Monday, April 29, 2013

The One About Y - Yertle the Turtle

Is this seriously the first appearance of Dr. Seuss on my list?  Shame on me!  How can that be?!

Well, I love me some Dr. Seuss.  I mean, who doesn't?  Especially in 1st Grade.  He's an icon.  The kids love him as much as I do.  We have Dr. Seuss Day and a week full of themed activities.  It's about time he joined the list.

"Yertle the Turtle" is actually just one story in the book Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories.  However, it is the first of the three stories and my favorite by far.  Although "Gertrude McFuzz" comes in as a close second; but we're not here to discuss Gertrude.  

Oh King Yertle.  The power hungry, social climbing, greedy, and selfish turtle king.  He is not a nice man.  He literally steps all over anyone and everyone he can to elevate himself (again, literally) above everyone around him.  However, he quickly learns that a tower made of oppressed turtles is not stable, especially when the base turtle burps.

Like many of Dr. Seuss' stories, there is such a powerful lesson to be learned here.  No one, or turtle for that matter, is any better than anyone else.  We should not use others to get what we want.  Be content with what you have.  I'm sure there are others, but these three are the ones I always cover when I read this.  Obviously it is read and included as a part of my Dr. Seuss unit.  Every year the kids love Yertle.  They enjoy seeing him get his comeuppance.  Plus it mentions burping and, let's face it, when you're 6/7 burping makes any story exponentially better!

I also have a cute activity where the kids state whether or not Yertle was a good kind and why.  They then make a turtle and past their writings on the shell.  Super cute, fun, and easy.  They always hang on our bulletin board out in the hallway for all to see.

So, what about you?  Are you familiar with Yertle?  What do you think?  How do you include his cautionary tale in your classroom?  Can you believe it took 25 letters to get Dr. Seuss on the list?

Thanks for hopping by!       


  1. Yertle The Turtle was one of the first books That I ever owned. It was a gift from my parents and one of many nice books That they have gifted me and others in my family over the years. Love your posts on the books!

    1. What a great memory to attach to the book! Thanks so much, I had a great time sharing!