This book is a sequel
of sorts to The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
. At least, the characters are much the same; Bartholomew is now, however, a page boy
to King Derwin of the Kingdom of Didd. The King hasn't quite gotten over his notions of kingship consign
ing rights and powers that really aren't available, and this is the story of his run-in with one of those rights.
With that lead-in, we could be talking about the Divine Right of Kings. Nope. Or perhaps the Law Salique? Nope. The power to punish! Nah. The power to make WAR! ...well, no, not exactly.
No; in this case, it's very simple.
King Derwin is bored. Bored bored bored, most especially with the sky. Why? It's boring. Every day, the same things come down out of it: sun, rain, snow, fog, hail. That's it. Boring. He becomes increasingly grumpy about this at the opening of the book, and finally calls on his Magicians (the same ones who offered a spell that would take ten years to remove the Hat from Bartholomew's head, remember?)
They trudge over from their secret cave, beneath the magic mountain Neeka-Tave, mumbling incantations ("Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff. Fista, wista, mista-cuff. We are men of groans and howls! Mystic men, who eat boiled owls!") When the King presents them with their task, to make something new come down from the sky, they blink and nod their heads yes.
"What will it be?" asks the King excitedly.
"Won't be sun. Won't be snow. Won't be rain. That's all we know."
With that, they're off for a night of mystic ritual. All they'll tell him is the name of the new Thing that will come from the sky...
That's all I'll tell you. You'll have to read the book for more, silly! But I will say this: The ability to order magicians to make something new come from the sky is not the Right that the King ends up abusing. Nope. That is revealed near the end of the book, and it is hoped that small people will take the lesson to heart when they see what happens to the King, Bartholomew, and the Kingdom of Didd...
As usual, all text and illustrations are by the estimable Dr. Seuss himself, in his traditional style. This book has been in continuous publication since 1949, when it was first released.
Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel
Bartholomew and the Oobleck
Random House Books for Young Readers; New York City, October 12, 1949.