TIFFKY DOOFKY

Steig can dress a floppy-eared, benign-looking dog in vest, armbands, and bow tie, give him the somehow perfectly suitable name of Tiffky Doofky, make him a jolly garbage collector on his way to a picnic—and who can resist going along? Tiffky Doofky is even more eager to get to the picnic after a visit to Madam Tarsal the fortuneteller, a duck who predicts that "This very day before the sun goes down, you will fail in love with the one you are going to marry. Nothing you can do can keep it from happening." But Tiffky Doofky never does make the party, for on the way he runs into a bike-riding biddy in baboushka who sends him off to a strange landscape and a series of dreamlike encounters. (The hen, it seems, is an evil rival of Madam Tarsal, maliciously enchanting Tiffky Doofky until she loses interest and he wakes up back in familiar territory—but Steig puts this information in parentheses as if scorning the pretense of working it into the story.) The duck's prophecy is fulfilled delightfully when Tiffky Doofky, dreaming of a gentle, sinuous caress, wakes to find himself in the coils of a boa constrictor—but the snake's carnival trainer, following close behind, is the pink-frocked poodle he's been waiting for. She might, however, disappoint readers with her pale, prissy appearance. But who's to quibble, when the whole is as good-naturedly loose as Tiffky Doofky himself, as arbitrary as vindictive magic—or falling in love.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 1978

ISBN: 0374477485

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1978

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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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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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