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The King's Stilts

The King's Stilts


by Dr. Seuss

The King's Stilts Writing Style

A Bedtime Story with Action

Wait just a hot minute.

This is Seuss, right?

So where are the rhymes?

Nowhere, mister. We're sorry to say that The King's Stilts is totally rhymeless, verseless, and oh-so prosey. But it turns out—you'll be happy to know—that Seuss could pump out the prose just as well as he could pop out the poetry. Sure, this one may be in full, un-lined sentences, but it's just as fun to read aloud.

Not only does the story move along at a jolly good pace, but we also get to see what the characters say to and think about each other. For example, when Eric is running to return the stilts to the king, we hear his sense of panic.

Eric heard the clatter of their heavy hobnail boots. No time to run! Nowhere to hide! Wait…! Those clothes in the tailor shop…! Eric ducked inside. (95)

Here, the reader is privy to Eric's train of thought as he races down the streets of Binn. In a way, the reader gets to see inside his head despite the third person narration. Seuss has gotten on fancy on us and tossed in some free indirect discourse. Bet you didn't see that coming.

Seuss Wouldn't Be Seuss Without a Little Exclaiming

The story is also filled with exclamations and dialogue that makes it fun and engaging to read aloud. The Nizzards screech "G-r-ritch!" and Lord Droon is constantly bellowing at the guards and at Eric:

"You guards! Guards indeed! To let a little pipsqueak of a boy tie up your spears! Dunderheads! Search every street… search every house…" (94)

Lord Droon may be the nastiest of characters, but we challenge you to shout that sentence aloud and not feel a rush of enjoyment as you scream "Dunderheads!" If that doesn't bring a little bit of a guilty smile to your face, well then you're no fun.

The omniscient narrator also takes it upon him (or her)self to impart some lessons upon the reader—though not in a heavy-handed way. In the end, the narrator states, "And when they played they really PLAYED."

There's no sense that the narrator is telling the reader that this is the right and only way to go about things; it's definitely not a command. However, the story comes across as one that teaches through demonstration, something that is infinitely more effective.

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