Ten Apples Up On Top!

written by Dr. Seuss (as Theo. LeSieg)
illustrated by Roy McKie

Dr. Seuss's Ten Apples Up On Top!
illustrated by Roy McKie

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 2-6

Seuss counting book

Maybe it's Dr. Seuss's fault. He creates rather high expectations.

Reviewers rave on this book's Amazon page. They go on about how the book combines numbers and reading with the simplest of vocabularies...only 75 different words.

I expect more out of Seuss. I know that this genius didn't let a limited vocabulary hold him back when he created The Cat in the Hat.

I expect some magic, some charm. Some wisdom. And frankly, I was disappointed...until the last six pages. That's when Seuss and illustrator Roy McKie managed to lift the book from the mundane.

(I knew there had to be a reason this was one of the most popular books of the 20th century.)

cropped image from Ten Apples Up On Top

Ten Apples Up On Top!

A dog and a lion are soon joined by a tiger in their competition to stack the largest number of apples upon their heads.

(I would have thought the dog would have had more to worry about than that, but I can be pretty literal!)

One apple, two apples...they're pretty good at this. They combine their apple-balancing with some other difficult feats - like telephone line walking - to make their showmanship even more impressive.

A mama bear, though, is unimpressed. She wants the joyful animals gone, and she's waving a broom to knock those apples off their heads. Our playful trio doesn't want to let them fall.

(I was still yawning at this point.)

A chase ensues, with the whole killjoy bear family joining in, as well as some apple-eyeing birds. Now we've got the apple trio on a bicycle, careening down a hill, with a slow moving vehicle in front of them.

That vehicle turns out to be an apple cart. Now you've got my attention!


After everything comes to rest, everybody has a stack of ten apples balanced atop their heads. And they're all happy.

Ahh. There's my Seuss moment, and my Seuss message: to turn someone from negative to positive, sometimes all you have to do is include them in the fun.

Ten Apples Up On Top!, the Seuss numbers book.

Read more of Steve's reviews.

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