Sunday, March 2, 2014
The Bippolo Seed by Dr Seuss
Rating: 4 stars
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!
How could I not review one of his many great books on his birthday? I don't want him turning over in his grave on my account...
The Bippolo Seed is a collection of seven short stories or long poems--I'm not sure how you could categorize them, as Sr. Seuss is pretty great at creating things that are wonderfully uncategorizable. Just like that word I totally made up. About two years ago Lorelei went through a Dr. Seuss phase when she would check out all the books by him that our library had, and then that our county had, and then sit on the sofa and laugh at the jokes. She was just at that wonderful time when she could appreciate the silliness of his rhymes and also understand some of the jokes.
One of the short stories in the book is "Gustav, the Goldfish"--a funny story that is filled with such suspense that my boys were on the edge of their seat when I read it. Like most of Dr. Seuss's work, these stories are great to read out loud.
A boy feeds his fish just a little too much after the man who sells him the fish warns against this very thing. Due to his overfeeding, the fish grows and grows and grows. The boy puts it in a larger container and then a larger container until the fish is as big as a bathtub and then OH NO he won't fit in the boy's bathtub! With a whoooosh and a sloooosh the boy and his whale-of-a-fish burst through the bathroom door and into the now-flooded cellar. Suddenly, the man who sold the fish to Gustav appears with magic dust to shrink Gustav back to his original goldfish size.
Does this story sound familiar to you? If it does, you've probably read A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer. And Helen Palmer's married name was Helen Palmer Geisel, as in Theodore Geisel's wife. As in Dr. Seuss's WIFE! He wrote the poem that is in The Bippolo Seed in 1950 for Redbook magazine. After it was published, he formally gave his wife permission to turn it into a children's book. "Change it however your heart desires" were a few of the words included in his formal permission.
It just makes me realize, as I toil my way to writing children's books myself, that perhaps I should have married an already established author, one who had too many ideas for his own good, and I could just nab some of his and rewrite them as my own. Man! I really did NOT plan ahead...
This book has some quality, fun stuff though is not my favorite of all Dr Seuss books. Still, you can't go wrong with him--check it out for yourself!