Hello and a happy Wednesday to you! We haven't talked Dr. Seuss in a while, and since I'm in a major trend of avoidance until my new Christy book arrives, today seemed like a good day to discuss one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books of all time: The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.
If you remember way back to our first Seussy post, I mentioned how much I love this book. It may be my very favorite book by Dr. Seuss (with Oh, the Places You'll Go! being a strong contender). In The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, we meet a little boy who was having just another ordinary day....until the king comes into town. The king stops his entire royal procession when he notices that Bartholomew has failed to remove his hat. Or has he? In front of the king and the entire town, Bartholomew removes the hat sitting on his head only to have another hat appear in its place.
In a rage, King Derwin orders that Bartholomew be brought to the palace to have his hat removed. No matter how many hats Bartholomew yanks off his head, more still appear and by the time he reaches the palace, he has taken off more than 100 hats. The king then calls in Sir Snipps (the palace hat expert), three generations of Nadds (the wisest men in all the land), the Yeoman of the Bowmen (to remove the hat with his archery skills), magicians (because this must be Black Magic), and even attempts to have Bartholomew beheaded (fortunately, there's a rule against chopping someone's head off whilst said person is wearing a hat). Try as they might, no one is able to successfully remove Bartholomew Cubbins hat.
This book is pretty much hilarious and many might say that it has no clear moral message. It's just a fun book for kids. However, there is one subtle theme in this book I'd like to discuss. One character we meet among the pages of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is the Grand Duke Wilfred, King Derwin's spoiled brat of a nephew. Throughout the story, the Grand Duke bosses the king around, throws royal temper tantrums, and is generally a disrespectful little twerp. In contrast, Bartholomew, despite his frustrating and frightening situation, remains polite, humble, and obedient to all of the king's commands, even going so far as to march himself down to the executioner to have his head chopped off. Eventually, King Derwin puts a stop to Wilfred's awful behavior with a well-deserved spanking.
Even though the Grand Duke Wilfred is barely a central character and his part in the story is not the main point of the book, I love the fact that he gets his comeuppance and that Bartholomew Cubbin's good behavior is rewarded in the end. That's a message worth reading to your children.
Proverbs 16:5 says, "Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished."
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is hardly a "Christian" book, but it demonstrates this scriptural truth in a fun and entertaining way.
And I think that makes it worth reading.