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Literature / McElligot's Pool

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McElligot's Pool is a 1947 picture book by Dr. Seuss.

A farmer laughs at Marco's attempt to catch fish in small, messy McElligot's Pool, but the boy's imagination and hopefulness refuse to be squelched.

This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • A Head at Each End: Marco imagines an eel that looks like this.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: Some of the fish Marco imagines have bizarre ways of getting from place to place. There are fish with built-in sails or propellers. One fish can ski down underwater slopes. There are even Tibetan fish who jump off steep waterfalls and parachute down to the river below.
  • Book Ends: The book begins and ends with the farmer and Marco sitting by McElligot's pool, but the farmer's attitude changes from smug to wondering from the opening to the closing.
  • Fishing for Sole: The farmer tells Marco he won't catch any fish in the pool, but he might catch people's garbage, given how many people throw things in there.
  • Imagine Spot: Almost the whole book is Marco daydreaming about the wondrous fish he could catch.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: A couple of the fish are punnily named.
    • The boy dreams about a dogfish (a fish with the head of a dog) chasing a school of catfish (a school of fish with the head of cats) to McElligot's Pool.
    • He also suggests he might land a sea horse (a fish with the head of a horse).
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Many of the fish are basically mermaids, but with the upper bodies of non-human animals.