Do You Like My Dr. Seuss Books?

Everyone Loves the Rhymes

Generations of children have cut their reading teeth on the simple rhymes and elaborate illustrations of Dr. Seuss books. The endearing characters of these books live on in our memories. The rhyme schemes also live on, adapted for every imaginable purpose, including parody, movies and even a Broadway show entitled "Seussical the Musical."

My own Seuss immersion started with the classic The Cat in the Hat. Who can forget the wreckage wrought by this mischievous feline and his cohorts in crime, Thing 1 and Thing 2? Later, there was The Cat in the Hat Comes Back , but, like so many movie sequels of today, it failed to reach the heights of hilarity of the origiinal.

The Odd Book Out

Dr. Seuss' signature style used monosyllable words (easiest for young readers to grasp), memorizable combinations, and lots of repetition.

My favorite Seuss book, however, breaks that mold. It is not written in rhyme. It is written in prose.

Yes, it appears that even as a young lass I craved more sophistication in my reading. (But no, I did not tackle War and Peace or Finnegan's Wake before the age of 10:-).

Bartholomew Tries to Show Respect

My favorite Dr. Seuss book is called The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

Roll the word "Bartholomew" around on your tongue for a bit and you'll see why it appealed to me so much. It's just fun to say, isn't it?

Then there's the story itself, which reads like a fairy tale of sorts. King Derwin, ruler of the Kingdom of Didd, requires that hats be removed in his presence. Well, duh. With a name like Derwin, respect probably does not come naturally, does it? You'd pretty much have to command it.

Young Bartholomew, though poor, is a good little boy. He sincerely attempts to comply with the order. He is not deliberately being disrespectful. The problem is, each time he tries to remove his hat in order to bow to King Derwin, a new hat appears on his head.

Off with his head ... err, I mean, hat!

Finally, the King has had enough of this outrage. Bartholomew is not only in comtempt, but he's littering the streets of Didd with his hats. Clearly, this cannot stand!

King Derwin does what kings of that era always did when they didn't know what else to do: He orders Bartholomew Cubbins put to death.

The Tension Mounts

Bartholomew tries again and again to remove his hat. Again and again a new hat replaces the one he takes off. Each successive hat is fancier and more elaborate than the one before it.

Poor Bartholomew is not doing this on purpose. He has no idea why these hats keep growing on his head. He takes a hat off, another one pops on.

All told, Bartholomew leaves a trail of 499 hats behind him.  King Derwin becomes increasingly enraged. How dare this young upstart defy his order! How dare Bartholomew Cubbins mock him, the leader of the Kingdom of Didd! 

Hat's off to you, King D!

Just as Bartholomew is facing the ultimate punishment for disobience, something magical happens.

He removes the 500th hat from his head.

Now, this hat is tight. I mean, a real pimp daddy's dream. It has more feathers, gems and gold on it than the King's own crown.

Miraculously, as the 500th hat comes off, Bartholomew's head remains bare. No more hats!

King Derwin is so in awe of this pimpin' lid that he cuts Bartholomew a deal. First, he will spare Bartholomew's life -- good thing, as it would be bad PR, not to mention karma, to off a young subject who is now in full compliance of the law.

Second, in exchange for the magnificent hat, he'll give little B-man 500 gold coins. I don't know how he arrived at that number, but I'm guessing it might be one coin for each hat... King Derwin gets his hat and Bartholomew goes back to his 'hood 500 gold coins richer.

Does everyone live happily ever after? They never say that, exactly. This is Dr. Seuss, after all, not Hans Cristian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm.

What I do know is the hat makes King D happy (I will resist any speculation on King D's sexual proclivities), and Bartholomew Cubbins ends the day with 500 more gold coins than he started with. 

This being G-rated fiction, I will stick with the G-rated moral of the story, which is: keep doing what you know is the right thing to do. Even if some people seem impossible to please, keep trying your best. And eventually you will prevail.

