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4.7 out of 5 stars
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
When you first open this book, you will be struck that it's not quite like any other Dr. Seuss book. The first drawings are smaller and simpler. The poetry is a little more restrained. You'll wonder why it's different, and then you will realize that this was his very first book for children. Like most of us, he was a little restrained at first. But, before long, the full gamut of Dr. Seuss is loose!
Marco is a small boy who walks to school along Mulberry Street. His father likes to encourage him. "'Marco, keep your eyelids up and see what you can see.'" Marco's father is looking for the eye of a scientist or a reporter. But Marco has the eye of a poet. So when Marco tells what he has imagined he has seen, his father sternly says, "'Your eyesight's much too keen. Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales.'"
The story then takes you through one day when Marco only sees a horse pulling a man on a broken-down wagon on Mulberry Street. But Marco soon imagines something much grander. If you change a horse for a zebra, that's better. Or you could change that zebra for a large reindeer. Or better yet, how about an elephant with a Rajah wearing rubies on a throne on top? And on it goes.
When Marco gets home, he's elated. "I ran up the steps and I felt simply GREAT!" The reason for his excitement is because "I HAD A STORY THAT NO ONE COULD BEAT!" I think you'll agree.
So what does he tell his father? You'll be amazed!
I found that this book worked well at several levels. First, it captures the kind of miscommunication between parent and child that can set up barriers that exclude what could be much shared joy. Marco's father needs to learn to enjoy his son's imagination, as long as Marco isn't confused about what is real and what is imagination.
Second, many people have trouble understanding how to be creative. Substitution of elements is a classic technique. Here, the structure of that process is elegantly displayed. First, you replace one element. Then you see if that helps you see a way to create a related replacement of another element. Then what does that suggest? And on it goes. Soon, there is no obvious link back to the beginning, but you have created something wonderful that would have been hard to do from a blank sheet of paper. Fiction writers, pay attention!
Third, most children these days complain that they are bored all of the time if they don't have someone putting on a world class act for them. Here is a good role model for how they can create an exciting set of thoughts out of something very mundane. Wow! Is this needed, or what?
To take advantage of this potential, I suggest that you and your child go out for a walk and play this imagination game together. Then, come back and make a book out of the experience that recounts how you went from one step to another. That's a wonderful way to ensure that your child's natural brilliance has a chance to develop even further, and she or he will realize that you want to enter into play with him or her. Wonderful bonding will result!
Enjoy all of the potential of everyone and everything!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2000
This is a fine book. It appeals to everyone I know, from a bright young sprite to an old grump. I especially love to read it aloud because it has great rhythm and rhyme and a refrain, that everybody likes to join in on. I also recommend it for purchase for your own small child, grandchild, neighbor or friend, because even non-readers will pull it off the shelf over and over again. Seuss's pictures are completely engaging. I'll close with one piece of trivia: This was the first children's book Seuss ever wrote. At the time, he was making his living drawing cartoons for magazines, newspapers, and advertising campaigns. I've read his own account of how he got started on it. He was on a cruise during a storm, listening to his ship's engines pound out a rhythm and he came up with the refrain. Started to make notes as to just what his narrator might see, worked on the text and added drawings at home, and sent it out to editors only to have it rejected umpteen times. Finally he just happened to bump into a editor he knew who liked it and he was off on a new career. What a genius.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The main character in this book is named Marco, and he has a slight problem with an over-active imagination. Every morning when Marco leaves home to walk to school, 'Dad always says to me, "Marco, keep your eyelids up and see what you can see."' We meet Marco when he is on the way back from school and all he's noticed 'was a horse and a wagon on Mulberry Street.' Marco isn't too proud of this observation, "That can't be my story. That's only a start. I'll say that a ZEBRA was pulling that cart!"
Slowly and surely the story changes, now the zebra is pulling a chariot, now it's a reindeer, next it's pulling a sled and before you know it, he's got two giraffes and an elephant pulling a big brass band with a trailer attached on behind going through town escorted by the police. Marco gets so excited about this 'story that no one could beat! And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street!' But when Dad asks him what he sees he replies '"Nothing" I said, growing red as a beat, "but a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry street."'
The story is told in rhyme, as you might be able to see from some of the quotes I used. The story flows wonderfully, just like all of Dr. Seuss' works. The pictures are wonderful as well. The way all the animals are smiling and seem pleased that they get to pull these things is just really cute. The colors used are really nice, and the pictures are really bold and bright.
Personally, this is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books because I really like Marco's imagination and how he is always telling 'such outlandish tales... turning minnows into whales'.
Loggie-log-log-log
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2001
My favorite book out of the ten I read is And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss. I liked this book because after you read it your imagination is running wild. It is a book about a young boy's imagination when you can't stop it from running like an Energizer battery. After the story was over I couldn't stop thinking about more things to add to the young boy's story to make it even better. It is a great book for this project because you are really tapping into your childhood and your young imagination. I think everyone should read this book to see the magic of being a child. If you like Dr. Seuss books this is one you will really enjoy. It is fast pace and it rhymes to help the story be more fun.
My stepmom thought that this book was very creative because it was full of imagination. This book made her laugh because all of Marco's ideas were very silly and fun. She thought that it read at a very fast pace. She also loved the pictures and drawings because they kept changing as the boy's thoughts kept elaborating. The words rhymed from line to line keeping her interest throughout the book. Lastly, she shared that Dr. Seuss is one of her favorite authors of all time.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
New York City at a time when seeing a horse and wagon was so common-place that Marco, walking home from school had to think of something better to tell his dad when he got home. And, oh, what sights he saw! right there on Mulberry Street. Elephants, Eskimos, airplanes dropping confetti, and "a Chinese boy, who eats with sticks." It was great for a little boy in the late 30s in Northern Minnesota, and little kids love when I read it here in California in the 90s. It gives a feeling of Lower Manhattan that can be still found in the city today, though the horse and wagon might be harder to find. Wonderful imagery!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 1999
Seuss knows,as any good children's writer should, that the best source is the uninhibited child's delightful imagination.Only a young,fresh mind can make up a story that no one could beat...from seeing a horse & cart on Mulberry Street.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2007
This book spotlights the line between imagination and deception. An imaginative boy thinks outlandish thoughts and even considers telling them as the truth. Just before I read the last page to my children (ages 5, 3, and 1), I asked them what they thought Marco would tell his father. My children gave sincere thought to the question and one of them decided that he would tell them the imagined story and not the real one. They were delighted with the ending and when asked to tell me three things about the book, they responded that the book was about "telling the truth".

