippity-nee!

T was a tortoise, All yellow and black: He walked slowly away, And he never came back. t Torty never came back!

U was an urn All polished and bright, And full of hot water At noon and at night. u Useful old urn!

V was a veil With a border upon it, And a ribbon to tie it All round a pink bonnet. v Pretty green veil!

W was a whale With a very long tail, Whose movements were frantic Across the Atlantic. w Monstrous old whale!

X was King Xerxes, Who, more than all Turks, is Renowned for his fashion Of fury and passion. x Angry old Xerxes.

Y was a yew, Which flourished and grew By a quiet abode Near the side of a road. y Dark little yew!

Z was a zebra, All striped white and black; And if he were tame, You might ride on his back. z Pretty striped zebra!



a A was once an apple-pie, Pidy, Widy, Tidy, Pidy, Nice insidy, Apple-pie!

b B was once a little bear, Beary, Wary, Hairy, Beary, Take cary, Little bear!

c C was once a little cake, Caky, Baky, Maky, Caky, Taky caky, Little cake!

d D was once a little doll, Dolly, Molly, Polly, Nolly, Nursy dolly, Little doll!

e E was once a little eel, Eely, Weely, Peely, Eely, Twirly, tweely, Little eel!

f F was once a little fish, Fishy, Wishy, Squishy, Fishy, In a dishy, Little fish!

g G was once a little goose, Goosey, Moosy, Boosey, Goosey, Waddly-woosy, Little goose!

h H was once a little hen, Henny, Chenny, Tenny, Henny, Eggsy-any, Little hen?

i I was once a bottle of ink, Inky, Dinky, Thinky, Inky, Black minky, Bottle of ink!

j J was once a jar of jam, Jammy, Mammy, Clammy, Jammy, Sweety, swammy, Jar of jam!

k K was once a little kite, Kity, Whity, Flighty, Kity, Out of sighty, Little kite!

l L was once a little lark, Larky, Marky, Harky, Larky, In the parky, Little lark!

m M was once a little mouse, Mousy, Bousy, Sousy, Mousy, In the housy, Little mouse!

n N was once a little needle, Needly, Tweedly, Threedly, Needly, Wisky, wheedly, Little needle!

o O was once a little owl, Owly, Prowly, Howly, Owly, Browny fowly, Little owl!

p P was once a little pump, Pumpy, Slumpy, Flumpy, Pumpy, Dumpy, thumpy, Little pump!

q Q was once a little quail, Quaily, Faily, Daily, Quaily, Stumpy-taily, Little quail!

r R was once a little rose, Rosy, Posy, Nosy, Rosy, Blows-y, grows-y, Little rose!

s S was once a little shrimp, Shrimpy, Nimpy, Flimpy, Shrimpy, Jumpy, jimpy, Little shrimp!

t T was once a little thrush, Thrushy, Hushy, Bushy, Thrushy, Flitty, flushy, Little thrush!

u U was once a little urn, Urny, Burny, Turny, Urny, Bubbly, burny, Little urn!

v V was once a little vine, Viny, Winy, Twiny, Viny, Twisty-twiny, Little vine!

w W was once a whale, Whaly, Scaly, Shaly, Whaly, Tumbly-taily, Mighty whale!

x X was once a great king Xerxes, Xerxy, Perxy, Turxy, Xerxy, Linxy, lurxy, Great King Xerxes!

y Y was once a little yew Yewdy, Fewdy, Crudy, Yewdy, Growdy, grewdy, Little yew!

z Z was once a piece of zinc, Tinky, Winky, Blinky, Tinky, Tinkly minky, Piece of zinc!


A was an apple pie, B bit it; C cut it; D dealt it; E ate it; F fought for it; G got it; H had it; I inquired about it; J joined it; K kept it; L longed for it; M mourned for it; N nodded at it; O opened it; P peeped in it; Q quartered it; R ran for it; S stole it; T took it; U upset it; V viewed it; W wanted it; X, Y, Z, and amper-sand, All hoped for a piece in hand.



A is for the Antelope, A beast that I have never met; They say he jumps the skipping-rope And makes a charming household pet.

Well, as to that I cannot say; But A is for him, anyway.

B stands for Bajjerkeit; maybe You've never chanced this beast to see; So I'll describe him to you. Well, There isn't very much to tell. One day I idly chanced to look Within a Natural History book, And there I saw his funny name, And thought I'd hand him down to fame.

C is for Codfish. He must be The saltest fish that swims the sea. And, oh! He has a secret woe! You see, he thinks it's all his fault The ocean is so very salt! And so, In hopeless grief and woe, The Codfish has, for many years, Shed quarts of salty, briny tears! And, oh! His tears still flow— So great his grief and woe!

D stands for Dodo. He's a bird That isn't known to many; And this the reason, I have heard— Because there aren't any! The Dodo, who once blithely blinked, Is now exceedingly extinct, And doesn't it seem rather nice To think that D stands for him twice?

