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I remember a few details about three children's books I read in elementary school in the USA, presumably borrowed from the school library instead of the local library, because I remember them in connection with a school I attended in November 1961 to June 1962.

And it is possible that maybe those details I remember were in two books or one book instead of three.

One detail I remember is lines from a presumably longer poem or song:

To Bath, the Queen of Cities,
to Bristol and to Pell.

Or maybe the third city was called Pew.

Bath is a famous city in Somerset, England, the UK, famous for it ancient Roman baths or hot springs.

Bristol is a famous port city in western England, about 10 miles from Bath. Many English sailors came from Bristol and spoke with a west country accent. English actor Robert Newton, who portrayed Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1950) came from the west country and used an exaggerated west country accent in the film, thus creating the stereotypical pirate accent. You can also see the SS Great Britain of 1845 docked in Bristol, the prototype of modern ships.

I haven't been able to locate a Pell or a Pew in England.

Anyway, the mention of Bath and Bristol indicates that the book was probably written in England.

Can anyone identify the book?

Edited Jan. 30, 2024. Ayshe's answer identifies the book as Who Goes to the Wood by Fay Inchfawn, 1942. And says that the third place mentioned in the rhyme is not Pell or Pew, but Pill. Pill is a village near Bristol.

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I searched on archive.org and Who Goes to the Wood by Fay Inchfawn, published 1942 came up. Page 117 has the lines:

He reached the banks of Avon
Which journeys slow and still
To Bath—the Queen of Cities—
to Bristol and to Pill.
And in the woods of Avon
The Baron bold espied
A young and lovely Lady
And craved her for his bride.
Upon his knee,
With grace dropped he,
And spoke with tenderness,
"Oh fairest yet
In Somerset,
Do be my Baronness!
Yes, be my bride,
And then reside
With me on Brockles Hill—"
The Lady sighed,
And low replied:
"Dear Baron—so I will!"

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Back came the Baron Badger,
Back to the river Frome.
With joy and pride,
He brought his bride
To his ancestral home.

Page 52 of the book has the other excerpt you remember:

A thousand years maybe,
This house was tenanted by folk
Of Badger ancestry.

Also, there's Reddy Fox character badgers want to get rid of.

So, it is likely that the three questions are for the same book.

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  • Since the OP posted them as two separate questions, I think you're fine to post answers to both questions separately, as you've clearly solved both of them. (Impressive find, btw, considering the very small amount of detail provided! Luckily the OP's memory is pretty sharp.) Otherwise, the other question will languish without an answer visible on the page, even though you've found the correct answer here.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jan 30 at 20:51
  • @Ayshe You've answered two of my questions, and maybe the third. I remember a book or two books from my childhood with titles of Badger's Wood or Who Goes to the Wood, and you found Who Goes to the Wood has two of the rhymes I asked about. I remember a book where a badger had an elaborate underground home with human architecture, similar to Badger's home in the Wind in the Willows. Does the Bader in Who Goes to the Wood book have an elaborate underground home? Commented Jan 31 at 2:39
  • @M.A.Golding I skimmed through the archive.org record and elaborate home description doesn't appear to be a detail. I have a vague memory of another book search of animal (not sure if badger) being banished and building a home, does that ring a bell? I can't find right now (it was on goodreads group and 'of course', they have to ruin the search function once in a while), I'll search later.
    – Ayshe
    Commented Jan 31 at 6:53
  • @M.A.Golding it turns out the book I was associating is "Mystery in the night woods" by John Peterson. Not very likely now that I looked at it but I'm mentioning it just in case. It is available on archive.org if you want to check: archive.org/details/mysteryinnightwo00pete
    – Ayshe
    Commented Jan 31 at 16:31

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