Despite the wholesomeness of the ending, the book is filled with fun that is so typical of Dr. Seuss. It gives a nudge toward thinking outside of the box and making the most of your surroundings. My girls were smiling and intently listening from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I babysit our two grandsons, and by the time our 2nd was born (when our 1st was almost 4), we already had a ton of baby/toddler toys. So for our 2nd's first Christmas last year, we decided to begin a collection of Dr. Seuss (by Theodore Seuss Geisel) books which - even though he couldn't make immediate use of them - his older brother could begin to enjoy and then he could grow into. We really enjoyed researching these books and discovered so many interesting tidbits about them! This was Seuss's first children's book, and according to him, he came close to burning the manuscript after it'd been rejected by publishers dozens of times (what a terrible shame that would've been!) The book is named after a street close to Seuss's childhood home in Springfield, Mass, and the main character (Marco) is named after the son of Seuss's editor (the book's dedicated to Marco's mom.) It begins with Marco's dad advising him - as usual - to keep his eyes open on the way to school and take in the sights, but Marco knows from past experience that Dad isn't interested in hearing any of the embellishments his imagination comes up with ("Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales.") The only thing that Marco really takes note of is a horse and a wagon on Mulberry Street... before his wonderful imagination takes over again! The following pages are filled with Seuss's wonderful way of rhyming which is fun to read and so enjoyable for our grandson to listen to, as well as vivid color illustrations. When he arrives home, he decides it's best to forego the embellishments in favor of just reporting the "plain horse and wagon" to Dad. (Too bad Dad missed out on the fun!) Interesting to think that this book was part of the inspiration behind "Lookin' Out My Back Door" by Creedence Clearwater Revival!

