As Thidwick the moose follows his friends across the fields on the banks of the far northern shore of Lake Winna-Bango, munching on moose-moss, he encounters a friendly Bingle Bug in search of a ride. Being by nature a big-hearted fellow, he invites the bug to relax on his horns for awhile, never suspecting that this guest would soon turn into a pest. The bug invites a spider, the spider invites a bird, the bird invites his wife, and before long Thidwick’s horns become a veritable “public hotel” for the local wildlife. Poor Thidwick, big-hearted as he is, doesn’t know how to be rid of these pests, “For a host, above all, must be nice to his guests.” But winter is coming on, and with food growing scarce and hunters swarming the shore, Thidwick finds himself in a dire situation. Will the hunters claim his head for their trophy wall, or will the big-hearted moose find a way shake off his guests and rejoin his friends munching moose-moss at the south shore of Lake Winna-Bango this winter?
In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday coming up on March 2, I have decided to read a few of his less well-known books and share them with you all and my daughters. We all know the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and Sam I Am, but Thidwick is a new character for me, and I was curious to see how the good doctor would save him in the end. Though the moral of this story is not quite as clear as in stories like the Lorax or the Sneetches, I still like the final imagery of Thidwick shedding his horns and shaking off his abusive companions to live a healthy and balanced life. Is this a story about avoiding the dangers of peer pressure that will estrange you from your family and a healthy lifestyle? Is the message that just because you are a kind and generous person, you don’t have to let others walk all over you? Is Dr. Seuss trying to tell us that social convention is a meaningless burden that will crush our souls and steal our lives? My husband has a theory that it is about immigration reform. Oh, how I would love to write a dissertation defending that thesis and start trolling the internet starting heated debates and controversy over Dr. Seuss-inspired immigration laws! Maybe next year. I’d have to start a whole new blog to handle the traffic and abuse it would generate, I think.
The point is, at least for me, that it doesn’t really matter what the moral of this story is. Dr. Seuss is a lyrical and visual genius, and my kids have been asking for this book every day since I picked it up at the library. I love his rhymes, the music of his verse, his made-up words, and his zany and expressive illustrations. Our world is better, for sure, because of his unique and boundless creativity.
To find out if this book is at your public library, visit World Cat.
Visit this website to learn more about the incomparable Dr Seuss and his work.