© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Bartholomew and the Oobleck

Bartholomew and the Oobleck


by Dr. Seuss

Bartholomew and the Oobleck Introduction

In A Nutshell

Dr. Seuss all in prose? "Say it ain't so!"
Stay cool, crazy Shmoopers, and give it a go.
It's still super Seussy, no need to kerfluffle,
With Seussian words like our fave, shuffle-duffle.

Bartholomew and the (gooey) Oobleck
Tells us the story of a pain in the neck.
He comes in the form of a greedy old king
Who wants what he wants and he wants it with bling.

No combovers here, no powerful poses,
But he's one awful boss as he readily shows us.
His ego, his pride, his stubborn "I'm right!"
Lead Bartholomew Cubbins to put up a fight.

King Derwin (we know, what a terrible name)
Is sick of the wind, snow, sunshine, and rain,
His royal magicians round up the troops
Creating an ooblecky, sticky new goop.

But Bartholomew triumphs, as he tends to do.
Remember, this story's Bartholomew 2.
In the year '49, this sequel came out,
And you're dying to hear where it came from, no doubt.

Seuss got the idea from a soldier complaining
'Bout battle? No sir! 'Bout the fact it was raining.
And so the story may be about war,
Authority, power, class structure, and more.

Whatever the moral, we all can agree
It's a story about one grand apology.
It won an award—or maybe a few.
Now get on with reading, you know you want to.


Why Should I Care?

There's only one reason for you to read Bartholomew and the Oobleck to your child, and it's called chewing gum. Specifically what happens when chewing gum—sorry, "oobleck"—falls from the sky. You will never again have to warn your child about the dangers of sleeping with gum in their mouth after you read them this book, nor will you have to watch that clip of Violet Beauregarde turning into a giant blueberry to hammer your point home.

But wait, there's more! That's right, life lessons abound. They come both in the form of our stubborn king, who teaches us why we should make like Nixon and say sorry, and in the form of brave Bartholomew, who makes a good case for how and why to listen to your heart and stand up to bullies. There are also lessons about appreciating what you've got and not getting too full of yourself. Sounds like something [insert reality TV star here] could benefit from.

If your child has or is currently passing through the Berenstain Bears and the Gimme Gimmes age, when everything is about them and their concept of right and wrong is tenuous, this book can do wonders. After all, your child has both a King and a Bartholomew inside of them, and it would be nice if one showed up more than the other.

Bottom line: Bartholomew and the Oobleck will make your whole parenting gig just a smidge easier.

Oh, and one last thing—we've just got to say it: after reading this book, your child will always know what to do when a situation gets too sticky. (Yeah, we went there.)

Why Your Kids Should Care

Even though your child may need a lot of help learning right from wrong, they've got a pretty solid grip on what is fair, especially when it relates to them or the people they care about.

Just imagine for a moment that you're four years old, see morals in black and white, and are trying your best to learn the rules adults teach you. And then you see adults out there violating those rules every day, and making some pretty stupid decisions while they're at it. We're looking at you, Shelley Long. (You should have never left Cheers when things were so good.)

Kids have no sense of the subtle power dynamics that exist between adults; or the moral compromises we all have to make if we're going to keep this world spinning; or how long everything would take if we all followed all of the rules at all times. All they know is that Mom and Dad told them not to say that swear word moments before they shouted it out at some *@#!% who cut them off in traffic. Wouldn't you be a little confused?

This is why your child will love this book. It's chock full of adults making stupid, hypocritical decisions and a kid (Bartholomew) patching everything up and being right in the end. Not only is it cathartic but it also confirms what they've known all along: adults (parents) just don't understand.

They'll be happy to see a kid win out. For once.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...