Who knows what fantastic fish might swim in McElligot's Pool!
In this colorful picture book, a boy named Marco goes fishing in a small pond called McElligot's Pool. As he sits waiting for a bite, a farmer calls him a fool and says "You'll never catch fish in McElligot's Pool!" Marco, however, refuses to be discouraged and spends the rest of the story describing all the fish that could be coming to McElligot's Pool from the ocean. The story ends with Marco still fishing and the farmer scratching his beard and looking confused. The use of color and illustrations blur the line between fantasy and reality during Marco's story, creating one of the most interesting aspects of the book. The text is made up of catchy rhymes and intriguing fish descriptions. The pictures complement the text and make the fish descriptions seem real. Interestingly, Seuss illustrates every other page in black and white. At the beginning of the story when Marco sits by the pond, the black and white emphasizes the concrete reality of the Marco talking to the farmer. After page one, every other page is in color. The color magnifies Marco's fantasy about all of the fish, making them seem beautiful and real. At the same time, the black and white pages make Marco's fish descriptions seem realistic. Seuss's use of the black-and-white pictures during Marco's whimsical descriptions in the text could be his way of toning down the fantasy and bringing it into the context of every day life. The use of color to blend reality and fantasy also emphasizes optimism in the story. The farmer was probably right in telling Marco that he will "never catch fish in McElligot's Pool." With the clever use of color and illustrations, however, Dr. Seuss undermines the fisherman's certainty and makesMarco's claim that there might be fish in McElligot's Pool believable. McElligot's Pool sends the message that life is not always as it seems.