Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Atlas Shrugged with Antlers!

Laissez Faire Books has been working to expand it’s fiction department, especially fiction for the young. And while you can find books for older children or teens it is especially difficult to find material for those who are younger. One delightful exception to that rule is Thidwick: The Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss.

The story concerns a herd of moose at Lake Winna-Bango and one moose in particular, Thidwick. One day a Bingle Bug asks Thidwick if he can ride on Thidwick’s antlers. Being a gentle soul Thidwick is happy to comply. A hour later he discovers that the bug has invited a Tree Spider to share the antlers as well. Soon a Zinn-a-zu Bird joins them.

Thidwick is unpleased when the Zinn-a-zu starts plucking hair from his head to build a nest but the bird tells him “You can always grow more.” The next morning Thidwick is dismayed to discover the bird’s wife joined him during the night and her uncle, a Woodpecker, has joined the group. The uncle has also decided to make some holes in Thidwick’s antlers which he then invites a family of squirrels to use. Soon the menagerie is joined by a turtle and a bobcat.

Thidwick discovers that the rest of the herd has deserted him. Worse yet, winter is setting in and the moose-moss he eats is now scarce. He has to swim the lake to the other side if he is to survive. Thidwick steps into the water only to hear this clamor from his “guests”.
“STOP!” screamed his guests. “You can’t do this to us!
These horns are our homes and you’ve not right to take
OUr home to the far distant shore of the lake!”

“Be fair!” Thidwick begged with a lump in his throat...
“We’re fair,’ said the bug.
“We’ll decided this by vote.”
Of course when the election is held Thidwick is outvoted eleven to one. So Thidwick obeyed the will of majority and climbed back on shore. Of course the freeloaders immediately expanded the number of “guests” living at Thidwick’s expense. Just when Thidwick doesn’t think it could get worse --- it does. Hunters arrive looking for a nice moose head for the wall of their club. Burdened by the weight of his guests poor Thidwick finds it hard to escape the hunters.

Exhausted by the extra weight he is forced to carry he is trapped by the hunters when a miracle happens, well, not a miracle exactly. It’s time for him to shed his antlers so a new set can grow a new set.
“And he called to the pests on his horns as he threw ‘em,
‘You wanted my horns; now you’re quite welcome to ‘em!
Keep ‘em, They’re yours!
As for Me, I shall take
Myself to the far distant
Side of the lake!”
One can’t help think of Wyatt’s torch in Atlas Shrugged. Ellis Wyatt is finally disgusted by the looters confiscating his business one piece at a time. He set one of his oil well’s alight and posted a note at the bottom of road leading to it. “I am leaving it as I found it. Take over. It’s yours.”

Now only does this Dr. Seuss classic illustrate how the welfare state grows and grows it shows how it burdens down those forced to carry the weight. And it eventually puts them at risk as well. Thidwick had only one alternative ”to shrug”.

This book has some wonderful illustrations that any child would enjoy. The book is a hardback and is $14.95. To order a copy call Laissez Faire at 1-800-329-0996.

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