Parents' Guide to

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

By Robyn Raymer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Morality tale with a darkly funny ending.

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One of the funniest and best aspects of THIDWICK is Dr. Seuss's expressive manner of rendering the moose's misery. As the Zinn-a-zu bird plucks out Thidwick's hairs (one by painful one, 204 in all) for a nest, the poor animal's squinched-shut eyes, flattened ears, and furrowed brow make readers wince and laugh at the same time. And when the moose moss on the north side of Lake Winna-Bango runs out, the nasty guests forbid Thidwick (by a "democratic" vote) to swim across to the south side. The dejected moose creeps out of the lake like a drowned rat as the guests reach across his antlers to shake hands, congratulating one another on their selfish triumph.

For adults who like dark humor, the final tableau is hilarious: All of the guests, including the bees and the spider, have little cartoon kicked-the-bucket x's for eyes, and their stuffed corpses are posed artfully on Thidwick's former antlers above the Harvard Club mantel. Young readers are liable to agree with Dr. Seuss that it serves the creeps right, but some parents won't want to endorse such vindictiveness.

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