Sunday, February 8, 2015

Book Review: Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story showing the dangers of pride
Cons: For some, the use of magic
The Bottom Line:
Creating weather
Can lead to consequences
Fun story for us

What Is That Coming from the Sky?

Dr. Seuss rarely revisited characters.  I can only think of three times he did, the popular Cat in the Hat books, Horton the elephant, and Bartholomew Cubbins and King Derwin of Didd.  Bartholomew and the Oobleck was one of his early books and, as a result, his first sequel.

King Derwin is tired of the weather.  The same four things come down from the sky with no variety.  So he decides to have his magicians create something new – Oobleck.  However, when his page, Bartholomew Cubbins, observes it in the morning, he senses that something isn’t right.  Is the king’s new substance something to celebrate?  Or should Bartholomew be sounding the alarm?

This book was released still early in Dr. Seuss’s career.  As a result, it isn’t told in rhyme.  There are some passages that do rhyme, most noticeably the magician’s chanting, but for the most part it is told in prose.  Actually, I found myself wanting to read it in meter.  The pictures are pure Seuss, however.  They may be a tad more realistic than usual, but you’ll certainly recognize his style.

The story is fun as Bartholomew tries to get the word out about the danger of this new weather only to be met with obstacles at every turn.  The usual Seuss creativity is certainly in evidence here.

The moral of the story is also good.  There’s the lesson about being thankful for what you have and one about being truly humble.  Neither feel preachy but instead come from the story organically.

I know I’d read this one as a kid, but we didn’t read it often.  If the use of magic isn’t something you’ll want to introduce to your child, you’ll definitely want to steer clear of this one.

Other than that, it is worth tracking down this lesser know Seuss book.  Bartholomew and the Oobleck might be an early book from his career, but it is definitely fun.

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