Thursday, December 29, 2011

8. The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories

By Dr. Seuss
Assembled by Charles D. Cohen
$15, ages 6 and up, 72 pages

"Think left and think right and think low and think high!" Oh the thinks, Charles D. Cohen thought up, because he searched and he tried!

Cohen, the world's foremost Seuss scholar and collector, used his noggin just right when he followed a hunch that there was more to Seuss than many of us had read.

He burrowed into library collections and hunted the Internet to recover seven magazine stories written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss between 1948 and 1959  -- a challenge given that magazines then, as now, were routinely tossed out when the next month's issue arrived.

This amazing selection, culled from Redbook magazine, includes a few stories that may be familiar, like "The Bear, the Rabbit and the Zinniga-Zanniga," recorded by Marvin Miller in a Dr. Seuss Presents album.

In that story, a rabbit outwits a bear with a single eyelash.

But many of the stories will be delightfully, novelly new.

Among them, the title's namesake "The Bippolo Seed" about a scheming cat who leads an innocent duck astray, and "The Great Henry McBride" about a boy who fantasizes about a far-flung life with many careers.

The collection begins with a 10-page introduction, in which Cohen explains that all seven stories marked a shift in Dr. Seuss's writing style from primarily prose to rhymes that educated kids.

He also shares anecdotes and quotations, and discusses recurring themes and images in Dr. Seuss's work (including kids dreaming without constraint, the theme of David and Goliath and Dr. Seuss' fascination with twins).

Every page feels like a treasure found -- and it really is!

The hard part is accepting that the book has an end.

I found myself wishing I could find a box with a Bippolo Seed of my own, plant it, count up to three and wish for more lost gems. 

Oh, how we miss our Dr. Seuss!

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