cover image Gerald McBoing Boing

Gerald McBoing Boing

Dr Seuss. Random House Children's Books, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-679-89140-6

This nostalgic adaptation of a 1950 Academy Award-winning animated cartoon features Dr. Seuss's inimitable rhymes, plus images from Crawford's original animation stills, which he based on Seuss's drawings. Gerald McCloy, a saucer-eyed boy with a rooster's comb of hair, doesn't talk like a normal kid. Instead, he makes noises, ""louder and louder/ Till one day he went BOOM!/ like a big keg of powder!"" Gerald's onomatopoeic talents shock his parents (shown as a classic '50s shirt-and-tie father and bouffant-haired mother in an apron and heels); further, he earns the unkind playground nickname ""Gerald McBoing Boing."" Dr. Seuss states the issue succinctly: ""When a fellow goes SKREEK!/ he won't have any friends./ For once he says, `Clang clang clang!'/ all the fun ends."" Gerald prepares to hop a train out of town, but he's stopped by a radio mogul in search of a sound-effects specialist. As in The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, eccentricity pays off, big time: ""Now Gerald is rich,/ he has friends, he's well fed,/ 'Cause he doesn't speak words,/ he goes boing boing instead!"" If the conclusion is a tad materialistic, Gerald does appear happy on the soundstage, dressed as a cowboy for a radio serial. Fans of retro graphics will thrill to the vintage illustrations, in shades of olive green, mustardy ochre and spicy red; the snazzy contrasting typefaces used for the sound effects make it easy for Gerald's admirers to honk and clang energetically along. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)