E is for Elephant. I know He isn't natty, trim, or trig; His eyes are rather small, and, oh, I fear his ears are far too big! But there's a well-attested rumor That he has quite a sense of humor; So crack a joke whene'er you meet An Elephant upon the street.

F is Flamingo. All please note His wondrous height and girth; He has the longest legs and throat Of anything on earth. Such throats are trying, are they not? In case one catches cold; Ah, yes! but just think what a lot His Christmas stockings hold!

G stands for Gnu. Of course that's right, but then, It seems as if it should begin with N. I could select some other beast as well— Say, Goose or Grampus, Gadfly or Gazelle; But seems to me the Gnu is more attractive, He is so merry, frivolous, and active.

H is for Hippopotamus. If you desire a pet, He is, it really seems to us, The best that you can get. Train him to follow at your heels Whene'er you walk abroad, And note with what delighted squeals The lookers-on applaud!

I is for Ibex. This fine creature Is favored well in form and feature. And I is for Ichneumon, too— But what is that to me or you? But Ibex answers just as well, And isn't near so hard to spell.

J stands for Jay. This little fellow Is blue. Sometimes I think I'd like him better were he yellow, Or even reddish pink. I know, of course, it is absurd To mind the color of a bird; And, now I think of it, I've seen Some Jays that were exceeding green.

K stands for Kangaroo. I've looked all round: A better beast for K cannot be found. The Kangaroo can hop and hop and hop; Somehow he never seems to want to stop. What more could one desire of him, I pray, Than just to hop around and stand for K?

L is for Leopard. Do you know He's very, very vain? And sometimes quite dejectedly He mopes along the plain. At these sad times the Leopard's heart Is filled with angry passion, Because his spots are out of date, And Zebra stripes in fashion! But other years, when fashion-books Say spots are all the style, The Leopard proudly stalks abroad With most complacent smile.

M is for Microbe. This bad beast Is very, very small; Some people say—or think, at least— He isn't there at all! He's smaller than the mitiest mite; The only way he comes in sight Is when he's pictured in a book, Or through a microbescope you look.

N is for Nautilus, and he's A pirate, bold and gay; He dashes madly through the seas, A-searching of his prey. He's just a sort of silvery mass, All spotted blue and pink; And with his eye, which looks like glass, He winks a wicked wink.

O stands for the obsequious Ounce, Who weighs full many a pound; At you he playfully would bounce, If you were walking round. Approach him and the Ounce you'll see Spring like a catapult; Just try it once, and you will be Surprised at the result.

P stands for Puma. His sleek paws Go softly pit-a-pat; His teeth are sharp, and sharp his claws; He's just a great big cat. There were some Pumas in the ark; There are some also in the park: But, strange to say, in Montezuma They do not raise a single Puma!

Q stands for Quagga. We've been taught Nothing was ever made in vain; But even after serious thought The Quagga's use is not quite plain. Though, stay!—ah, yes! at last I see Why the queer Quagga has to be: Were there no Quaggas, how would you Find any beast to stand for Q?

R's for Rhinoceros. You see His clothing does not fit; Yet so indifferent is he, He doesn't care a bit. Although it does not seem to us The unconcerned Rhinoceros Has any claim to wit or grace, We must admire his earnest face.

S stands for Sponge. You'd scarce suppose This could be called a creature; It hasn't any eyes or nose— Indeed, it has no feature. And, though this may cause some surprise, The mermaids, I dare say, Will set a Sponge at night to rise, And make sponge-cake next day.

T stands for Tiger. In the south He roams his native heath. He has a wide, capacious mouth, And long and glistening teeth. 'Tis not worth while your time to spend To cultivate him as a friend; But to your house, so warm and snug, Invite the Tiger as a rug.

U is for the Unicorn, The dearest little thing; Though he has but a single horn, And not a single wing. A Unicorn of any age Is nicer, so I've heard, To keep within a gilded cage Than a canary-bird.

V is for Vervet. From his name You'd be inclined to think This creature rather mild and tame, In color somewhat pink. But not at all; the Vervet's green, And very cross and spunky; In fact, it's plainly to be seen The Vervet's just a monkey!

W is for Whale. He's in The oceans, north and south. He doesn't have a dimpled chin, Nor yet a rosebud mouth. Yet he is very fond of fun, And has wide smiles for every one.

X stands for Xiphias; he's a fish. If you a Xiphias should wish, Don't let him roam around the grass, But keep him in a globe of glass. His name, as everybody knows, Is Xiphias Gladius. I suppose That means the Xiphias is glad Because he wasn't born a Shad.

Y is for Yak, Who is not very tidy; And he's lazy, alack! He sleeps all day Friday. About a yard wide The Yak is, precisely; With fringe on each side He's trimmed very nicely.

Z stands for Zibet. I've been told This beast was much esteemed of old; But, latterly, most people think They'd rather have a moose or mink. In a museum that's in Tibet They have one stuffed—he's an Ex-Zibet!


A was an Archer, who shot at a frog; B was a Butcher, and had a great dog.

