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on September 17, 2002
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When I was ages 4-7 with constant earaches, and finally needing my tonsils out, this book was the only bribe that would get me to the pediatricians office.( He had a copy in his waiting room)
My kids loved it just as much. Im not sure why it's even more popular than other Dr. Seuss. Perhaps because of the beautifully expanding imaginary depths that the hero imagines lie beneath McElligot's Pool. The delightfully bizarre illustrations of the ever more outrageous fish that might populate this world are mysterious and entrancing. As always, Dr. Seuss is a genius at putting common, and his own invented words together into sentences that sing themselves off the page.
This is a wonderful story for kids 3-7. (Please, don't make them go to the doctor's office to read it) :-)
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This book sets up a contrast between the sour pessimism of an adult farmer and the unbounded optimism of a boy. The farmer finds the boy with his fishing line dangling in a small water-filled crack in the earth.
"You're sort of a fool!
You'll never catch fish
in McElligot's Pool!"
As you can imagine, youngster often take that as a challenge to keep doing what they are doing, and this one certainly did. His fertile imagination soon fills the world with opportunity for good fishing.
"This pool might be bigger
Than you or I know!"
He goes on to imagine that it could connect underground all the way to the sea and contain many varieties of fish (Dog Fish, Catfish, or "even a fish made of strawberry jelly" not to mention one with a pinwheel-like tail, another with fins like a sail, and many many more). The book's core is a series of fantastic fish, each more remarkable than the last. The most exciting one to me is a THING-A-MA-JIGGER (that's much bigger than a whale).
Having thought about all of these fish, the boy ponders,
"Oh, the sea is so full of a number of fish,
If a fellow is patient, he might get his wish!"
But, the boy is still there with the little pool. What else is he thinking? He's actually congratulating himself for being so wise.
"And that's why I think
That I'm not such a fool
When I sit here and fish
In McElligot's Pool!"
That, of course, is the downside of optimism. You can spend a lot of time doing things that make little sense, in hopes they will pan out. Research has shown that optimists vastly outperform pessimists. The difference seems to be that optimists try more things, and some of them work!
I strongly urge you to share this book with your child and anyone else who needs more optimism. The story will be like Dumbo's magic feather in providing confidence to try.
After you and your child have enjoyed this book many times, I suggest that you discuss other ways to encourage appropriate optimism. For example, you can ask other people what has worked well. You can also imagine what perfection would be like and then work backward to how you might capture some of it. In having these conversations, you will be arming your child with many good tools for employing limitless optimism to achieve much more!
Look on the bright side, always!
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on August 9, 2004
I am not sure why this book doesn't get the attention of Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, or the Sneetches. While there isn't an overt ecological or politcal message hidden in these pages, I think the story of a boy who doesn't give up in the face of criticism is a great one!

When I was young, nothing could get my imagination going like this book! I love how Seuss takes the reader through a pond, and underground river, and finally the ocean! And you begin to think, maybe, just maybe he'll catch something after all. (I like to think he did).

Like any good kid's book, McElligot's Pool is not soley based on message. The illustrations here are as diverse and fantastic as anything he did, if a little softer. You know what? I still love this book. I think there's a good chance I'll get more out of the 64 pages in this book then I would out of 800 of the newest fiction of today. Just because an idea is simple doesn't mean it's silly.
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on May 12, 1999
The earlier reviewer is right; who cannot like a book by Dr. Seuss? This classic children's story is about a boy fishing in a small pool and imagining all types of fish that he might catch, most of them quite fanciful. I still remember laughing when I first read it as a child. The book was a 1948 Caldecott Honor book (i.e., a runner-up to the Medal winner) for best illustration in a children's book.
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on June 23, 2004
I read this energetic, imaginative story to my children, and now I get to read it to my grandchildren - that means all the big and little fish will become alive again! The pictures are big - big with personality - and if anyone thought fish were boring, well, think again. My daughter learned to read on this book, and it was the one book she would "read" to me (by memory) - all I did was turn the pages. This is a hard-to-find Seuss book, and well worth the search.
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on February 22, 2015
I read this as a child and could never get the pictures out of my head! They are wonderful, and as a little girl, I just LOVED the one of the fish with her long colorful flowing fins. This story really gets the child's imagination going.... What kind of fish are down there? Where do they come from? How far do they come? What do the fish look like? Wonderful! Any and all children would love to have this book, and any parent will love reading it to them. I bought a new copy for my kids who now have children of their own. My grandchildren love it, too. I really believe that this is the BEST Dr. Seuss story!
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on February 25, 2014
This is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories. Even if the copy had arrived in horrible condition and taken forever to get to me, it couldn't have earned less than four stars simply for being a favorite story. However, the copy delivered to me was perfect, the story just as I remembered and my daughter, now four, enjoys it immensely; she references it when we go fishing at our local park. I love the enthusiasm and optimism that Marco (the protagonist) brings to fishing in a farm pond. The binding quality is good, as well, and barring bad behavior--children are known to occasionally suffer from lapses in judgement--I anticipate it lasting long enough for her to read to her own children one day.

In about thirty or forty years.
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on July 22, 2014
McElligot's Pool is my favorite Doctor Seuss book of all time. Imagination should be encouraged in children, and this book illustrates the concept for children beautifully. I love most Doctor Seuss books, but the drawings in this one are glorious and fanciful, encouraging the readers imagination to take flight. I first read it when I was 6 years old, and still have my copy. I bought this one for my new grandson.
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on November 19, 2001
McElligot's Pool is a favorite bed time story for my husband and daughters. The places you go in McElligot's Pool are quite fascinating...and of course always entertaining! Both my husband and I remember this story fondly from our childhoods as well. I should mention too, that part of the charm for us is that "McElligott" is our last name. The kids get quite a kick out of seeing such an unusual name in print!! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! The book has become difficult to find lately.
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on February 20, 2015
I remember reading this book while in Elementary School nearly 60 years ago, and the images that stirred my imagination back then still have their hold on me to this day. Dr. Seuss is a master of creating imaginary worlds that draw children in and keep them young forever!
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