Picks and Pans Review: You're Only Old Once!

updated 03/31/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/31/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Dr. Seuss

It's altogether possible that the One Great Scorer doesn't really care so much how you played the game as how many times you made a child laugh. If so, Dr. Seuss and his alter ego, Theodor Geisel, are a cinch to be at the top of the list. Certainly no author has shown a greater understanding or love of children. But now, at 82, the Doc has taken a break from his literary pediatrics practice to dabble in gerontology. This tale "for Obsolete Children" follows an elderly citizen of the land of Fotta-fa-Zee as he reluctantly goes in for a checkup at "the Golden Years Clinic on Century Square/for Spleen Readjustment and Muffler Repair." Some of the rhymes and jokes seem a little forced, especially in comparison with the remarkable flow of the Seuss books about Grinches and Loraxes and Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzzes, where somehow all the nonsense words seem perfectly natural. That only means that this book is slightly less than relentlessly hilarious. Geisel's drawings, full of Rube Goldberg gadgets, bulgy-eyed whatnots and baffled people, are as entertaining as ever. And he may have had a little experience as a patient somewhere along the line. How else would he have known about Dr. Pollen, the "Allergy Whiz, who knows every sniffle and itch that there is.... He will check your reactions to thumbtacks and glue/ catcher's mitts, leaf mold and cardigans, too/ nasturtiums and marble cake, white and blue chalks/ anthracite coal and the feathers of hawks/ Also corn on the cob. Also buffalo grease/ and how you react when you're stared at by geese/ He'll take copious notes. Then I'll hazard a guess/ that he'll send you downstairs to see Dr. Van Ness." (Random House, $9.95)

From Our Partners