A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that fresh troubles keep popping up for the hapless narrator on his compelling, hilarious search for a utopian city. The narrator learns a valuable lesson, although in the end -- unfortunately -- he confronts his tormentors with a baseball bat.
What's the story?
Our hero has more than his share of troubles. He's tripping over rocks, a savage Quilligan Quail keeps nipping his tail, a giant mosquito called a Skritz keeps dive-bombing him, and a ground-dwelling Skrink keeps chomping on his toe. To escape, he's off on a hilarious but trouble-packed journey to Solla Sollew, \"where they never have troubles! At least, very few.\"
The young narrator is plagued with problems. Treacherous rocks lie ahead, and vicious pests attack him from behind, above, and below. Fed up, he sets off on zigzagging, boulder-piled roads for a paradise called Solla Sollew. Among other disasters, he braves a hurricane-like Midwinter Jicker and a pack of hungry, grinning Perilous Poozers. He dives into a tunnel to escape them, but it's crammed with an endless line of marching birds that are apparently moving all of their earthly possessions from one place to another.
Finally, our hero nears Solla Sollew! But the utopia turns out to have one major drawback: A Key-Slapping Slippard inhabits the keyhole to the town gate, preventing anyone from entering. Solla Sollew's gatekeeper invites him along to Boola Boo Ball, but the boy chooses to return home instead. This time, however, he carries a baseball bat to show his former tormentors who's boss.
Is it any good?
This is one of Dr. Seuss's more heavy-handed works, and its lesson about the folly of chasing happiness may go over kids' heads. And though it is a funny book, because of its black humor, it may be more amusing to adults than to children.
The book's ending is problematic for school audiences: "I've bought a big bat. / I'm all ready, you see. / Now my troubles are going / To have troubles with me!" One teacher buffered the idea by suggesting that Dr. Seuss wanted to encourage readers to protect themselves -- but by running away, saying "No!," telling a grown-up they know -- if anyone threatens them.