Rumor has it that Bart Cubbins' saga also inspired the song, "You Can Leave Your Hat On." This Randy Newman tune was made famous by Joe Cocker and featured in the film 9 1/2 weeks, a soft-core porn flick from the 1980s featuring Mickey Rourke (before he got scruffy) and Kim Basinger (before her divorce and nasty custody battle).

Mr. Cubbins continues to receive royalty checks and now lives in a suburb of Didd with his wife and 500 little Cubbinses.

All's well that ends well in The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

Bart's story inspired this song!

Which Seuss Do you Like?

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss Book?

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Comments 47 comments

Steve Orris profile image

Steve Orris 7 years ago from NE Ohio

There is so much wisdom hidden (perhaps by accident) within some of these books. I heard a sermon at church once based on Green Eggs and Ham.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

I don't doubt that at all. Seuss is universal. And, I bet you paid attention to that sermon, didn't you! Thanks for visiting, Steve. MM

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Might Mom! Hooray! Here's one I have not read.. must see if the Library has it. I love Go Dog Go.. "Do you like my hat? I do not like your hat! Good bye!.. Good bye!" But there is something about thing 1 and thing 2.. These books are timeless! Thanks for answering my request. I will keep checking in to see what you hear..not that you're Horton.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

You know, Candie V, I wonder if we went back and reread these books as adults if we would find more in them (?). For example, which book came first, Go Dog Go or 500 Hats? Because obviously, by the time we get to these 500 hats, the question "Do you like my hat?" is answered with a definite, "I do like your hat! I will buy your hat! I'll give you lots of coins! Good-bye. Good-bye!"

Horton is right up there on my list of books, too. "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant, an elephant's faithful, 100%...."

Thanks for the request!!

profile image

pgrundy 7 years ago

Green Eggs and Ham for Pam I am!

Pam I am for Green Eggs and Ham!

I will not eat them on a plane.

I will not eat them in the rain.

I will not kill them with a bomb.

I will share some with Mighty Mom.

(Apologies to Theodore.)


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town

For many years Green eggs and Ham was my favourite, until I discovered The lorax. I read it to my class last Monday as we've just started our last unit of inquiry on Our Resources. The Lorax brilliantly shows how greed has destroyed the world's resources and caused pollution.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

I always loved that book myself. Wonder if it can still be found. I know I checked it out of the school library many times.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Pam -- You are classic. That's all there is to it.

BC99-- Heck yeah. After a hard day on the ship, a girl's gotta have a little lighthearted frivolity to take her mind off things!

CV -- Man, the morals of Dr. Seuss go deeper than I thought. I will have to reread The Lorax. Clearly, this is a book ahead of its time.

Rochelle -- I wasn't sure if you meant The Lorax or 500 Hats, so I have added links to both of them for you!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

I was thinking 500-- Bartholomew Cubbins. I do have a copy of The Lorax, published 1971. Not that long ago, and yes a lot of people were thinking about it then.

"Suess" began writing the simple readers after he had done some more complex work like "If I ran the Zoo" and "If I Ran the Circus" (the Circus McGurkus)-- the latter one is also a favorite of mine.

Theo Giesel needs a revival of his older works, they are brilliant.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas

As a child, "Green Eggs and Ham" was my favorite. But as an adult, my favorite is now "The Sneetches". It's a wonderful story. If you're not familiar with it, here's the YouTube Link of it. It's only 8 minutes long.

Great hub, MM!

dianacharles profile image

dianacharles 7 years ago from India

I haven't read this particular one. Nor did I know that Joe Cocker's song was inspired by Seuss. Lovely hub

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

I can't find it at the moment but there is a site where you can download pictures from Seuss for the children to colour in. Will post it when I find it.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Dianacharles -- I doubt very much that the song was realy inspired by this book. It's just that Seuss has such a vivid imagination that it sparked my own imagination to add to the ending:-)!

