Friday, March 7, 2008

McElligot's Pool

McElligot's Pool
Dr. Seuss ~ Random House, 1947

My son and I attended story time at our local independent children's bookshop this morning, and it just so happened they were celebrating the birthday of one Mr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka, Dr. Seuss. Born May 2, 1904, the master would have just turned 104 if he was still kicking around today. The store storyteller tipped her Cat-in-the-HAT to the master by reading Green Eggs and Ham and two shorts from the book I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! and Other Stories. So when we got home, I figured we'd continue the tribute with my son's all time favorite Dr. Seuss, McElligot's Pool.

My mom once met a man in rural South Carolina who had a small hole in his backyard from which he could catch trout and all kinds of other river fish. Though it was probably just an underground river, the man and his friends called it a "glory hole" and thanked the heavens daily for its existence. McElligot's Pool imagines nearly the very same thing. A boy fishes in a small pool even though the local farmer warns him away.

"The pool is too small.
And, you might as well know it,
When people have junk
Here's the place that they throw it."

Not to be deterred, but our boy Marco fashions a story of a pool with a bottomless bottom. Why, he might catch a thin fish.... he might catch a stout fish... he might catch a short or a long, long drawn-out fish. Dog fish... cat fish.. a fish with a kangaroo's pouch... the kind that likes flowers... some circus fish... or even a THING-A-MA-JIGGER. This one is an absolute joy to read aloud, and more than a hoot with its wild variations of aquatic vertebrates. The guy knew what he was doing. He's like the John, Paul, George and Ringo of children's books, and even after all these years, no one still comes close. Happy birthday man!

Also by:
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
The Lorax
Come Over to My House
Bartholomew and the Oobleck
The Sneetches
I Can Write! A Book By Me Myself!
Hooper Humperdink?... Not Him!

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