“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It Goes On.”
Robert Frost

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss

Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose is a Dr. Seuss book that I was not aware of until recently. I found this book at an estate sale in a dark and cluttered basement. There were probably a thousand books in the basement and they were in such a hodge-podge that most of the other buyers just avoided the whole mess and left me and my husband to search through them uninterrupted for an hour or so. There were so many wonderful books that I simply started grabbing handfuls and began stuffing them into the cloth bags we brought with us. By the end of the hour we had collected over two hundred books. I kept reloading the bags and my husband paid for them and took them to the car. Some of the books were in so-so shape and ended up being donated, but most are in great condition and are very interesting and wonderful books such as this early Dr. Seuss. This is the most collectible book I have found in my acquisition, however I am still working on research and it may take some time to go through all of them. Maybe there are more treasures I haven't found yet.

Here are some of the wonderful images from this unusual book.

My research reveals that this is a First Edition second printing. 
The First Edition first printing had a red cloth cover.

Helen Palmer was Seuss' first wife.

Here are a few interesting facts about Dr. Seuss. His real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel. Seuss is a Bavarian name and is pronounced Zoice. It was his mother's maiden name. Geisel started out as a cartoonist and began signing his work under the mock title of "Dr. Theophrastus Seuss". He later shortened that to "Dr. Seuss".  Since most Americans pronounced the name Soose not Zoice, he became Dr. Seuss (Soose) for good.

He was not really a doctor and dropped out of graduate school to pursue his love of drawing before ever getting a Ph.D. For over half of his career as a children's author, Dr. Seuss had no children until his second marriage where he acquired two stepdaughters. His first book was rejected numerous times. Seuss worked in advertising and claimed he wrote children's books because it did not compete with his contract with the Standard Oil Company. He credited his style of writing to his parents.

 Here is a short and not so sweet version of Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.

Thidwick is a very happy moose living on the shores of Lake Winna-Bango. He has some very large antlers and a very kind disposition. Unfortunately he is just the sort of kind-hearted soul that is often taken advantage of. Before he knows it a huge number of critters are now living atop his head in those amazing antlers. The new residents keep inviting more and more of their friends to join them.  Poor Thidwick is so burdened down he is unable to cross the lake when winter comes and is facing starvation when things get even worse. Hunters! 

Spoiler Alert! Just at the moment before his imminent death, Thidwicks over ladened antlers let loose with all the critters attached and go rolling down the hill towards the hunters. Thidwick makes his escape across the lake and rejoins his herd to live happily forever, we presume. Not so happily for the free-loading critters who end up as the hunters trophy on the wall. 

Many of the Seuss books had a moral or political message and this one has a few lessons to teach us all. One being "Don't be a lazy freeloader, 'cause look what could happen to you (you might end up stuffed on a wall)!" Another being "Be kind to others, but when someone start's to take advantage of you, you need to stand up for yourself. Learn to say NO! Don't be a pushover like Thidwick!"

In 1991, a few weeks before his death, friends asked Seuss if there were anything he might have left unsaid to all the children out there. Seuss replied, “The best slogan I can think of to leave with the kids of the U.S.A. would be ‘We can . . . and we’ve got to . . . do better than this.’”

Well said, Dr. Seuss, well said.


  1. Dr. Seuss and a Moose! Great post! Congrat's on the earlier award too!

  2. A fabulous find and I'd say it was worth digging through all those books to score this treasure. I truly enjoyed your bio on Dr. Seuss; I daresay he was a bit of a character himself! Love those parting words to the children - he was a brilliant man.

  3. Dark cluttered basements are often the best kind! How lovely to find so many books and to have time to go through them and choose the ones you want.
    I have seen Thidwick before but only in a reprint edition, lovely to get such an early one. Thanks for sharing so many gorgeous pictures.

  4. I have to admit I'm not much of a Dr. Seuss fan. (I just *hated* rhyming books when I was a little kid.) But this looks like a great find! It looks like it might have themes kind of similar to some of the Bill Peet books, which I *did* love as a kid. Don't you just love dusty basements full of treasures!!

  5. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

    Oh my gosh, I would have died of a joy heart attack if I had found a sale with great books like that. I LOVE books. What a wonderful find. I covet.

  6. It's rare to find a sale as good as the one you and your husband ran across... the books were just waiting in that dark basement for someone to rescue them. This Dr Seuss book is wonderful ... and I loved reading about it and about Dr Seuss! His books have always been a favorite in our home.

  7. What a great find. Until this movie came out I had never heard of the Lorax. I wonder how many other Dr. Seuss books there are.

  8. What a wonderful find! I love dusty basements at estate sales.
    I have loved Dr Seuss books since I was a child, he was an amazing man.


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