FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Compared to the problems of some of the creatures the old man describes, the boy is really quite lucky.
"When I was quite young and quite small for my size, I met an old man in the Desert of Drize." The old man looks like a cross between a cartoon granddad and a swami; he sits on top of a cactus, and tells his young listener that the best way to get over any sadness is to imagine all the ways you could be worse off. "Suppose, just suppose, you were poor Herbie Hart, who has taken his Throm-dim-bu-lator apart!" This has a more hurried, formulaic feel than the best Seuss, and it seems to showcase a less acute grasp of child psychology than usual. (Does it really make a child feel better to think of poor Harry Haddow, who, "try as he will, can't make a shadow," or Gucky Gown, "who lives by himself ninety miles out of town"?) But the illustrations alone make this morality tale a minor classic. (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr