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Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  34,641 ratings  ·  634 reviews
In this hilarious book, featuring three timeless fables, Dr. Seuss explores the pitfalls of growing too big for your boots!

With his unique combination of hilarious stories, zany pictures and riotous rhymes, Dr. Seuss has been delighting young children and helping them learn to read for over fifty years. Creator of the wonderfully anarchic Cat in the Hat, and ranking among
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published April 12th 1958 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
4,807 books — 6,164 voters
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinQuidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy WhispThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Greenest Books Ever
1,992 books — 586 voters

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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  34,641 ratings  ·  634 reviews

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Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really good titular story!


And the turtles, of course… all turtles are free.

As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be,

It’s said that Yertle the Turtle exemplifies Hitler, and while I have no doubt of that,...

...I think that he could be King Nimrod (from Tower of Babel’s story) as well, but again,...

...I think that Yertle the Turtle exemplifies all tyrants, cruel to their own people; and fools, wanting to be higher than anybody else.

Yertle the Turtle was
From the Wikipedia article "Political messages of Dr Seuss":
Yertle the Turtle was published in 1958. There are many connections through the book to the rise and fall of Hitler. The book is about how all creatures should be free.

Ultimately, the dictatorial leader, symbolizing Hitler, falls. The book was removed from many schools for being 'too political.' The quote from the book, "I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we, too, should have rights" was one of t

I had read many Dr. Seuss books over the years, since I am a huge fan of his work! Now, I had finally come back to one of my childhood favorite stories of all time, “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories” and I still enjoy it to this very day!

There are a total of three stories in this book which includes “Yertle the Turtle,” “Gertrude McFuzz” and “The Big Brag.”

Yertle the Turtle

In this tale, Yertle the King of all the Turtles, wanted to have a throne where he could see everything from high abo
This was my favorite book when I was a child. I read it over and over again, memorizing every line, and taking in every lesson about vanity that Dr Seuss was teaching. As an adult I found a whole new appreciation for the book, as I learned that the character of Yertle was based on Adolph Hitler. Seuss used Yertle to demonstrate the rise of fascism in Europe, and show is distaste for it. In the final lines of the story Seuss's true intent comes out as he proclaims that all turtles and every creat ...more
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course . . . all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.” 

The first story is the one that is best known and best written. It talks about the king of the turtles, Yertle. He likes his pond and he rules it well, but power corrupts, and Yertle wants more. He builds his throne up, knowing that he will be able to rule all that he can see. But his throne is made o
Michael Finocchiaro
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, american-20th-c
This one probably requires a five year old to fully grasp the lessons about pride that are inherent in the mile-high Yurtle, the far-sighted worm and that silly long-tailed bird. But it is still fun to read and one day will probably help me to explain a lesson…
Yertle the Turtle, possibly the best book ever written on the subject of turtle stacking.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

I love it when Dr. Seuss gets preachy.

Now, I know my fair share of Dr. Seuss books, but for some reason I'd never heard of Yertle the Turtle until a colleague of mine said I should read it when I teach governments next year.

To that colleague: thanks a lot. I just might do that. In fact, I might do that this year as a little review.

Yertle is the absolute monarch defined. It's his power becoming absolute and corrupting. It's his greed. It's his fall from the top.

He can be ha
Mohammed Algarawi
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: luna-1st-1-12
This is a children's book. I repeat, a children's book. Again, It. Is. A. Children's book. However, Dr. Seuss embodies Adolf Hitler's invasion of Europe using a turtle and a pond.
And it's poetic too!

Here's a part of an article from Wikipedia about the book:

"Seuss has stated that the titular character Yertle represented Adolf Hitler, with Yertle's despotic rule of the pond and takeover of the surrounding area parallel to Hitler's regime in Germanyand invasion of various
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Picture-Book Readers / Dr. Seuss Fans
Dr. Seuss presents three short stories, each highlighting a particular moral lesson, in this classic picture-book. In the eponymous Yertle the Turtle, that chelonian ruler attempts to make himself greater and greater by forcing his fellow turtles to pile themselves up in a great column, so that he can sit at the very top and survey his "kingdom." Like all tyrants, he is brought low again by the instability of his rule. In Gertrude McFuzz a young bird with only one feather envies a peer - the pre ...more
Samantha Penrose
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: kids-books
Be kind to others.
Be happy with yourself just the way you are. Dont try to be someone you are not. Dont be greedy.
Be humble.

I just LOVELOVELOVE this one! I cant believe that I dont own a copy!
La Coccinelle
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I must've missed this one in my childhood, because I don't remember it at all. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though, even as an adult.

Even though this book was published decades ago, the themes within the three stories it contains are still fresh and valid. In fact, I think certain politicians should read them (not that it would make much difference; they're as oblivious to their own faults as the rabbit and the bear in "The Big Brag").

The book is almost 100 pages, but it doesn't feel like it. Each
Rosemary Standeven
As always with Dr Seuss, the pictures are a delight – and worthy of 5 stars even without the accompanying great stories. In this book there are three separate stories, each with their own lesson to be learned – although, I think the ‘lessons’ taken might be different for adults than for children, and will probably differ even between adults, depending on their starting points and interests – all of which makes these stories highly flexible and fascinating.
From ‘Yertle the Turtle’, the lesson for
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Great stories by Dr. Seuss that are relevant to adults as well as children. The concepts of not making yourself better at the expense of others and the idea that you are not necessarily better than someone else or that you should be happy with who you are are fundamental lessons everyone should take to heart.

