ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Atlanta usually doesn't get much snow, but it got a couple of inches this week and there was havoc. People were stranded at schools and on highways. There was also plenty of finger pointing. Well, here to bring a literary perspective to the situation is author Lev Grossman.
LEV GROSSMAN: I'm from New England so I'm always a little gleeful when other people feel the winter misery I grew up with, but it also reminds me of a work of literature which is the utmost authority on unexpected precipitation. I speak, of course, of "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" by Dr. Seuss. The book is set in the Kingdom of Didd, where King Derwin is bored with the available weather options.
He wants something new. So he summons his magicians, who offer to call down from the sky something called oobleck: Won't look like rain. Won't look like snow. Won't look like fog. That's all we know. We just can't tell you anymore. We've never made oobleck before.
Oobleck turns out to be a sticky green goo. It gums up the bell in the bell tower and the birds, and the royal trumpet. It's gross. So Bartholomew, the wise page boy, tells everybody to go back to bed, which is always good advice, but nobody listens, and the citizens of Didd end up getting covered in oobleck.
King Derwin even gets stuck to his own throne. Bartholomew tells him that in order to fix things, he just has to say I'm sorry, which he eventually does. And then, Seuss writes, all the oobleck that was stuck on all the people and on all the animals of the Kingdom of Didd just simply, quietly melted away.
Unfortunately in the kingdom of Atlanta, no one could agree on who should apologize and the snow probably wouldn't have just disappeared the way oobleck does. Life isn't always as simple as it is in Dr. Seuss. But they might try saying sorry anyway. It couldn't hurt and you never know.
SIEGEL: This week's must-read is "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" by Dr. Seuss. It was recommended by Lev Grossman. His new novel, "The Magician's Land," comes out in August.
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