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.
Yet more wisdom cast down from high atop Mt. Seuss, this cheerful trio of tales teaches some valuable lessons in humility--thanks to a sharp-eyed worm, a bragging bear and rabbit, a fuzzy-tailed bird, and a couple hundred turtles led by their foolish King Yertle.
Yertle's story leads off with his attempt to build a bigger kingdom on the backs of his loyal subjects (literally). King of everything he can see, Yertle orders his turtles to stack up under him to build a towering throne. ("He made each turtle stand on another one's back and he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.") But a plain little turtle named Mack--stuck at the bottom--decides he's had enough. ("I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down on the bottom we, too, should have rights!")
Following Yertle's downfall, a whiny girl-bird named Gertrude McFuzz wishes she had two feathers, just like Miss Lolla-Lee-Lou: "One droopy-droop feather. That's all that she had. And, oh! That one feather made Gertrude so sad." But even when Gertrude gets her wish--and then some--she finds that vanity has its price. Meanwhile, in "The Big Brag," a proud rabbit and an even-prouder bear duke it out in a battle of the senses, arguing over who's the best of the beasts, only to get their clever comeuppance from a wild-eyed little worm. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes