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The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

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Published: September 1st, 1938, by Vanguard Press, Inc., New York
Author: Dr. Seuss
Illustrator: Dr. Seuss
Characters: Bartholomew Cubbins, King Derwin, the Captain, Sir Alaric, Sir Snipps, Nadd the Wise Man, Father of Nadd, Father of the Father of Nadd, Grand Duke Wilfred, Yeoman of the Bowmen, Magicians, Executioner
Setting: Kingdom of Didd
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is the second book published by Dr. Seuss in 1938. Unlike the majority of his works, this book is written in standard prose and not rhyme. The plot centers on Bartholomew Cubbins's mysterious reappearing hats and the attempts of King Derwin's courts to rid them from his head once and for all, centering on themes of vanity, punishment, and magic. It was adapted into a musical by the Children's Theatre Company and School of Minneapolis in 1980.

Oceanhouse Media published this book to be used as an app on Iphones, Ipod touch, Ipad and android apps.


In the beginning, Bartholomew Cubbins didn't have five hundred hats. He had only one hat... It was probably the oldest and the plainest hat in the whole Kingdom of Didd.

Characters

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Plot Synopsis

Bartholomew Cubbins, resident of the Kingdom of Didd, is traveling from his home in the cranberry bogs to sell berries in town markets when he is interrupted by the royal procession in the central streets. Citizens are ordered to remove their hats out of respect for the oncoming King Derwin, which Bartholomew does. However, the King suddenly stops and commands Bartholomew to remove his hat again! Indeed, another hat has appeared there, and each time he removes one hat, its identical twin appears on his head.

The Captain is ordered to take Bartholomew to the Throne Room, where he will be dealt with later. There he meets Sir Alaric, Keeper of the Records, who counts the number of discarded hats. The King orders Sir Snipps, 'maker of hats for all the fine lords.' Snipps appears and scoffs at Bartholomew's plain hat, yet, when he knocks it to the floor, another one appears. He leaves the room running.

Next the three wise men, Nadd, the Father of Nadd, and the Father of the Father of Nadd are all called in to assess the matter, but they can only nibble their beards, for they have never seen such a thing before.

The King's nephew, the proud Grand Duke Wilfred, calls from outside the balcony window, meaning to try removing the hat. Bartholomew is brought to the Duke, who proceeds to shoot off his hads in succession with a child's bow, to know avail. The King believes then that the failure was due to the use of such a small weapon, so he calls in the fierce Yeoman of the Bowmen and his mighty bow, with arrows "twice as long as Bartholomew, and thicker than his wrist."

A bow is shot and carries the hat half a mile. But still a new hat takes its place. The Court decides that this can only be an act of black magic, and so calls in the seven magicians and their cats. They chant a spell said to be successful... in ten years. The King, ever impatient, says this will not do, and at his nephews suggestion, sends Bartholomew to execution.

Bartholomew, afraid of his fate, tries to rip off hats on his way to the Executioner's chamber, but more appear. At hat number 233, he reaches the bottom and must face his death. The Executioner isn't happy to behead him, but it must be done by the King's order.

Unfortunately, he says, he cannot carry out a death sentence if a prisoner has their hat on.

So it's back upstairs for Bartholomew. The Grand Duke is in a rage, and so declares he should be taken to the tallest turret and pushed off. They march the prisoner up the stairs as he continues to drop hats. Just then, Sir Alaric calls to the King. Hat 451 was not a replica like the previous hats, but instead had two feathers! With each hat Bartholomew continues to drop, the extravagance grows until the pinnacle 500th hat is reached, a marvelous cap with a large ruby and plumes of all kinds of birds.

Wilfred still wants to push Bartholomew off the tower, but is reprimanded by the King, who is now interested in buying the magnificent hat. He offers 500 pieces of gold, one for each fallen hat. And alas, when Bartholomew removes his hat, this is the last, and his head is finally bare.

Arm in arm, the two of them march to the counting room, where Bartholomew receives his pay and the King his new hat, which, like all 499 other hats, he decides to keep in crystal cases. Bartholomew goes home with a bag of money for his family, safe and sound.

Reception

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Trivia

  • Between early printings of the book, the images on the inside covers were reversed.
  • The reason for the main character's hat problem is never explained.
  • Bartholomew Cubbins was adapted as a pseudonym for Jared Leto, of 30 Seconds to Mars.

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