Overall, it's an engaging read that really has adult themes while still being appropriate for children. Love, love, love Dr. Seuss! We really enjoyed reading this book together. It's not our
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-tristan
***Rated by my son***
Anisha A
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My brother got this book from a book giveaway at his school. It was a very funny and good book.
When it comes to short stories, I am not an expert on how to rate the book because sometimes there are stories that you fall in love with the characters and the plot whereas others feel like nails on the chalkboard. I do not have wide range of favorite short stories so you can imagine I was a bit apprehensive when reading this book especially since this is a children's book. Rest to be sure I really enjoyed this book and it feature real-life animals which isn't typical Dr. Seuss to showcase espe ...more
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book contains three stories:

Yertle the Turtle , a story about a turtle king whose ambitions turn a little too high; Gertrude McFuzz , who is jealous of her friend's tail and gets herself into a mess because of it, and The Big Brag , a story about two animals who argue about who is best, ending with a very wise worm.


The message of these stories is to be content with what you are and have—that you are special the way you are and that there's no need to do silly things or to argue
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this collection of three stories, the theme this time seems to be about ego.

Yertle is a turtle that is the king of all he sees, one day he realises that if he was higher up he would see more and because of that he would rule over more land. so he makes a throne out of turtles and like all good leaders he abuses those at the bottom.

the next story is about some bird with a rubbish tail and who is jealous of another bird who has a pretty tail. so she hatches a plan to get a better tail with
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Nice collection of short stories from the good Doctor. Each has a little moral, but so entertaining it never feels preachy.

Katja Labonté
Yertle the Turtle:
4 stars & 4/10 hearts. This was a really good allegory about tyranny. Yertle’s desire to be the TOP OF THE TOP and higher than the moon, and his incessant screaming for the turtles to get under him and hoist him out, really made you see how stupid and unfair such behaviour is. (I learned subsequently that Yertle was a parody of Hitler.) The climax is very good.

“Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain,
But down here below, we are feeling great pain.
I know, up on top you
Mortisha Cassavetes
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
What an amazing book. It follows a Turtle King that was written from Hitler but honestly I think this cruel Turtle King could be many people in power. Standing on people regardless of their pains. I highly recommend this book to kids of all ages. In fact, adults could take more from these stories.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
so many great little lessons!
Amy the book-bat
Another story about greed. This theme pops up quite often in Dr. Seuss stories.
Chase Mason
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“Yertle the Turtle” by Dr. Seuss doesn’t seem to be, at first glance, anything more than a simple children’s narrative about a silly king who wants to climb as far as he can into the sky on the tops of other turtles. However, looking slightly deeper you see that the story is actually a relatively deep commentary about dictatorship and anti-authoritarianism

The story begins with a description of a nice little pond on the island of Sala-ma-sond, where king Yertle the Turtle lives comfortably with h
Brenda Kahn
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
We got a jump on Dr. Seuss' birthday in period Kahn today, reading The Lorax and Yertle the Turtle. ...more
Kathy Davie
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, funny, children
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories is targeted for older, more fluent young readers.

You know that I do enjoy reading books aimed at readers younger than myself…and every year those numbers keep getting bigger and bigger. Hmmm, I do feel a bit Seuss-y, so perhaps I should say, those numbers are humongouser and humongouser?

Reading Dr. Seuss is actually research on my part, as I have finally set my sights on writing the children's book I've had in mind. And…my sentences need some work. *Stop laugh
Matthew Hunter
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Seuss the revolutionary! Man Yertle the Turtle's some good stuff. I'll let the master tell his own story beginning from the point where Yertle threatens to stack thousands of turtles one on top of the other so that, from atop the stack, he can become king of everything he surveys:
But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And started to order and give the command,
That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he’d taken enough. And
Sarah Sammis
Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories has three short stories, one against fascism, one against jealousy and one against bragging. The two my kids enjoy reading most are the first and third, "Yertle the Turtle" and "The Big Brag."

Back when Theodor Geisel was working as a political cartoonist, he drew an anti Hitler cartoon showing a stack of turtles in a V-shape. The caption said "You can't build a substantial V out of turtles!" You can see it reproduced in Dr. Seuss Goes to War by by Richard H. M
Ali Tehrani
Nov 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Lisa Simpson once seriously - but hilariously - said, "And please don't deprive yourselves of wonderful books like ... 'Yertle the Turtle' -- possibly the best book ever written on the subject of turtle stacking." Ever since I saw that episode, years ago, I've wanted to read Yertle the Turtle, not so much for the sake of reading it, but to better appreciate the Simpsons joke. Well, I just read the book, and indeed my appreciation for the joke has increased.

It's a cute story about a turtle, king
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Theodor Seuss Geisel was born 2 March 1904 in Springfield, MA. He graduated Dartmouth College in 1925, and proceeded on to Oxford University with the intent of acquiring a doctorate in literature. At Oxford he met Helen Palmer, who he wed in 1927. He returned from Europe in 1927, and began working for a magazine called Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time, submitting both carto ...more

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