We love this book because one of our main goals has been to encourage our grandson's imagination/creativity during his childhood (kids are forced to grow up so quickly these days!) Having been able to devote my full attention to our 1st for 4 years, it was a difficult transition (for both of us!) when I had to start dividing it (especially since our 2nd only takes a couple of half hour naps during the day!) One thing I've made sure to do is to take advantage of those nap times for focused one-on-one play with our 1st, and to create our special "reading time" while he eats his lunch. Mulberry Street is a definite favorite, as is "McElligot's Pool" (in which Marco and his imagination appear again.) Although I'm a bit melancholy about our 1st starting all-day kindergarten this fall, I'm dearly looking forward to the luxury of having several years of focused time with our 2nd before he heads off into this big world as well. Not as young as I used to be, so maybe nap time can then turn into Grandma's "break time"! :-) We're absolutely certain he'll enjoy these books as much as his big brother has!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 19, 2009
This is a great Dr. Seuss book. In fact it would be hard to say who enjoyed it more, me or the children. The story is about a boy who everyday as he walks home from school, spends some time concocting a wacky story to share with his dad.

In true Seussian fashion, there is great rhyming, fun artwork and lots of imagination. I particularly liked that the book demonstrates how children can "stretch" their own imagination. The technique is simple and one even very young children can practice and enjoy. It involves taking an ordinary scene and exaggerating first one element and then another, until the whole situation is really outlandish and silly. If you start with a wagon being pulled by a horse, for example, the horse can become a zebra, and the wagon something more elaborate until step by step it becomes one of those strange Seussian contraptions with big and little wheels, and umbrellas in odd places. Trust us, it's great fun! And the sharing of the father and child is very heartwarming as well.

Definitely Give This One A Try!
Both my 6 and 8 year olds enjoyed this book. The artwork is very good Seussian stuff, and the rhyming is some of his best in my opinion. I would also add that Seuss seems to be a very good bet for youngsters that are reading ahead of their age level as the content is not overly sophisticated.

Reading Level :::
The Accelerated Reading level (ATOS) for this book is 3.6 - which means that this book is has been analyzed and thought appropriate for the average child reading in the 6th month of the 3rd Grade. This is only a guide for children practicing reading, and the book can of course be read to children of any age.

Pam T~
mom and reviewer for BooksForKids-reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2012
We see many different things on our street or any different street that we cannot explain in words. For example, on the streets while I live, I see things like bits of garbage, emergency vehicles flying past people and animals turned into roadkill. But sometimes, we see some things that we might never find on the streets at all. One boy will tell his father a great experience on a street that he saw in this great book which happens to be the first children's book ever written by the legendary Dr. Seuss.

In the story, we meet a little boy named Marco who every day has to tell his father what he saw on his way home from school. But every time he tells his dad of his stories, they tend to be a bit lacking and not believable. So one day, Marco decides to twist up his story a bit while walking home through Mulberry Street. He sees a horse and a wagon, but he decides to change the horse into a zebra and the driver into a charioteer. But Marco thinks that a zebra is too so he changes it into a reindeer. Throughout the story, Marco continues to change his story into he turns it into a big street-wide blowout.

This may truly be one of the most original books ever created for children. It has a perfect point and the mind of a child. It's also a perfect debut for Dr. Seuss, since we read and see how his work was like before he evolved into the legend he has becomed. Readers will love this book and how it's so simple and imaginative that any child will enjoy it, even if they haven't read any of his books. The book is just great from beginning to end and no Dr. Seuss fan should ever be left without this great treasure.
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