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am 23. März 1998
I run a day care in my home and I read everyday to the children. They love the story of Bartholomew Cubbins. After reading about the first few hats, the children pretty much read it on their own. They knew what would happen when the next hat came off. Needless to say, I had to read it many more times before I had to return it to our library. Dr Suess never disappoints his readers. Here is another example of his perfect writing skills.
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The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books. It is also one of my favorite books about finding opportunities in the midst of problems. Any budding curious mind will find this book encouraging of looking at things differently, so see what potential they hold. A child who is interested in science may find this book to be a useful metaphor throughout life.

The book is the first of two that Dr. Seuss wrote about King Derwin of Didd and Bartholomew Cubbins. If you decide you like this tale, I suggest that you also read Bartholomew and the Oobleck.

Here's the apparent problem. Bartholomew has taken a basket of cranberries to town to sell, so he can take the money to his parents. While there, the king passes by, and the cry goes out, "Hats off to the King!" Bartholomew complies, but the king glares at him. There's still a hat on Bartholomew's head, even though he has removed the original one!

The captain of the King's Own Guard grabs Bartholomew and takes him the castle, where the king gets more and more angry. And more and more hats keep appearing. Soon, Sir Alaric, Keeper of the King's Records, indicates there are hundreds.

The king tries everything he can think of, including calling on Sir Snipps {the royal hat maker}, his wise men (Nadd, father of Nadd, and the father of the father of Nadd), musicians, magicians, his nephew the Grand Duke Wilfred, bowmen, and even the executioner. But the executioner cannot even lop off his head to solve the problem, because the executioner cannot take Bartholomew's hat off.

Grand Duke Wilfred offers to kill Bartholomew by throwing him off the top of the castle. But a strange thing happens along the way, and Bartholomew is saved and richly rewarded!

Throughout, Bartholomew has worn his honesty and good intentions well, and he has led a charmed life. In the end, "They could only say it just 'happened to happen' and was not very likely to happen again."

As a caution, you should be aware that Bartholomew is put in situations where people are angry with him and several times is at risk of injury or loss of life. Without proper preparation, this story could frighten your child.

I suggest that you wait to introduce this story until your child no longer gets nightmares from stories, and firmly believes you and is comfortable when you say that everyone lives happily ever after. In our family, this meant that our rough and tumble boys were ready for this story before our equally rough and tumble daughter was. Our more sensitive daughter was never introduced to the story. She would hate it. I also suggest that this book be read for the first time early in the day. If you detect any quesiness with Bartholomew's situation, you can stop the book at that point. It is not particularly frightening in the beginning.

The book is beautifully produced in black and white, with red added to provide colorful contrast for the hats. Dr. Seuss did a remarkable job here with perspective in his drawings. This method nicely adds depth to the story.

He starts by comparing the king's view of the valley with the valley view of the King's castle. The one view makes the king feel grand while the other makes the subjects feel small.

This theme of perspective continues with the hats. Bartholomew has certainly removed his hat. That means he has done the right thing. When a new hat appears, that means that he still needs to remove his hat. That appears to the king like a slight, as though no hat had been removed. The king's rather grand ego cannot stand that. So you can think about the problem as a clash in perspectives about showing respect.

Is is good or bad to have lots of hats? Usually it is good, and the story allows you to see both the good and the bad sides of this perspective.

You might also use this book to introduce visual and relative perspectives more generally to your child. Go look at the end of a corridor and see how rectangular it is. Walk along the walls and see how rectangular they are. Then look from the other end to what you have seen, and see how the lines along the floor and ceiling telescope together to reflect the way our eyes work. You can do something similar by having your child look at something while crouching, and then while looking over something. Ask your child what she or he sees, and what his or her feelings are. This works best if you can use the same object, which has different attributes from the top versus the bottom. Something unfamiliar like a new kind of car works best for this.

You can also discuss how perspectives differ among people about the same situation. How do you perceive respect being given? How does your child perceive that she or he is giving respect? When will conflicts occur?

Enjoy overcoming your emotions to look objectively for opportunity and agreement!
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am 29. Mai 1999
This volume differs from most of the Dr. Seuss books we are familiar with in that the text is unrhymed, and the book takes a good 20 minutes to read aloud. This is no liability; the story's interest develops immediately, and never lags. There is an impressively idiosyncratic cast of characters to enjoy and dramatize, and Seuss's use of language is a joy. Bartholomew himself is a gutsy, honest kid without a trace of arrogance or swagger. In addition, the drawings are more detailed than in later books, and really exhibit Seuss' s skill as a graphic artist, along the lines of Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings. I loved this book as a child, and my children adore it now. As enduring children's literature, I would place it above Cat in the Hat and Horton Hears a Who any day!
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am 20. März 1998
This classic tale is one that I have included in my permanent children's collection. The detailed illustrations of Dr. Seuss are fun to explore while enjoying the story. It is a delightful book to read aloud to a child, with dramatic expression, remarking on the extraordinary changes in the hats as Bartholomew takes them off his head.
Just imagine how bewildered you might be if another hat appeared when you took off the first one! And the scribe's surprise as he counts them all the way up the hill! I can't give away the end of course, you will just have to read and enjoy it yourself.
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am 26. März 1998
Dr. Seuss delivered a favorite when he penned this almost classic story of Bartholomew Cubbins. I read this story to my little brother when I was a child, and my children all loved it, too. Every child should have the privilege of snuggling up and hearing about the adventures of Bartholomew. This book, because of it's repetitive story line (not a negative, definitely a plus), is excellent to read to kids that are on the verge of learning to read to themselves. They will soon be reading along with you, and before you know it they will take off on their own. Enjoy! It's a treasure.
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am 18. März 1998
Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss)
Wrote rhythms and rhymes guaranteed to amuse.
Bartholomew Cubbins is a tale you may know
Of a lad who has 500 feathered chapeaux.
Each time he removes one, another's revealed
(As far as the end goes, my lips must be sealed.)
I marveled at Cubbins when I was a lad.
Now my daughter is thrilled when it's read by her dad.
Unless by fine writing you're gravely offended
This Dr. Seuss classic is much recommended.
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am 14. April 1998
I learned to read on the wonderful work of a wonderful man, and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins does credit to the list of titles behind the hallowed name of Dr. Suess. All children should receive a copy of this book upon birth. What higher recommendation can I give? Here's one :"READ THE BOOK!! You'll like it!!" Dr. Suess' books are gems and ought to be recognized as such. The generations coming truly deserve it!!
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am 20. März 1998
Once again the delightful writer of other books such as; 'Horton Hears a Who' and the classic, 'Cat in the Hat' has done it again. The
captivating story of Bartholomew Cubbins is a
hilarious tale of a steady line of hats that more or
less drove the town delirious. The fun-filled suprising end should be enjoyed by all. I recommend this child novel for all generations.
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am 1. Juli 1999
Bartholemew tried over and over to obey the orders of the King.The more hats he took off,the more splendid each hat became.King Derwin was gratified that he could have all the hats after the 500th was removed...and Bartholemew ended up feeling more important and less small to the Kingdom of Didd.
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am 13. April 1998
Bartholomew Cubbins is a likeable fellow is trying to be obedient, but something is stopping him. It would seem that he is wearing MANY hats. As he takes more and more off, you begin to feel for him. Then, it just gets funny and even absurd.
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