Hawkesdream, what a great concept. I hope you can find it and I will definitely include it as a link in the hub! Thank you, friend! MM

J.S. Brooks profile image

J.S. Brooks 7 years ago

While The 500 Hats is wonderful, my all time favorite is Bartholomew and the Oobleck. King Derwin of Did really learns pride brings the fall and saying "I'm sorry" is truly powerful when properly used. Besides, the story record of Oobleck just can't be beat ... and that really dates me I'm afraid.

Miss Behaving profile image

Miss Behaving 7 years ago from Memphis, TN

I agree about bartholomew and the oobleck...I was trying to recall it, and couldn't remember if it was the magic goo? I know i have it somewhere in the house, must find it and read it to my kids...thanks for the great hub!

J.S. Brooks profile image

J.S. Brooks 7 years ago

Hi Miss Behaving. Oobleck is definitely magic goo, but in the worst possible sense. Gooey globs of sticky, greenish stuff that falls in every larger blobs. King Derwin of Did was tired of the four seasons and orders his "mystic men" to come up with a fifth season. When King Derwin asked his mystic men what this Oobleck they were going to create is, they respond, "Oobleck is the stuff we'll try to make come falling from the sky. Won't look like rain; won't look like snow; won't look like fog; that's all we know. We just can't tell you anymore, we've never made Oobleck before!" Before long the entire kingdom is stuck fast in Oobleck and the intrepid Bartholomew has to sort it all out, making the King apologize for this mess he's created. I'm beginning to wonder if I don't remember this story a bit too well!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

JS Brooks -- You DO seem to remember this story a bit too well. I wonder what it is that appeals to you so? I like the idea of a 5th season, but as they used to say on a TV commercial, "You can't fool Mother Nature!"

Miss Behaving -- I'm impressed that you have the book in the house. I hang onto the books I used to read my little guy when he was young. I can only hope one day he'll have little ones he wants to read them to...

Thank you both for turning me on to the sequel to Bartholomew...

shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 7 years ago

So funny story.

DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Might Mom, Wow, Dr Seuss rocks! Can't say that Ive heard of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins before. My son likes The Cat in The Hat and because I've read it so often, I've come to love that book. I will check out Bartholomew, sounds fun!

Thanks for sharing.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello there, DynamicS! Yes, Dr. Seuss definitely rocks. I miss having the opportunity to read his books. And I do agree with you, The Cat in the Hat is right up there. Nothing quite like it. But I had to go with something a bit different...

Bartholomew is a departure. And I see there are people who like Bart in the sequel about Oobleck... so check them both out!

Thanks, as always, for visiting. MM

lafenty profile image

lafenty 7 years ago from California

Dr. Suess seems to live on forever. I read him to my kids and now to my grandkids. I think his books will always be popular with children as well as adults. I always liked Fox in Sox. ( I think that's the name)

Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

another good hub

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hellow Lafenty, Yes, I think you are absolutely right. Dr. Seuss is timeless. Love that you read his books to grandkids. I look forward to that time -- but hopefully not for at least 10 more years. LOL.

Lgali, Thanks!

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

What a great story MM on such a great topic like Dr Seuss. I can remember have a Dr Seuss book in our house I am sure it was the "Cat in the hat." He has his own tv show that is on each afternoon, it is such a classic. That style of writing from my memory was nothing like I have seen before or will see. All those long amazing made up names for things that were written in such harmony. I just dig that pic of the hat too, the green one, I can see you wearing it MM with such flair and style lol.

sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Great memories, but more relating to my children than my own childhood and as for combining the Joe Cocker video - a master stroke indeed. Pam's poem is a classic!

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

Love the doctor - love the hub. I look forward to returning and reading more of your fine writing. THanks so much.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello, hello, RedElf! Glad you found your way over to my hub. The good doctor is a genius, isn't he?

