Kids' Book Review: A New Seuss
Horton and the Kwuggerbug, plus Sam's Pet Temper
Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories
By Dr. Seuss (Random House; $15; ages 4-8)
Hard to believe, with the good doctor now gone more than 20 years, but there are legitimate Dr. Seuss stories that have never before been published in book form. The “lost stories” in this new collection were discovered on eBay in the Redbook magazines in which they originally ran — left behind in 1957, when The Cat in the Hat created a sensation and all subsequent Seussian output went immediately into books. Three of these tales feature familiar characters, including the title story, the second one written about loyal elephant Horton, as well as “How Officer Pat Saved the Whole Town,” which places the policeman “on his beat/On the corner of Chestnut and Mulberry Street.” The third story, “Marco Comes Late,” concerns the fanciful and dramatic adventures Mulberry Street’s hero has on his way to school. Seuss fans will be happy to know that the postage-size illustrations that appeared in Redbook are blown up to full size here — and that the Kwuggerbug who takes advantage of Horton gets his comeuppance. These stories deliver all the beloved author’s adventure, exaggeration and inimitable rhymes in permanent, available form.
Sam’s Pet Temper
By Sangeeta Bhadra, illustrated by Marion Arbona (Kids Can Press; $16.95; ages 3-7)
Growing up could be a lot more pleasant and a lot less stressful if everyone learned the same lesson that Sam does when he gets mad. While waiting impatiently for his turn on the playground, Sam finds he has acquired a pet “Temper.” At first Sam considered the black fuzzy hairball of a Temper intriguing, and Marion Arbona’s depiction of it looks like a mass of black yarn with a red mouth and long red tongue — not warm and fuzzy, yet also not repellent. But after blaming his Temper for aggressive behavior in school, for which he is sent home by the principal, Sam realizes it is not enough to protest, “But Mom, it wasn’t my fault. It’s my terrible Temper!” Eventually, Sam realizes that when he is exasperated and recites the alphabet backward, he disarms the pet Temper — providing himself and, by example, the rest of the world a lifelong lesson in overcoming emotional excess.
Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.