Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
by Dr. Seuss
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Summary
How It All Goes Down
Yertle the Turtle
Yertle the Turtle is hands down the worst kind of turtle. He's the one who bosses everyone around just so that he can have the best view in the pond. And he lives in a pond, so it's not even all that swanky. He commands all of the other turtles to do as he pleases and gets all, "Oh no you didn't" when anybody questions him.
Fact: Yertle stinks.
Fact: Something's got to change.
Fact: We're about to see what happens when things get real.
So let's say your kid is just playing on the playground, minding their own business, when some punk kid waltzes by with the coolest toy ever. They'd feel a little jealous, right? They might even run begging to you and everyone they know to get them that toy now, right?
Well, that's exactly what happens in "Gertrude McFuzz," except it's not a toy we're talking about, it's a beautiful tail. (Did we mention Gertrude McFuzz is a bird? Yeah, Gertrude McFuzz is a bird.) Enter a story about the crazy things that happen when a bird goes nuts with vanity and jealousy. Bet this one will turn out well.
The Big Brag
Not to boast, but we here at Shmoop long ago figured out the secret ingredients to a happy life: bragging and always trying to one-up your friends. Except of course if your friend is a worm, because then he'll put you right back in your place.
And there you have the you-had-it-coming story of the rabbit and bear, who are too concerned with being better than each other to notice that an old worm is smarter, funnier, and braver than them both… and that none of this stuff matters anyway.
Worms. They get you every time.