Jimmy Fuentes profile image

Jimmy Fuentes 7 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga

Hi Mighty Mom, good memories from what now seems like a simpler time (childhood of course). Didn't doctor seuss also have a book named "Oh the places you'll go" or something like that? I seem to remember something like that from college graduation... Just curious. Wonderful hub

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello Jimmy! Absolutely a simpler time, and I don't think it was just that it was OUR childhood. Childhood today seems more complicated -- I believe because of the constant bombardment of stimuli through TV, iPODs and internet.

Yes, Dr. Seuss did write "Oh, the Places You'll Go." Another wonderful book. Another one that I just love is "Happy Birthday to You."

Nice to find another DrS fan.

wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors

Loved your book review! Dr. Seuss is a fascinating character. He got his career's start in advertising and political cartooning, building on his success with the Flit bug spray campaign which made him famous. Children's book authors don't often get the respect they deserve because people don't see beyond the surface of what they write. You have a new fan!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Thanks, Wannabwestern! I did not know that about Dr. Seuss' early career, but anyone who gets their start in advertising and political cartooning has got to see the world through a different colored lens.

I have often (ok, once in awhile) thought of writing a children's book, but realized it is not nearly as easy as it looks!

Thanks for visiting and I appreciate your becoming a fan. MM

C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

Boy do I love Dr. Seuss. What a genius! I have a whole big book with a bunch of his stories/poems.

I like the Lorax a lot...its got a great meaning, especially in today's "greening" world!

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 7 years ago

OMG The Lorax!!! I read that a million times and never got tired of it. My son loved it too. It was our favorite Seuss story because it was about saving the environment. It was def. ahead of its time!!

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

You know which one I'd pick MM. I continue to enjoy your writing style. Wonderful job of making it a pleasure to read!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Dohn! Yep, I know and am happy we share a love of writing and the good Dr. I enjoy your writing as well and am happy to see you becoming such a presence here on HP! Your friend, MM

i scribble profile image

i scribble 7 years ago

My favorite is Great Day for Up. I work with elementary school kids, and they are always intrigued (like me) by the whimsical pictures of all the wonderful possibilities of things to do in the world, like hot air balloons, walking on stilts, flying kites, riding a ferris wheel, etc. The Foot Book is my second favorite. Dr. Seuss was wonderfully prolific, wasn't he?

oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 7 years ago from australia

Hi Mighty Mom.How great was Dr Seuss,our children learned to read with these books,now our Grandchildren are doing the same,they are fabulous books.Thank you.:) :)

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

No one like the great Dr. S!

M.S.P. profile image

M.S.P. 6 years ago from Montana

The Cat in the Hat was the first book I learned to read by myself! Awwww.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi M.S.P.

The Cat in the Hat is by far the most amazing -- Thing One and Thing Two? The fish? OMG I remember that book so well.

Congratulations for learing to read with such a classic!

Thanks for visiting. MM

Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 6 years ago from Southeast Michigan

I ran across this book in my elementary school library when I was in first grade. I still love it. But my favorite Suess books are Oh, the Places You'll Go, the Sneetches, and Yertle the Turtle.

And let's not forget Ted Geisel's classic: "The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough!"

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Glad to find someone else who knows this one, Jeff! I agree on Oh, the Places You'll Go. Another HUGE fave of mine is the one about BIRTHDAYS (Is it "Happy Birthday to You"???"

I don't think I know the Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough. Sounds like a tongue-twister alright!

Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 6 years ago from Southeast Michigan

It's out of print, but you can sometimes find it at used book stores.

It's more of a book for older people. (I don't want to call it an adult book, because that has different connotations...)

iloveBOOKS profile image

iloveBOOKS 6 years ago

I love Dr. Seuss and his books though I haven'y read this yet. :)

daskittlez69 profile image

daskittlez69 5 years ago from midwest

I read Dr. Seuss books to my children all of the time. All of us at my house love them. Thanks for the hub.

htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Interesting post..Thanks

Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is one of his best in my opinion too. I LOVE that book. I've just started reading them again with the surge of Dr. Seuss movies out.

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