C was a Captain, all covered with lace; D was a drunkard, and had a red face.

E was an Esquire, with pride on his brow; F was a Farmer, and followed the plough.

G was a gamester, who had but ill-luck; H was a Hunter, who hunted a buck.

I was an Innkeeper, who loved to carouse; J was a Joiner, and built up a house.

K is the King, who governs England; L was a Lady, who had a white hand.

M was a Miser, and hoarded up gold; N was a Nobleman, gallant and bold.

O was an Oyster-Girl, who went about town; P was a Parson, and wore a black gown.

Q was a Queen, who wore a silk slip; R was a Robber, and wanted a whip.

S was a Sailor, and spent all he got; T was a Tinker, and mended a pot.

U was an Usurer, a miserable elf; V was a Vintner, who drank all himself.

W was a Watchman, and guarded the door; X was expensive, and so became poor.

Y was a Youth, that did not love school; Z was a Zany, a poor harmless fool.



Affable Andy Ate sugar candy.

Boisterous Ben Shot at a hen.

Careless Corinne Lost her gold pin.

Dear little Davy Liked chicken gravy.

Elegant Ed Had a new sled.

Fair little Fanny Wrote to her Granny.

Gay little Guy Thought he could fly.

Helen and Hugh Called the sky blue.

Ignorant Ike Fell off his bike.

Jaunty young Jack Stepped on a tack.

Kind little Kay Gave things away.

Lovable Lenny Lost his new penny.

Merry young Mac Rode in a hack.

Nice little Nettie Never was fretty.

Opulent Ollie Rode on the trolley.

Popular Polly Made pies so jolly.

Queer little Queen Always wore green.

Rollicking Rory Read a long story.

Sturdy St. Clair Marched everywhere.

Tommy and Teddy Climbed straight and steady.

Unsocial Una Gazed up at Luna.

Vigorous Vinton Always was "sprintin'."

Whimsical Winnie Started for Guinea.

Xenophon Bump Tried a high jump.

Yellow-haired Yorick Made leaps historic.

Zealous young Zed Stood on his head.

Ampersand held a book in his hand.



A is for Apples and also for Air; Children need both and we have them to spare.

B is for Butter spread thick on Brown Bread, Also for Baths before Breakfast or Bed.

C is for Cereals and Cocoa too; Consider the Calories coming to You.

D is for Dates, the kind that You eat, Deliciously sweet and far cheaper than Meat.

E is the Excellent Edible Egg, One daily at least, dear Children, we beg.

F is for Fruits, whether fresh, dried or stewed; Dried, at the Grocer's, you'll buy them, if shrewd.

G is for Gaining, as every Child could, A half pound a Month is the least that he should.

H is for Height, be as tall as you can, Weight up to Height makes a healthy strong Man.

I is for Iron in Spinach and Eggs, Builds Red Blood and Sinews for strong Arms and Legs.

J is for Jam and also for Joy, Which spread on his Bread it brings to a Boy.

K is for Kitchen so spick and so span, We all like our Food from a shining clean Pan.

L is for Luncheon served hot in the School; We wish all the Teachers could follow this Rule.

M is for Milk which makes Muscle and Bone; One pint a day would be best till you're grown.

N is for News of habits you need, To grow up so healthy you're bound to succeed.

O is for Oatmeal, the finest of Food; With Milk for your Breakfast there's nothing so good.

P is for Prunes, Potatoes and Peas, And Patriots who will be glad to eat these.

Q is for Quiet, we frequently need; After Meals don't run at the top of your speed.

R is for Rest and Round Rosy Faces; Rest is a thing which nothing replaces.

S is important and therefore I hope You'll pardon my specially mentioning Soap.

T is a Topic which Trouble begins; Both Tea and Coffee for Children are Sins.

U Understanding the best way to live, United for Service our Country to give.

V is for Vegetables; if you're too slim, These Victuals are full of Vigor and Vim.

W is for Water, the best thing to drink Between Meals as often as ever we think.

X is for Xtras of Soup or of Milk For a thin little Girl till she's finer than Silk.

Y is for You, and I tell you the Truth, Learn to be Healthy and Strong in your Youth.

Now march for it, Children, with Drum and with Fife. Z is the Zest which Health gives to Life.

[P] Used by permission of the author and of the publishers, The Child Health Organization.


Here's A, B, C, D, E, F and G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z, And oh, dear me, When shall I learn My A, B, C.


A is Aladdin B is Little Boy Blue C is Cinderella D is A Year with Dolly E is Echo and Narcissus F is The Fisherman and his Wife G is The Gingerbread Boy H is The House that Jack Built I is Indian Legends J is The Jackal and the Lion K is The King of the Golden River L is The Lion and the Mouse M is Mary and her Lamb N is Naughty Peter O is Old Mother Hubbard P is Prince Cherry Q is Quaint Stories for Children R is Little Red Hen S is Simple Simon T is Tiny Hare and the Red Fire U is Una and the Lion V is Viggo and Beate W is The Wake-up Story At the last you will see X, Y and Z.


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