"C. J. Dennis was famous as a writer for adults long before he began to write for children. He and his wife had no
children of their own, and the first story he wrote especially for young people was for a friend's son, who was in hospital
following an accident. The story was all about some strange people called the Glugs, who lived in the land of Gosh, and
Dennis found that he enjoyed writing it as much as young Bert enjoyed reading it. The story later became the book THE
GLUGS OF GOSH, a favourite with adults and children alike.
"Dennis went on to put together A BOOK FOR KIDS, a marvellous collection of verse and stories, illustrated with his
own sketches. His wife later recalled: "I never knew Den more happy than when he was doing A BOOK FOR KIDS."
"One day he brought out his cover design to show her - a sketch, finally in fact not used, of a baby reading a book. She
liked the picture enormously but both of them had the uneasy feeling that something was wrong with it. They
puzzled over the problem for a while and then she saw it - the baby's big toes were on the outside of its feet! "That
shows how much I know about babies," said Dennis laughing uproariously as he went back to his study to alter the drawing.
Dennis did know one very important thing about children - he knew how to make them laugh - and his book, with favourite
verses like "The Triantiwontigongolope", "The Ant Explorer", "The Circus", "The Band", "Our Cow" and "The Swagman", has
entertained thousands of kids "over four and under four-and-eighty", as Dennis' dedication puts it, since it was first
published in 1921. It has now sold well over 45,000 copies.
"BOOK FOR KIDS is now for the first time brilliantly illustrated in full colour. The vitality and
merriment of these poems are as fresh today as they were when Dennis had such fun creating his book so many years ago, and
it is certain that for many years to come "good children over four and under four-and-eighty" will continue to enjoy the
work of this clever, vigorous writer, and to accept the invitation to "think of things, and laugh" with
The Looking Glass
The Long Road Home
The Music of Your Voice
Old Farmer Jack
The Ant Explorer
The Dawn Dance
The Spotted Heifers
The Song of the Sulky Stockman
A Change of Air
Old Black Jacko
Going to School
Upon the Road to Rockabout
Bird Song (Crow)
Bird Song (Kookaburra)
The Little Red House
You and I
The Boy who Rode into the Sunset
Bessie and the Bunyip
I Wonder Whether...
The Unsociable Wallaby
I Wonder What...
I Wonder Why...
A Very Charming Gentleman...
It is possible that this book might have started out as "A Book of Illustrated Nonsense Verse", which is mentioned by
Dennis in a letter to James
Tyrrell dated 2nd June 1915.