Gerald McBoing Boing

( 9 )


Nearly 50 years ago, Theodor Geisel -- known to the world even then as Dr. Seuss -- met up with a friend who worked for a new animation studio called United Productions of America. "UPA has a fresh outlook," the friend said. Could Seuss write something new and different for them? Something that had a little more going for it than the usual cats chasing mice? "Just suppose," Seuss came back, "there was a little kid who didn't speak words but only weird sounds?" And that's how Gerald McBoing Boing came into being. ...
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Nearly 50 years ago, Theodor Geisel -- known to the world even then as Dr. Seuss -- met up with a friend who worked for a new animation studio called United Productions of America. "UPA has a fresh outlook," the friend said. Could Seuss write something new and different for them? Something that had a little more going for it than the usual cats chasing mice? "Just suppose," Seuss came back, "there was a little kid who didn't speak words but only weird sounds?" And that's how Gerald McBoing Boing came into being. Brought to life by UPA as an animated cartoon, it attracted legions of fans, rave reviews, and went on to win an Academy Award® in 1951. Available in book form only briefly at the time of the movie's release, here it is again -- unique, delectable, vintage Seuss.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of retro graphics will thrill to the vintage illustrations...the snazzy contrasting typefaces used for the sound effects make it easy for Gerald's admirer's to honk and clang energetically along.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This nostalgic adaptation of a 1950 Academy Award-winning animated cartoon features Dr. Seuss's inimitable rhymes, plus images from Crawford's original animation stills, which he based on Seuss's drawings. Gerald McCloy, a saucer-eyed boy with a rooster's comb of hair, doesn't talk like a normal kid. Instead, he makes noises, "louder and louder/ Till one day he went BOOM!/ like a big keg of powder!" Gerald's onomatopoeic talents shock his parents (shown as a classic '50s shirt-and-tie father and bouffant-haired mother in an apron and heels); further, he earns the unkind playground nickname "Gerald McBoing Boing." Dr. Seuss states the issue succinctly: "When a fellow goes SKREEK!/ he won't have any friends./ For once he says, `Clang clang clang!'/ all the fun ends." Gerald prepares to hop a train out of town, but he's stopped by a radio mogul in search of a sound-effects specialist. As in The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, eccentricity pays off, big time: "Now Gerald is rich,/ he has friends, he's well fed,/ 'Cause he doesn't speak words,/ he goes boing boing instead!" If the conclusion is a tad materialistic, Gerald does appear happy on the soundstage, dressed as a cowboy for a radio serial. Fans of retro graphics will thrill to the vintage illustrations, in shades of olive green, mustardy ochre and spicy red; the snazzy contrasting typefaces used for the sound effects make it easy for Gerald's admirers to honk and clang energetically along. Ages 5-8. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Don't miss this treasure of a Seussian verse!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375827211
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/13/2004
  • Series: Little Golden Book Series
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 149,211
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904.  After attending Dartmouth College and Oxford University, he began a career in advertising.  His advertising cartoons, featuring Quick, Henry, the Flit!,  appeared in several leading American magazines.  Dr. Seuss's first children's book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, hit the market in 1937, and the world of children's literature was changed forever!  In 1957, Seuss's The Cat in the Hat became the prototype for one of Random House's best-selling series, Beginner Books.  This popular series combined engaging stories with outrageous illustrations and playful sounds to teach basic reading skills.  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 kids learn to read.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Seuss was the author and illustrator of 44 children's books, some of which have been made into audiocassettes, animated television specials, and videos for children of all ages.  Even after his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss continues to be the best-selling author of children's books in the world.


