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The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (Classic Seuss) Library Binding – March 17, 1990

4.6 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Library Binding, March 17, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The haughty ruler of Didd, King Derwin (who would foolishly go on to summon green goo from the sky in his later years) showed the first signs of his silly self-importance back in this 1938 Seuss classic, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

When Bartholomew visits town one day, selling cranberries at the market for his parents, the King's procession screeches to a halt in front of him; King Derwin then leans out of his coach, demanding to know why Bartholomew hasn't respectfully removed his hat. "But, Sire, my hat is off." He shows the king the hat in his hands that he's just doffed, but sure enough, another identical one sits atop his head. He takes that hat off only to reveal another... and another, and another, and another. Poor Bartholomew goes through 45 hats, then 136, then 233, as the angry king calls in every expert in the kingdom, from Sir Snipps the haberdasher to the Father of the Father of Nadd. In the end, Bartholomew barely gets away with his head (forget about the hats!), as Seuss spins this weird and wacky tale, a strange thing that "just happened to happen and was not very likely to happen again." (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A lovely bit of tom-foolery which keeps up the suspense and surprise until the last page."--The New York Times.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 520L (What's this?)
  • Series: Classic Seuss
  • Library Binding: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 17, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394944844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394944845
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,711,547 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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#26 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#26 in Books
#26 in Books

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Bartholomew Cubbins books are examples of Dr. Suess's early children's stories ("The 500 Hats..." having been published in 1938), and thus they lack the sing-song poetry and and bright colors of his later works. They are my favorite Suess books, however, as they speak to any child who is frustrated and put upon by adults who talk down to them. The theme of The 500 Hats... is as relevant, if not more so, than it was when the book was originally published.
The magically re-appearing hats is frustrating to bartholomew, but to the adults around him it is a terrifying and disturbing thing, not because it is dangerous but because it threatens their sense of what should be. The interventions they try range from the simple (calling in "experts" like a tailor, wise men and magicians) to the desperate and frightening (ordering Bartholomew's head and the offending hats cut off). Throughout it all, bartholomew's desires and needs are forgotten, and he is looked upon merely as an extension of this "problem." Also involved is the king's nephew, a "normal" child who spearheads the movement to do away with Bartholomew, not out of fear or concern but out of simple spite. In the end, however, the magic and wonder of the event is recognized and celebrated rather than condemed.
I would particualrly recommend this book to parents of children with learning disorders. The themes descibed above would be particularly familiar, and the conclusion especially satisfying. The grim sections of the book (such as when the king orders bartholomew's execution) should not scare anyone off from what is a wonderful and inspiring story.
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Format: Hardcover
This volume differs from most of the Dr. Seuss books we are familiar with in that the text is unrhymed, and the book takes a good 20 minutes to read aloud. This is no liability; the story's interest develops immediately, and never lags. There is an impressively idiosyncratic cast of characters to enjoy and dramatize, and Seuss's use of language is a joy. Bartholomew himself is a gutsy, honest kid without a trace of arrogance or swagger. In addition, the drawings are more detailed than in later books, and really exhibit Seuss' s skill as a graphic artist, along the lines of Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings. I loved this book as a child, and my children adore it now. As enduring children's literature, I would place it above Cat in the Hat and Horton Hears a Who any day!
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Format: Hardcover
Bartholomew Cubbins, lowest of the subject of King Derwin has gone into town to sell some cranberries for his parents. When the king passes by, he doffs his hat, only have the king stop and accuse him of not taking his hat off. Surprised to find it is true, he takes his hat off, only to find a third hat on his head. The king has him arrested and begins trying to figure out ways to keep the hat off. His wise men and magicians are certainly no help. Meanwhile, Bartholomew must figure out a way to get his hat to stay off his head before the consequences become drastic.
This is an early Dr. Seuss book, and a lesser known of his works. Still, it tells a fun story about a boy in trouble for something he didn't do. Everyone can relate to that. Even when the king becomes obsessed with the hat, Bartholomew never looses his respect for the king.
This doesn't have the charm, creativity, or poetry of some of his other works, but is still fun for kids because of the absurd length they reach to try to get rid of that hat.
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Format: Hardcover
I love this book. But not just because it is a great children's story, which is deservedly is. This book is great, because it illustrates what I beleive to be the principle of creative repetition.
The 500 hats, start simply -- each hat is as simple as the one before it. Yet, the magic of each new hat, propels the story forward through all the attempts of people to stop the flow of hats. All sorts of nay-sayers, dis-believers, and the supposedly wise are challenged by what they see.
Eventually, this creative process creates such conflict that takes the situations to new heights, which somehow inspire spontantous improvement and variety. What used to be simple, becomes increasingly ornate and valuable, culminating in a creation that transcends the entire situation.
So rather than a simple story, I take this as a metaphor to inspire the creative process. Rather than attempt to create the great works, just do the simple acts repeatly and notice the small variety accumulate into something great. (However, it would be silly, to take this as a metaphor for compound interest. ;)
My art teacher described it this way. "Even with the simplest of subject matter, if you create many versions, over and over, it gives your work stength, a backbone, if you will, that will allow you to see the great art among your own work."
So, even though this is a childrens book, it is worth buying, because it represents a value that can be meaningful to adults.
And it's a fine tale as well.
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By A Customer on March 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss)
Wrote rhythms and rhymes guaranteed to amuse.
Bartholomew Cubbins is a tale you may know
Of a lad who has 500 feathered chapeaux.
Each time he removes one, another's revealed
(As far as the end goes, my lips must be sealed.)
I marveled at Cubbins when I was a lad.
Now my daughter is thrilled when it's read by her dad.
Unless by fine writing you're gravely offended
This Dr. Seuss classic is much recommended.
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