THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL—aka Dr. Seuss—is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. From The Cat in the Hat to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his iconic characters, stories, and art style have been a lasting influence on generations of children and adults. The books he wrote and illustrated under the name Dr. Seuss (and others that he wrote but did not illustrate, including some under the pseudonyms Theo. LeSieg and Rosetta Stone) have been translated into thirty languages. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. Dr. Seuss’s long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys, and a Peabody.
Bartholomew and the Oobleck
easily qualifies as a Seuss classic, first told way back in 1949. And its message--the importance of owning up to your mistakes and saying that you're sorry--is as timeless now as it was then.
Bartholomew Cubbins serves thanklessly as pageboy to King Derwin of Didd, a headstrong man who's decided he isn't satisfied with mere sun, fog, rain, and snow. ("Humph! The things that come down from my sky!") He wants something else, something uniquely his own, so he calls in his royal magicians ("Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff. Fista, wista, mista-cuff. We are men of groans and howls, mystic men who eat boiled owls"). Happy to oblige, the magicians tell the king they can make "oobleck" fall from the sky, only nobody--not even the magicians--knows just what oobleck is. But after a night of arcane incantations, everyone in the kingdom gets a taste of the stuff (in the case of the Captain of the Guard, literally!), as the green, gluey goo gums up everything in sight.
Of course, Bartholomew tries to help, but it's up to the king to save the day, as he learns to utter not magic words but simple words with magic in them: "I'm sorry." (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes