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Bartholomew and the Oobleck: (Caldecott Honor Book) (Classic Seuss) Hardcover – October 12, 1949

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Bartholomew and the Oobleck easily qualifies as a Seuss classic, first told way back in 1949. And its message--the importance of owning up to your mistakes and saying that you're sorry--is as timeless now as it was then.

Bartholomew Cubbins serves thanklessly as pageboy to King Derwin of Didd, a headstrong man who's decided he isn't satisfied with mere sun, fog, rain, and snow. ("Humph! The things that come down from my sky!") He wants something else, something uniquely his own, so he calls in his royal magicians ("Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff. Fista, wista, mista-cuff. We are men of groans and howls, mystic men who eat boiled owls"). Happy to oblige, the magicians tell the king they can make "oobleck" fall from the sky, only nobody--not even the magicians--knows just what oobleck is. But after a night of arcane incantations, everyone in the kingdom gets a taste of the stuff (in the case of the Captain of the Guard, literally!), as the green, gluey goo gums up everything in sight.

Of course, Bartholomew tries to help, but it's up to the king to save the day, as he learns to utter not magic words but simple words with magic in them: "I'm sorry." (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

From the Inside Flap

Illus. in color by the author. An ooey-gooey, green oobleck was not exactly what the king had in mind when he ordered something extra-special from his royal magicians.  
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 500L (What's this?)
  • Series: Classic Seuss
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (October 12, 1949)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394800753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394800752
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"A person's a person, no matter how small," Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. "Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted."

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of kids learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at that time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" which became a popular expression.

Geisel published his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937, after 27 publishers rejected it.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#54 in Books
#54 in Books

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The King of Didd loved to look into the sky. But he was increasingly unhappy with what he saw -- only rain, snow, fog, and sunshine. As a powerful king, he decided to change things so he could get more.
The book is a wonderful look at the perils of getting what you think you want, a great lesson for children to learn at an early age. Unlike other Dr. Seuss books, this one is mostly in prose. The color in the illustrations is limited to green to flesh out the oobleck. The drawings and the humor though are first rate Dr. Seuss!
Bartholomew is the King's page boy, and the king's source of common sense. When the king decides to call in his magicians to create oobleck, Bartholomew's warnings are unheeded. Even the magicians give a warning, for they have never made oobleck before and don't quite know how it will turn out. Nevertheless, the king orders the magicians to go ahead. When the first green drops hit, the king decides to declare a holiday.
But soon there are problems. Oobleck is very sticky! And it's coming down in ever increasing quantities. What do you do?
The resolution is a particularly good one, for it reinforces the moral that any willful thing we decide to do can be undone if we unbend our will. (It also encourages good manners.)
Reading this book reminded me of when I was about five. I only liked to eat junk food. I begged my parents to buy ever larger quantities. Finally, my mother said. "All right. You're in charge of buying food for yourself this week. You'll have only that to eat." I stocked up on potato chips, candy, soft drinks, and other wonderful snacks. By the fourth day, I couldn't face any more junk food. I begged my mother to take back the job of selecting food for me!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By 1. on August 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Kids "get it", but do adults? I was surprised that my young neices and nephews got so much out of this story. The notion that wise men are often doing foolish things, that kings are often bad leaders, that the whims of the powerful wreak havoc on everyone else when indulged, and that children are the future (for better or worse), all come together here. And there are some things in life that are best left as they are, but that's not obvious until they're altered. Perhaps weather manipualation will become as common as irrigation and power distribution in the future. But until then, this (like many "Dr. Seuss" titles) is a book that uses the vehicle of a children's tale to make some very profound statements that speak to adults as well.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu) on May 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Boy, this book takes me back when I was very young. I really enjoyed it. And, now that I'm considerably older, I still enjoy it. It is a story about a king who is bored with the things that fall from the sky (for example, rain, snow, etc.) and orders his magicians to make something new. They come up with oobleck, a green, gooey substance. But, when it begins to fall, it messes up everything and the king's page, Bartholomew, teaches the king the power of the words, "I'm sorry." The book was a 1950 Caldecott Honor book (i.e., a runner-up to the Medal winner) for best illustration in a children's book.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great motivational book for science class. After reading about the gooey sticky oobleck, take corn starch, water and food coloring to make your own oobleck. It looks like a liquad, but feels like a liquad and a solid! The kids love it
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
One of the few sequels Suess wrote,it is also one of the best.King Derwin wants to control the weather and has his magicians(in their secret cave in Neeka-Tave)conjur up a brand-new substance-which not even they know all about.The oobleck storm messes up the kingdom the day it falls-and King Derwin realizes how to stop it. With a little-okay,a big-help from Bartholemew, the King sees that the best magic words are the simplest ones.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Michael Cohen on May 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Bartholomew and the Oobleck begins with the King of Did being irritated and bored with the weather. His page, Bartholmew, tries to enlighten the king with simple common sense. The king ignores him and turns to (literally) magical solutions for his current peeve. When the results turn disastrous, Barthlomew tries to warn his friends in the castle. No one listens to him, being more concerned with their own business and as a result, they all end up worse off. Then, when the king finally listens to him, a ray of hope appears amidst the crisis.
Written in 1949, "Batholomew and the Oobleck", like its prequel, "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" hardly feels like a Dr. Suess book. The illustrations look like charcoal sketches (except of course for the green oobleck) and the text lacks the sing-song poetry commonly associated with Suess books. Despite this, the Bartholomew books have withstood the tests of time and tastes because they touch on a subject that is near to the hearts of all children, but which is rarely addressed in children's literature. Many times children find themselves surrounded by adults hurrying about, fixated on their own agendas. When a child is in the thick of such a situation, he or she will often be ignored. After all, why should adults listen to children? BATO tells us why; children can sometimes see situations as clearly or moreso than adults specifically because they are not distracted by adult agendas! The lesson of BATO stands for all generations, and that is what makes it a timeless classic.
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