A poem from Roald Dahl’s Dirty Beasts with an illustration by Quentin Blake. Taken from The Roald Dahl Treasury, a handsome collection of pieces written by Dahl and published by Jonathan Cape.
No animal is half so vile
As Crocky-Wock the crocodile.
On Saturdays he likes to crunch
Six juicy children for his lunch,
And he especially enjoys
Just three of each, three girls, three boys.
He smears the boys (to make them hoy)
With mustard from the mustard pot.
But mustard doesn’t go with girls,
It tastes all wrong with plaits and curls.
With them, what goes extremely well
Is butterscotch and caramel.
It’s such a super marvellous treat
When boys are hot and girls are sweet.
At least that’s Crocky’s point of view.
He ought to know. He’s had a few.
That’s all for now. It’s time for bed.
Lie down and rest your sleepy head…
Ssh! Listen! What is that I hear
Gallumphing softly up the stair?
Go lock the door and fetch my gun!
Go on, child, hurry! Quickly, run!
No, stop! Stand back! He’s coming in!
Oh, look, that greasy greenish skin!
The shining teeth, the greedy smile!
It’s CROCKY-WOCK, THE CROCODILE!
Apologies to any and all followers of my blog for the long silence since my last post. My life has been somewhat topsy-turvied by various events, but I now feel ready to blog again like we did last summer. Remember, a book is not just for Christmas, you can buy them all year round at The Glass Key bookshop or through The Glass Key website (
To start I am posting another poem taken from the small book Your Animal Poems published by Gordon Fraser in 1969 and illustrated by Quentin Blake.
There met two mice at Scarborough
Beside the rushing sea,
The one from Market Harborough
The other from Dundee.
They shook their feet, they clapped their hands,
And twirled their tales about;
They danced all day upon the sands
Until the stars peeped out.
‘I’m much fatigued,’ the one mouse sighed,
‘And ready for my tea.’
‘Come hame awa’.’ the other cried,
‘And tak’ a crumb wi’ me.’
They slept awhile, and then next day
Across the moors they went;
But sad to say, they lost their way
And came to Stoke-on-Trent.
And there it soon began to rain,
At which they cried full sore,
‘If ever we get home again,
We’ll not go dancing more.’
Another poem from the little book Your Animal Poems, this one is anonymous, with a drawing by Quentin Blake.
There were once two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought that was one cat too many;
So they fought and they fit,
They scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.
Another poem from Your Animal Poems with a drawing by Quentin Blake.
The Rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast,
But you and I will never know
Why Nature chose to make him so.
Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros.
Another poem taken from Your Animal Poems with a drawing by Quentin Blake.
Yet another great truth I record in my verse,
That some vipers are venemous and some the reverse;
A fact you may prove if you try,
By procuring two vipers and letting them bite;
With the first you are only the worse for a fright,
But after the second you die.
Another poem from Your Animal Poems with a picture by Quentin Blake.
I think mice
Are rather nice.
Their tails are long,
Their faces small,
They haven’t any
Chins at all.
Their ears are pink,
Their teeth are white,
They run about
The house at night.
They nibble things
They shouldn’t touch,
And no one seems
To like them much.
But I think mice
Atter her, atter her,
Scatter her, scatter her
Off her mat!
Treat her rough!
Git her, git her
Catch her, catch her,
Don’t miss her!
Run till you’re dithery,
How she spits!
Can’t she scratch!
Scritching the bark
Of the sycamore-tree,
She’s reached her ark
And’s hissing at me.
Many years ago I edited a small book of poetry entitled Your Animal Poems. At the time my then wife was studying at the Royal College of Art and we had become friendly with Quentin Blake who was teaching illustration at the college. Quentin agreed to illustrate the book and I thought that in the coming days I would post some of the poems together with the accompanying illustrations in the hope that you might enjoy them.
Yet Gentle Will the Griffin be
(What Grandpa Told the Children)
The moon? It is a griffin’s egg,
Hatching tomorrow night.
And how the little boys will watch
With shouting and delight
To see him break the shell and stretch
And creep across the sky.
The boys will laugh. The little girls,
I fear, may hide and cry.
Yet gentle will the griffin be,
Most decorous and fat,
And walk up to the Milky Way
And lap it like a cat.