Marvin K. Mooney
Will You Please Go Now!

by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 3-5

A book about not leaving

Here's a Dr. Seuss book that may have changed the course of history!

Seuss (Theodore Geisel) was friends with Washington political columnist Art Buchwald.

There seems to be disagreement on what prompted it, but we know that in 1974 Seuss sent Buchwald a copy of this simple book, and everywhere the name Marvin K. Mooney appeared, Seuss crossed it out and wrote Richard M. Nixon, so that it read...

Richard M. Nixon, will you please go now!

Buchwald got Seuss's permission to reprint the text in his column.

9 days later, Nixon resigned. Not bad for a book aimed at 4 year olds!

Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!

Some adult (only the grown-up's large hand is visible) wants Marvin to leave.

The time has come.
The time is now.
Just go.
I don't care how.

The hand is pointing, but Marvin isn't going anywhere. The adult is insisting, but Marvin stays put.

You can go on stilts.
You can go by fish.
You can go
in a Crunk-Car
if you wish.

(Instead of wheels, a Crunk-Car has feet! How do I get one?)

The book is a simple tale of adult imploring and child intransigence. As one of Seuss's Bright and Early books, the simple text is meant for the youngest of readers. But...

I love the book because of a more sophisticated way in which it can be used than merely for the purpose of sounding out simple words.

An important reading skill is the ability to interpret clues in text. Seuss never states outright precisely who is ordering Marvin to leave, or where they want him to go. Review continues.

Marvin Mooney collage

The clues are there! Challenge your child to figure them out.

Now, I just read a review by an adult who couldn't figure it out. But I like to think that you, I, and your child are all smarter than that adult! (And that we can agree that that adult shouldn't be reviewing books.)

  • Ask your child what Marvin is standing on. (It looks like a bathmat to me.)
  • Ask your child what Marvin is wearing. (They look like pajamas to me.)
  • Ask your child why the adult wants Marvin to go. (The adult is clearly pointing at his/her watch.)

Hmm. Could it be that the adult is a parent and he/she wants Marvin to go to bed?

Hurray! Your child just became a better reader.

In the end, Marvin does go to bed. But only when he's darn good and ready.

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now sends your child to bed a little bit smarter than when he/she woke up!

Complete Dr. Seuss book list.

Read more of Steve's reviews.

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