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
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    classic Dr. Seuss book, fun and rhymes

    my 5 year old daughter loved this book and asked me to read this story to her again and again. we were on a trip weeks ago and we brought this book along with us. while we waited in airport and on the bus, we read this book together. my daughter was amused and really loves this one as other storybooks written by dr. seuss.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2001

    Dr. Seuss's Beautiful Update of 'The Ugly Duckling'

    Misconception of every difference as being 'bad' is one of the human traits that is most useful to eliminate as early as possible. Like the classic tale of 'The Ugly Duckling,' 'Gerald McBoing Boing' provides a wonderful paean to the beauty of differences. Emotionally, Gerald is taken through a course of being first puzzled by everyone's reactions to him, then feeling rejected, then ostracized, then wanted, and finally craved like a pop idol. Gerald is unable to speak. Instead, he can make all kinds of weird noises. His first one is 'boing boing.' Later he adds 'boom!' and 'skeek!' and 'clang clang clang.' These noises create negative reactions in all those around him until he finds his place as a source of sounds for radio shows. He can do a terrific 'clop-clop, bang!' (a cowboy on a horse, who shoots his gun). 'Now Gerald is rich, he has friends, he's well fed 'Cause he doesn't speak words, he goes BOING BOING instead!' As you can see, the rhymes are typical Dr. Seuss. Children are hyper-sensitive to any differences they notice in themselves, and are inclined to think of these differences as deficiencies rather than as unique and positive aspects of themselves. This story gives you a chance to reinforce the specialness of your child and to celebrate her or his differences, and help him or her to do the same for other children and adults. All of the most successful children's books mostly operate from the child's perspective. Gerald McBoing Boing is no exception. Your heart will ache for this poor child as his parents are baffled, his doctor stumped, his teacher nonplused, and children avoid him. When Gerald runs away from home, you will feel leaden and heart-sick. Then what a wonderful release you'll feel when the radio station owner hires Gerald, and puts him on the road to stardom and significance. The design of this book deserves positive comment. Each sound is typeset in a different style, size, and color. They evoke the sound that they portray. Nicely done, indeed! The drawings are not done by Dr. Seuss, but are adapted from the Academy award winning cartoon movie by Mel Crawford. The style is straight from the Jetsons, and captures the world in 1950 (both in images and colors) in a way that will bring out nostalgia for all of those who remember those golden last years of radio's dominance. After you have finished enjoying this story with your child, I suggest that you ask your child if she or he is different in any way. Then ask how that difference is an advantage. The answers your child comes up with can be happily agreed to by you, and you'll both take joy in their discovery. Find the beauty and advantages in differences, wherever you find them! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2000


    This book is one of my all-time favorite kid stories. The tale is one of a boy who, at the age of two, doesn't learn to speak words. He goes Boing,Boing,instead. The book follows the young life of Gerald as he overcomes the criticism of his family, friends,and school teacher, to become a successful person. Proving that, no matter what shortcomings one has to overcome, Everyone has a talent, and all we need to do is be true to ourself. The illustrations by Mel Crawford are classic 50's pictures. Great for inspiring colorful sweeping scenes in young imaginations. The story itself is written in the flowing Dr. Suess prose. When read, it almost comes off like a poem. It reads in about 15 min. And with good humor and a little irony, it makes for a perfect bedtime story. Thanks to the Dr. Suess estate for reissuing this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2000

    Let's See It Again!

    I, too, have a rather beat-up copy of the original Gerald McBoing Boing book. I read it to my children so many times that it is falling apart. But . . . I wish they'd bring back the cartoon. No amount of reading can do the story justice. I was in high school when the cartoon was first shown to the public, and my friends and I loved it! They really should consider putting it out on video!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2000

    Gerald McBoing-Boing originally a recording!

    I have a 78rpm record that is the absolute original Gerald McBoing-Boing. It was read by 'The Great Gildersleeve' of vintage radio fame. The animated cartoon and the book are very worth having, especially if you are a Dr. Seuss fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2000

    Fab Book!!!!!!

    We are SO excited that Gerald McBoing Boing has been reprinted. It is such a neat book. It has cool art and the story line is one that any child can relate to. We have a fragile old copy from my husband's childhood. He and all of his older siblings LOVED this book and we are SO Happy that we can share a new copy of it with our children and they can actually handle it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    Yay, my memory isn't as faulty as I thought!

    About a year ago, I went into the library with a book on my mind to search for. I couldn't find it in the computer catalog, so I asked the librarian. She couldn't find it either, so she looked up in 'Books in Print'. No luck, apparently, it doesn't exist any more, though she did find a brief reference to a film of the same name. Gerald McBoing Boing. And now I just got an e-mail from BN and there it is! Yay! I'm buying two copies - one for home and one for our public library! Thank you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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