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Bartholomew and the Oobleck - Dr. Seuss

February 23, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

A Caldecott Honor Book from the early works of Seuss ...

Bartholomew and the Oobleck, from Oceanhouse Media, was published by Dr. Seuss in print in 1949. It was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 1950, and is a sequel to The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. In this tale, young Bartholomew is tasked with saving the kingdom from "oobleck", a sticky goo that falls from the sky. According to Wikipedia:

"Geisel said he drew inspiration for the book from a conversation he overheard while stationed in Belgium during World War II. During a rainstorm, one of his fellow soldiers remarked, "Rain, always rain. Why can't we have something different for a change?"

This is also one of the rare Seuss books that is pure prose and not written in 'anapestic tetrameter', although the whimsy of the tale is classic Seuss. It is also less colorful than later works, featuring primarily green and black line drawn images. Overall Bartholomew and the Oobleck is an award-winning tale that will be a treat for young readers, with digital enhancements that give it a modern feel without losing any of the charm of the print title.

Every one of Dr. Seuss' stories has been seamlessly translated into a new digital classic by Oceanhouse Media. Enhancements are primarily educational and focused on word recognition, although lots of interesting sound effects connect the images with word meanings for young listeners. Great narration with highlighting word-by-word reinforces the text and if a child taps on any word, it is spoken again (tap-to-hear) for additional text reinforcement. If you tap on an image in the illustrations, the word will appear with accompanying audio. And as a bonus, if that image is present in the text of the page, that word will highlight again, too.

This title has the detailed illustrations that make Seuss books so popular, but like most Dr. Seuss OmBooks, these stories aren't animated. However, most pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each chunk of text in a nicely paced reading experience. Extra features include the ability to record your own narration as well as excellent navigation with a nice visual thumbnail page guide. Ample settings allow adults to set the book up with or without audio and interactive elements. Links that leave the app are contained exclusively in the 'info' section under a parental gate that requires fluid reading and following complex directions.

Overall, this Seuss tale is a delightful read and it is made even more accessible to a new generation with digital enhancements well-suited to a modern audience. The messages within Seuss books can be subtle, making for rich converstations with young people and engaging extension activities in classroom settings. In print and digital, Dr. Seuss is tops with young and old alike, precisely because his books make learning to read (and reading to learn) FUN!

Highly Recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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Bartholomew and the Oobleck - Dr. Seuss

February 23, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

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Dr. Seuss

Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Length (time):
35 - 45 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 4 - 9 +

English •

Length (pages):
37 Pages


Story Synopsis - Bartholomew and the Oobleck - Dr. Seuss

Join Bartholomew in this interactive book app as he witnesses King Derwin of Didd demand that a magical concoction called "oobleck" fall from the sky instead of just snow, fog, sunshine, and rain. Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and personalize the story with your own narration. Will Bartholomew save the kingdom after it gets taken over with the gooey oobleck? [Source: iTunes]

The book opens with an explanation about how people in the Kingdom of Didd still talk about "The year the King got angry with the sky," and how Bartholomew Cubbins, King Derwin of Didd's page boy, saved the Kingdom. Throughout the year, Bartholomew sees the king getting angry at rain in spring, sun in summer, fog in autumn, and snow in winter. The king explains he's angry because he wants something new to come down from the sky, but when Bartholomew points out that "even kings can't rule the sky," the king vows to prove Bartholomew wrong.

One spring night, as he's getting ready for bed, the king gets the idea that ruling the sky is the task of his Royal Magicians so he orders Bartholomew to summon them. After expressing his wish to the magicians, they announce they can make something called Oobleck which won't look like the regular weather that the king doesn't want. The magicians soon return to their secret cave on Mount Neeka Tave to make the oobleck.

After watching the cave all night, Bartholomew sees the first sign that the oobleck has been made and that it is falling the very next morning. When the king wakes up and sees the oobleck, Bartholomew tries to caution him on how big the falling oobleck is getting, but the king orders Bartholomew to tell the Royal Bell Ringer that today will be a holiday.

Bartholomew does as he's told, but when the bell ringer tries to ring the bell, it doesn't ring because oobleck has gotten into it. When Bartholomew and the bell ringer see a mother bird trapped in her nest by the Oobleck, as well as the cow, who is also stuck in the Oobleck, they see that it could be dangerous, so Bartholomew makes the decision to warn the kingdom.

First, Bartholomew warns the Royal Trumpeter about the oobleck, but when the trumpeter tries to sound the alarm, oobleck gets into thetrumpet and the trumpeter gets his hand stuck trying to remove the oobleck. When Bartholomew tries to tell the Captain of the Guard to warn the kingdom, the captain instead, thinking the oobleck to be pretty, tries to prove to Bartholomew that he's not afraid by scooping some oobleck up with his sword and eating it, only to get his mouth stuck and breathe out green bubbles. Bartholomew tries to go to the Royal Stables for a horse to warn the kingdom on his own, but even the stables are covered in oobleck.

As Bartholomew goes back inside, the falling blobs of oobleck, now as big as buckets filled with broccoli, start to break into the palace, creating even more mess inside than outside. Bartholomew runs around warning everybody to stay undercover, but the palace servants and guards are soon stuck in the oobleck.

In the throne room, the king, now covered in oobleck, orders Bartholomew to summon the magicians to stop the storm, but when Bartholomew brings up the bad news that even the cave is covered in oobleck, the king gets the idea to use the magicians' magic words ("Shuffle Duffle Muzzle Muff") to stop the oobleck. Bartholomew finally gets the courage to tell the king off for making such a foolish wish and tells him to use simple words, like "I'm sorry," instead of magic words. At first, the king insists that he never says sorry, but only after Bartholomew states that he's no sort of king if he's covered in oobleck does the king finally admit his mistake and say "I'm sorry."

Straight after the king says those simple words, the Oobleck Storm breaks up and the sun melts away all the oobleck, freeing everybody in the process. At this point, the narrator states that maybe those simple words the king said were the magic words to stop the storm. After the oobleck is gone, Bartholomew takes the king to the bell tower and the king rings the bell proclaiming the day a holiday, dedicated not to oobleck, but to rain, sun, fog, and snow, the four things that have, and always should, come down from the sky. [Source: Wikipedia]


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read Myself, AutoPlay, SFX/Music Volume Control, Record Narration, Page Guide, Info w/ Links: (under parental gate) to: AppStore, Web, Email, FB, Twitter

App Release Date:


Size: 45.08 MB

Version: 2.4

Lite Version Available: No



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