There isn’t much of a story to this book. It is mostly instructions from an unseen character, we only see its arms, that is pointing to its watch and instructing Marvin K. Mooney to leave. Marvin K. Mooney is a little Seussian character, somewhat dog-like. As the unseen character asks Marvin to leave in various ways, we see Marvin acting out each new dramatic exit. He has a big smile on his face which makes leaving seem like a lot of fun, which it probably would be if you went the way Marvin was being asked:
“You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
But please go.
Eventually, we see some more Seussian ways to leave such as a Crunk-Car or a Zumble-Zay, or just in silly ways like in a bureau drawer on a camel’s hump.
At the very end the hand with the watch has gotten HUGE and the font has taken over the page.
“I said GO and GO I meant…”
But on the very last page the hand is normal size and seems to be waving fondly as Marvin simply walks off the page with a nice smile, waving back. The text simply says:
“The time had come.
This is another Bright & Early book with an extremely simplified vocabulary for the earliest of readers. Like most Bright & Early books it is not dedicated to anyone.
Seuss tells a story in which he met a columnist named Art Buchwald at a party, “Buchwald taunted me for having never written a political book. I went home and made him a special copy of Marvin K. Mooney, wherein I crossed out Mooney’s name everywhere and wrote in ‘Richard M. Nixon.’ Buchwald published this story in his syndicated column, and the next day, Nixon resigned. Later I was welcomed in Sydney, Australia, as the man who got rid of Nixon.”
Here is a link to the Washington Post online version of Buchwald’s column:
The story is not quite as simple as that. Buchwald and Seuss had met a few times and were friends. Buchwald sent him a copy of his book called I Never Danced at the White House and dared Seuss to write something political in return.
When Buchwald wanted to published Seuss’ altered Marvin K. Mooney Random House was not thrilled, but Seuss told him to do it anyway. It was nine days after it was published that Nixon announced his resignation. Seuss wrote to Buchwald, “We sure got him, didn’t we? We should have collaborated sooner.”
Sometimes imitations of Seuss’ machines are a bit too crazy or have names that are made wackier than necessary, but this is a perfect Seussian machine. It’s got some gears, a lever, a couple joints and pipes with smoke, but most importantly it looks a bit like an animal. I think it’s just great!
The last line is definitely my favorite. After all the drama of the many different ways that Marvin K. Mooney could leave he simple decides to just walk away.
Thanks for reading,