Bartholomew and the Oobleck

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Overview

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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Overview

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

  • ISBN-13: 9780394800752
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/1949
  • Series: Classic Seuss Series
  • Pages: 56
  • Sales rank: 94,944
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.33 (w) x 11.29 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL—aka Dr. Seuss—is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. From The Cat in the Hat to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his iconic characters, stories, and art style have been a lasting influence on generations of children and adults. The books he wrote and illustrated under the name Dr. Seuss (and others that he wrote but did not illustrate, including some under the pseudonyms Theo. LeSieg and Rosetta Stone) have been translated into thirty languages. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. Dr. Seuss’s long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys, and a Peabody.

Biography

Now that generations of readers have been reared on The Cat in the Hat and Fox in Socks, it's easy to forget how colorless most children's books were before Dr. Seuss reinvented the genre. When the editorial cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1936, the book was turned down by 27 publishers, many of whom said it was "too different." Geisel was about to burn his manuscript when it was rescued and published, under the pen name Dr. Seuss, by a college classmate.

Over the next two decades, Geisel concocted such delightfully loopy tales as The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Horton Hears a Who. Most of his books earned excellent reviews, and three received Caldecott Honor Awards. But it was the 1957 publication of The Cat in the Hat that catapulted Geisel to celebrity.

Rudolf Flesch's book Why Johnny Can't Read, along with a related Life magazine article, had recently charged that children's primers were too pallid and bland to inspire an interest in reading. The Cat in the Hat, written with 220 words from a first-grade vocabulary list, "worked like a karate chop on the weary little world of Dick, Jane and Spot," as Ellen Goodman wrote in The Detroit Free Press. With its vivid illustrations, rhyming text and topsy-turvy plot, Geisel's book for beginning readers was anything but bland. It sold nearly a million copies within three years.

Geisel was named president of Beginner Books, a new venture of Random House, where he worked with writers and artists like P.D. Eastman, Michael Frith, Al Perkins, and Roy McKie, some of whom collaborated with him on book projects. For books he wrote but didn't illustrate, Geisel used the pen name Theo LeSieg (LeSieg is Geisel spelled backwards).

As Dr. Seuss, he continued to write bestsellers. Some, like Green Eggs and Ham and the tongue-twisting Fox in Socks, were aimed at beginning readers. Others could be read by older children or read aloud by parents, who were often as captivated as their kids by Geisel's wit and imagination. Geisel's visual style appealed to television and film directors, too: The animator Chuck Jones, who had worked with Geisel on a series of Army training films, brought How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to life as a hugely popular animated TV special in 1966. A live-action movie starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch was released in 2000.

Many Dr. Seuss stories have serious undertones: The Butter Battle Book, for example, parodies the nuclear arms race. But whether he was teaching vocabulary words or values, Geisel never wrote plodding lesson books. All his stories are animated by a lively sense of visual and verbal play. At the time of his death in 1991, his books had sold more than 200 million copies. Bennett Cerf, Geisel's publisher, liked to say that of all the distinguished authors he had worked with, only one was a genius: Dr. Seuss.

Good To Know

The Cat in the Hat was written at the urging of editor William Spaulding, who insisted that a book for first-graders should have no more than 225 words. Later, Bennett Cerf bet Geisel $50 that he couldn't write a book with just 50 words. Geisel won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, though to his recollection, Cerf never paid him the $50.

Geisel faced another challenge in 1974, when his friend Art Buchwald dared him to write a political book. Geisel picked up a copy of Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! and a pen, crossed out each mention of the name "Marvin K. Mooney," and replaced it with "Richard M. Nixon." Buchwald reprinted the results in his syndicated column. Nine days later, President Nixon announced his resignation.

The American Heritage Dictionary says the word "nerd" first appeared in print in the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo: "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo / And bring back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo / A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!" The word "grinch," after the title character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is defined in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as a killjoy or spoilsport.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Theodor Seuss Geisel (full name); also: Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      September 4, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      La Jolla, California

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Great Science Springboard

    I'm a teacher and used this book to being a lesson on states of matter. The kids really liked the story and we stopped and made predictions several times during the reading. Then we made oobleck (recipe on the internet). It's a bit long for younger kids, and the illustrations are just black, white, and green; but it really was fun. Please note, unlike most Dr. Suess books this is not written in verse.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review

    A tale of children's fantasy by Dr. Seuss doesn't hold back.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    Oobleck is always fun!

    Great read-aloud for younger students or your own children. I read it to my students every year and follow up with our own batch of oobleck for an interesting hands-on science activity!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2002

    A book for any age

    My favorite works are as follows. "The Great Gatsby," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "All the President's Men," "Hamlet," "Julius Caesar," and some John Grisham. "Bartholomew and the Oobleck is right up there with them. Hollywood needs to make it into a movie -so that they can at least say that they made one real story this year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2001

    Our class review

    We love the book Bartholomew and the Oobleck.It is a very funny and exciting book. We really like the part when the Oobleck was raining down. We also liked when the magicians made the Oobleck come down. We also learned a great lesson about listening when someone gives you a good idea. This is a great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2001

    A Power Trip Can Put You in a Sticky Situation!

    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! After you finish enjoying the story, I suggest that you also talk to your child about how to get rid of unexpected substances. This can be a great encourager of creativity. For years, I have used an interview question that I learned during a scholarship interview while I was in high school. What would you do if you woke up one morning and the world was covered to a depth of 30 feet by ping pong balls? A good lesson to reinforce is to encourage your child to consider what could go wrong, and how to handle that, before trying to make some change. That approach is good training for the realities of life. Enjoy what you have! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    Making Oobleck as a Science Experiement

    This book is a great introduction for teaching a lesson on the three states of matter. This book is exciting and keeps the children's attention while also teaching a valuable lesson. You can then help the children to experiment by making Oobleck. The children will want to read this book again and again. It is great for all age levels.

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    Posted November 3, 2008

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    Posted September 13, 2010

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    Posted May 28, 2009

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    Posted March 28, 2010

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