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Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Anniversary Edition Library Binding – September 23, 2008
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|Library Binding, September 23, 2008||
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In his Retrospective, Cohen tells us that 'when the top-selling children's books of all time were compiled in 2001, Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories had sold more copies than either Curious George or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' ...I was fascinated to learn that Yertle was 'actually a caricature of Adolf Hitler - 'a little domineering guy who pushes people around.'' Cohen also includes two lost stories - The Ruckus and The Kindly Snather - which both teach a lesson and both made me smile. If you're a Dr. Seuss fan (and who isn't?) then you really should have this anniversary edition...in your collection - to read and chortle over with young children, or simply to enjoy, and think about, on your own. [Rated with 3 books, highest rating] --BookLoons.com, Hilary Williamson (founder), 11/17/2008 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
When not searching the Web for Seussiana, Seuss scholar-collector Charles D. Cohen, a practicing dentist, is apt to be searching a wide-open mouth for cavities. He lives in South Deerfield, Massachusetts.
From the Hardcover edition.
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The first of the three stories is Yertle the Turtle. It's about a king turtle that decides that his pond is not kingdom enough. He orders his subjects -- other turtles -- to stack themselves so that he can see further; his assumption being that he is the king of all he surveys.
It's actually very amusing to see how many ways there are to interpret this story. A quick trip over to Amazon.com will show you that people view Yertle as everything from simple bossy-boots, to a stand in for Hitler or Stalin. And far be it for me to argue that they aren't correct. And, in fact, this is the power of this story. That it can be understood from different perspectives, so that children can 'grow into' various interpretations.
Personally, my first thought was that Yertle was like the British Aristocracy, while the lowly turtle Mac (at the bottom of the stack) was the American Colonies.
The second story is "Gertrude McFuzz". Gertrude is a bird that is suffering from jealousy. She sees La-La Lee Lou and wants a grand tale like her. In the end though, she comes to appreciate what she has.
The final story continues with the theme of humility and is entitled, "The Big Brag".
The Accelerated Reading designation for this book is 3.3 which means that your average 3rd Grader in the 3rd month of school should be able to read this book themselves without getting too frustrated by words they don't know. [The book can be read to any age, of course.]
The "official" Interest Level is given as Preschool thru 2nd Grade. I, personally, disagree and think this makes no sense given the reading designation, and would suggest Preschool on thru fourth grade.
Meant for practice reading, Seuss tried to include useful messages when he could. The ones in this books are particularly useful and deal with consideration, jealousy, and bragging.
mom and reviewer for BooksForKids-Reviews
And I'll start with Yertle.
Yertle is the answer to the last eight years. In fact he's my answer to just about anyone I saw put on the three piece and start getting into the leadership mode, especially those without more reason than a drive to be "on top."
So here's the story .....spoilers... so stop reading right now if you never read it before.....my 1st graders just loved hearing making me read it their demanded three times. It was really my daughter Sylvia's favorite.
(She's at Cal Tech now majoring in neural science and English. She wants to help the world. By understanding the mechanisms of the brain. She read this at three. To me. As I dozed. But now I'm awake and listening, you should too.)
Seuss wrote a story about a turtle that is a King of a small pond in the middle of nowhere.
Just like a grander view of the universe takes you to recognition of your speck-i-ness, Yertle decides that "he needs more than this," so through clever and delightful rhyming he gets his fellow turtles to stack themselves. Orders it actually. He gets an "idea." So now he has a higher throne, a better "view" and more to claim. Of course he thinks it's their duty to do this for him, so then he demands and commands it continue upward. And dutifully they do it. As he rises in the pond, he proclaims dominion over all that he sees. It's amazing just that. The notion is so like what we know both from child's play and nation state. It just keeps getting more outrageous. UNTIL a small turtle with an aching back doesn't defy him so much as tell him he hurts. His back hurts. And it's not fun to give up your freedom to Yertle's idea. Hum.
Yertle is furious, Shut Up...he shouts back at Mack.
It's the clearest indication Yertle is really on a all for me binge, not unlike these modern times in demand for bonuses and riches, it's just so darn hilariously blind, without a drop of fellow turtlely concern.
And dutifully they just keep stepping up to stack themselves into a mountain for his highness to sit upon. The idiom he is packing in all of this is fantastic. Part of my epiphany was just in how witty.....until...until the day...Mack burps.
Now that's surely a spoiler. I'm sorry. It all comes down. And Yertle is a mud master just fallen from command. Felled by that drop too much when it all just reached the tipping point where not one demand more could be taken. And not an act of defiance fells him, it's really just an act of normal human digestion. It's a great addition to a tale turtle mania.
I see this speaking to our world now, as the rich pile on just one inequity after another with this put upon bunch of fellow earth dwellers allowing this to the point of utter absurdity. It's gotten to the point where it can't take a hiccup. It's ready for something falling.
You know, you don't hate Yertle. You don't get that vibe. My daughter always sort of shakes her head like "poor tutrle-sap" it could be any of us I suppose. It is any of us in a sense, the price of just going along never asking a question.
We have a tech czar at our school I'm going to give a copy. Major Yertle.
It happens. Fall in mud, back to being a turtle that learned something worth knowing. Half this country ought to consider delux editions..