Dr. Seuss Meets the CPSIA

Social commentary in Seussian style.

My friend Heather Idoni (Homeschooler's Notebook and BelovedBooks.com) and I (HomegrownHearts.com) collaborated on this story to illustrate our views about a ridiculous law, the CPSIA. You can read more about this law here:

Children's Books to Be Banned

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

Guidance from the CPSC

Please become educated about this law so you can be an informed consumer - this effects nearly everyone in some way!

We had a lot of fun working on it together (with me in Iowa and Heather in Michigan!) and we hope you enjoy it.


In the town of Beddubble, far out on the Moor,
there lived a small tot, who was not more than four.

Little Annabelle Ruth (her close friends would recall)
had swallowed the string from a dilly-dunk ball.

And then in the Spring of two thousand ought one,
she died of the thing that the string must have done.

They were sure of this fact, though the details were thin --
"Something HAS to be done, we have GOT to begin!"

Those dilly-dunk balls that tots spin on a string
are quite dangerous toys -- What a horrible thing!

We'll form a committee to draft legislation --
The Dilly-Dunk String Tot Protection Foundation.

There is no time to waste, get the paper and ink --
This string must be stopped, there is no time to THINK!

Every dilly-dunk ball in the town of Beddubble
(no matter the cost and no matter the trouble) --

must be taken by dumpers to tops of high hills
and dumped there -- forever to rot in the 'fills.

The law with the rules that they hurriedly drafted,
so brilliantly worded and carefully crafted,

Would certainly solve this great problem they had --
Who would complain? How could it be bad?

"Out with the bathwater, baby and all"
was the rallying cry from the town's city hall

"Every dilly-dunk ball shall be gathered and trashed --
and before that is done, they'll be burned up and mashed."

No matter the cost and no matter the trouble,
they must be got rid of -- right now on the double!

The Mayor and the Dilly-Dunk String Tot Protectors
made ready to send out their troops of inspectors

to check all the stores in the Bedubble Mall
to make sure not one ball was for sale in them all.

What they saw on the shelves brought great cause for alarm --
more toys with more strings that could bring greater harm!

They called for the head Dilly-Dunk Tot Protector,
who brought out his big STRING INSPECTION DETECTOR --

and he looked in their books and the shelves full of clothes --
Why this string was in EVERYTHING under his nose!

We must ban these toys, all the clothes, every book --
We can't keep all this dangerous gobbledygook!

For in memory of little tot Annabelle Ruth,
we must keep our promise, we must tell the truth.

So because of a tot (who supposedly died)
from a string on a thing that got tangled inside,

the girls and the boys of a town called Beddubble
were in big piles of mess and a big heap of trouble.

For how would they learn now? And what would they wear?
Without books to read and with no clothes to spare?

They had no intentions of swallowing strings --
and tangling them up -- and dying of things!

Books were to read; clothes to wear, toys to play.
This law must be STOPPED -- it's plain silly, okay?

But the law was the law -- and what more could be done?

Well --

They put in a call to the mayor's only son.

Little Jimmy was all alone in his room playing --
when a boy rang him up and -- now, WHAT was he saying?

"What a strange silly law!" Jimmy thought to himself,
and he took down his favorite book off the shelf --

And he read and he thunk and he thunk and he read
'til his thinker was sore and his brain hurt his head.

What could HE do -- he was just the mayor's son --
Just one voice, just one person -- what more could be done?

Then he got an idea... a strange, happy idea --
That boy got a crazy, amazing idea!

He packed up a sack with some snacks and a peach
and headed out south toward this shack on the beach

Where he'd heard a girl lived by herself all alone,
since she'd left years ago from her childhood home

After causing a stir with some string from a ball --
Why that girl wasn't dead as they said -- not at all!

He wrote down her story and headed back north
and gathered the Council in town and so forth --

With his notes in his hand and a smile on his face,
he told the town council, "I'll now state my case."

(And his dad, the Lord Mayor sat patiently listening
til the sweat on his face was all silvery and glistening)

"Now you know, since these men did not research their facts
before they enacted their laws and their acts,

a strange, silly ruling has come into play
and our fine and fair citizens now rue the day

that they ever elected this great legislature
who think up strange laws that have gone against nature.

For Miss Annabelle Ruth (she never did marry)
Had a time with that string (oh, yes, it was scary)

But swallow it she never did, not at all --
that string from the 'dangerous' dilly-dunk ball.

In fact, that small youth, little Annabelle Ruth
had only just tangled it up 'round her tooth!

And that testimony, my friends, is the proof
That the law that you made is not based on the truth."

The men all just stared, their lips trembling with shame --
they glanced 'round the room seeking someone to blame

But the shame came in waves on the men in their places,
whose hats from their heads were now hiding red faces.

Then the mayor spoke up proudly, "My son you've done well...
You've made our stupidity clear as a bell.

This law must be changed, be un-done, un-enacted --
It's clear that the lawmakers overreacted!

I hereby decree throughout all of Beddubble
this string ban is ceased -- there will be no more trouble.

Call all of your friends to a huge celebration --
we'll build a great fire for this bad legislation!

So each girl and each boy brought a dilly-dunk ball
and they had a great feast at the city's town hall.

And Miss Annabelle Ruth carved a roast Beezle duck --
and she kissed all their cheeks and she wished them good luck.


Copyright 2009 Heather Idoni and Jodi Whisler - All Rights Reserved - HomegrownHearts.com
Link to this page: The CPSIA Meets Dr. Seuss

Other Dr. Seuss resources:
Horton Hears a Who
A Unit Study with Dr. Seuss
Horton Hears a Who Mini Unit Study