What makes William Steig tick?
Reading this book one can only wonder at the inner workings of a sublime and zany mind. Is he mad? At times he seems to barely skirt the edge of lunacy - an imagination such as this is anything but normal.
Do you want your kids to read this?
Absolutely - just make sure they buckle their seatbelts first.
Here's how it starts...
"Doctor Bernard De Soto was such a one-in-a-million, humdinger of a dentist that the whole world knew about him, and also about his wife, Deborah, who helped him work his wonders".
De Soto, it should be noted is a very refined and professional looking mouse. But why in the world is his wife's name Deborah?
Steig continues, "The two of them were listening to Caruso one evening when this cablegram arrived"...
Of all the things the DeSotos might be listening to, why Caruso? The author surely has a reason as each such unexpected choice contributes to the the book's bent and altered state of reality.
The cablegram contains an offer of ten thousand gold walulus as an incentive for Dr. D. and his wife D. to travel to Dabwan West Africa to deal with the giant toothache of a seriously suffering elephant. And so the action gets underway.
Along the way things take a dark and scary twist. "Around midnight, while his wife slept, Dr. Bernard De Soto was kidnapped. A hand covered his mouth, and he was hustled off in the clutches of a certain rhesus monkey, Honkitonk by name."
Why in the middle of the book is the by now well known protagonist referred to as "Doctor Bernard De Soto"? By now you get the idea...
In the end, however, all is well. The successful dental intervention liberates the pachyderm from pain and he and his wife dance a "frolicsome fandango".