’A deal is a deal,’ snapped the bug. ‘I’m the boss.
You stretch out your trunk and you put me across!
Stretch, Horton! STRUTCH!’ yelled the bug. So he strutch.
He strutch it two feet, but it still wouldn’t touch.
‘Streech, Horton! STREECH!’ yelled the bug. So he streeched.
It hurt him real badly, but finally it reached.
‘At last!’ sang the Kwuggerbug, chuckling with glee,
And he slid down the trunk to his Beezlenut tree.
Passage from “Horton and the Kwuggerbug”
Since Dr. Seuss – real name Theodor Geisel – died in 1991, his children’s tales have been retold to new generations and recast for the big screen. But those looking for a fresher take on the Grinch than Jim Carrey’s are in luck.
A new book – “Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories” – that hit stores Tuesday includes four long-lost Seuss yarns that originally appeared in Redbook in the 1950s. Geisel was a regular contributor to the magazine, writing one Dr. Seuss story a month, Cathy Goldsmith, an associate publishing director at Random House, told NPR.
“He would gather everybody in a conference room, and first he would read the words to you aloud, and then he would show you the pictures,” Goldsmith said. ” … It was fabulous, because you would meet that book — not exactly the way a reader would meet it because it hadn’t all been pulled together yet — but you had that sense of discovery.”
But some stories never resurfaced.
“For the most part, those magazines were tossed when the next month’s issue arrived, and the stories were largely forgotten,” wrote Charles D. Cohen, a dentist who collects Seuss memorabilia, in the book’s introduction. Cohen, who published a book about Geisel in 2004, tracked down old copies of the magazines and “experienced that old expectant delight, holding what were, to me, ‘new’ Dr. Seuss stories!”
The new book contains familiar characters such as Horton, the trusting elephant, and Marco, the first Dr. Seuss children’s book character, who debuted in 1937. In “Marco Comes Late,” readers revisit Mulberry Street, where Marco takes a journey that illustrates the difference between telling stories and telling lies.
The book also introduces new characters, including a Grinch — not a grump like his Christmas-stealing cousin, but a con man who convinces people to buy what they don’t need in the “The Hoobub and the Grinch.”
As Cohen points out, this Grinch looks a lot like a character Geisel created for a billboard during his three-decade stint in advertising. This Grinch could have been the expression of Geisel’s growing disenchantment with the business, Cohen speculated, noting that not long after “Hoobub” was published, Geisel did illustrations for a campaign to ban billboards.
“Horton and the Kwuggerbug” is the second story Seuss wrote about Horton – after the lovable elephant hatches an egg and before he hears a Who. It tells of poor Horton’s trust in a crafty little bug who cons him into trekking high and low for tasty Beezelnuts. Having promised him half of the coveted fruit, the bug offers him only the shells. Horton takes the high road, but the bug still gets his comeupannce.
The third story, “How Officer Pat Saved the Whole Town,” was originally slated for publication as a book in 1957, but “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories” was published instead. “Officer Pat” is the timely tale of how quickly trouble can snowball for a police officer written in the classic style of a man once dubbed the “American master of logical nonsense.”
If that gnat bites that cat, and he might very well,
That cat will wake up and he’ll let out a yell.
That’s only small trouble. I know it. But, brother,
One small bit of trouble will lead to another!
The trouble with trouble is…trouble will spread.
The yowl of that cat will wake Tom, Tim and Ted,
Those terrible triplets of Mrs. McGown.
Then they’ll yowl a yowl that’ll wake this whole town.
This book is one of four that contain “lost” Seuss stories. According to Newsweek, Cohen has worked with Random House to publish three others featuring Geisel’s Redbook contributions.