Hunches in Bunches

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Published 1982 by Random House

SUMMARY:

The story opens with a young boy sitting and twiddling his fingers trying to think of what to do. He has the fidgets and can’t make up his mind.

“It’s awfully awfully awful
when you can’t make up your mind!”

hunch01He starts to list the many things that he could do, like play football or go skating or climb a tree. He calls all of these things hunches, but he gets so many hunches that he doesn’t want to pick one and find out that it’s the wrong one.

On the next page, and for the rest of the story, each hunch takes on a physical appearance. They’re all different looking humanoid-Seussian-creatures and they all have big glove-like fuzzy hats on their heads.

The first hunch to appear is a Happy Hunch that tries to lead him outside to play, but then a Homework Hunch rolls in and tells him he can’t play outside. Luckily, a Better Hunch comes along and hanks the hat off of the Homework Hunch.

Just as he’s about to go off with the Better Hunch a Sour Hunch tells him his bike is rusting and he needs to go oil it. Then a Very Odd Hunch asks him if he needs to go to the bathroom.

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Then an unseen Hunch says,

“‘That mind of yours,’ I heard him say,
‘is frightfully ga-flupped.
Your mind is murky-mooshy!
Will you make it up? Or won’t you?
If you won’t, you are a wonter!
Do you understand? Or don’t you?
If you don’t, you are a donter.
You’re a canter if you can’t.
I would really like to help you.
But you’re hopeless. So I shan’t.”

Next a Spookish Hunch shows up pointing four different ways, but our hero is smart enough not to follow that hunch, because he knows if he does he will probably end up on an dead-end road in West Gee-Hossa-Flat!

He avoids the Four-Way Hunch, but quickly falls into the trap off following a Nowhere Hunch.

“Everybody sometimes does it.
Even me. And even you.
I followed him in circles
till we wore the rug right through.”

Luckily, an Up Hunch blows by and tells him to stop going around and try going up! So our hero follows the Up hunch into some fresh air, but when he gets to the top he is met by a Down Hunch that tells him never to trust an Up Hunch and instead to go back down. When he goes back down he is surrounded by all different kinds of Wild hunches throwing, “crunchy hunchy punches.”

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Then a Super Hunch yells,

“Make up your mind! Get it done!
Only you can make your mind up! You’re the one and only one!”

Our hero realizes that he alone can’t make up his mind. To get it done it’ll take two of him! Or maybe even three or four! It actually takes even more of him. They all yell and shove and talk all of the hunches over until they decide what to do.

Finally, he decides to follow a Munch Hunch and goes to the kitchen to have six hot dogs for lunch.

HISTORY:

Hunches in Bunches is the first big book in 9 years since Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are. The illustrations are stronger and feel more classic; there are different patterns on each individual hunches clothing, the stairs that the Up Hunch takes are perfectly and precariously placed. It is also the only Big book without a dedication.

It was strange to read the words “video games” in a Dr. Seuss book, but it is his first book written in the 80s. Hand shapes on hats have been seen before in the only live action Dr. Seuss movie made in his life time called The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (not based on a book.)

The message of the book is to kids (video games vs homework, going down town with a friend vs a parental voice telling you to go to the bathroom) but, like all Dr. Seuss books, the message is still relevant to adults. It can be more specifically applied to people in their 20s and 30s trying to decide what direction to go in their lives, but we all have Dead-End Hunches, Up Hunches, Down Hunches etc. The ending brings us back to the child-like thought of just simply going to get something to eat. It is unexpected after a long build up, but it is something we can all relate to (we all need to eat and take a break from deciding what we’re doing all the time. )

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FAVORITE QUOTE:

I think this quote sums up the main message of the book. We all have scattered thoughts sometimes and can’t decide what to do, but no one can make up our minds for us.

“‘That mind of yours,’ I heard him say,
‘is frightfully ga-flupped.
Your mind is murky-mooshy!
Will you make it up? Or won’t you?
If you won’t, you are a wonter!
Do you understand? Or don’t you?
If you don’t, you are a donter.
You’re a canter if you can’t.
I would really like to help you.
But you’re hopeless. So I shan’t.”

FAVORITE IMAGE:

I love this perilous looking stack of stone steps. Perfect example of Seussian structure.

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Thanks for reading,

Jack St.Rebor

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