CHANCY AND THE GRAND RASCAL

Sid Fleischman has gone into a tall tale spin again, and as always the results are totally enjoyable. The plot is an old saw —a teenage boy heads across country to find the members of his family, which was split up when his parents died during the Civil War. But here there's an extra, added, miracle ingredient— Uncle Will Buckthorn. Chancy was chopping down trees for steamboat fare and at the same time trying to look after his wheelbarrow-ful of possessions and the brood of chicks which were hatching from the "fresh" eggs he'd been buffaloed into buying when his Uncle Will first appeared. It takes no time at all to discover that (for once) Will was telling the straight truth when he claimed that "I can out-laugh, out-exaggerate and out-rascal any man this side of the Big Muddy, and twice as many on the other!" They work and they joke their way on to steamboat passage, to reassembling the family, to traveling out to Sun Dance, Kansas, and to capturing a band of outlaws. It's just the right tone that would really have appealed to Chancy and his contemporaries, and the sometimes wildly funny West comes off here with an underlying sense of authenticity.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1966

ISBN: 2010023633

Page Count: 251

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1966

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I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY!

After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. In the familiar Seuss pattern of a simple premise exaggerated to comic effect, a boy declares, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep"—regardless of his mother, various arguments, successive waves of reinforcements, including the Marines, and a TV crew filming the momentous event. Actually, the development of the idea is a little tame compared with Seuss' other extravaganzas (and such determined all-day slumber is more the province of teen-agers and the good doctor's contemporaries than of readers at this level); but the book is delightfully enlivened by Stevenson's vigorous illustrations, which considerably augment the text by showing the full extent of the consternation caused by the hero's stubborness. Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1987

ISBN: 0394892178

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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