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You're Only Old Once

March 28, 2011

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

You're Only Old Once is told in classic Seuss rhyme, tackling the topic of aging in a funny, irreverent way. The old man in the book is poked and prodded by various specialists with funny instruments and little regard for the patient's dignity. It is a book that children will enjoy but the real target audience is adults, particular those facing age with a sense of humor.

This was one Dr. Seuss's last books, published in 1986. The print version was subtitled, "A Book for Obsolete Children" and this is an apt description. It is a whimsical take on getting old with an emphasis on the the medical testing we can all look forward to if our health is good enough to live into old age. It would be an ideal title to share with a grandparent - the child will enjoy it because it's Dr. Seuss while the older adult will relate. The pages about all the pills one takes as they age was one of my favorites - I could imagine the aging Geisel reflecting on his own older years as he wrote this lyrical title.

For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is narrated. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode. Although each page is essentially a still image, many pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each segment of text, a nice semi-animated style.  The digital iPad/iPhone versions of Dr. Seuss books have no real animation, although most of the items pictured in the story react to a light tap with a visual image of the word with accompanying audio (for example, tap on a cactus and the word "cactus" appears with audio saying “cactus”).

Ultimately the book's message is that after all the indignities of medical testing, filling out forms, taking pills and being inspected from head to toe, growing older requires a sense of humor. After all, "you're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in!"

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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You're Only Old Once

March 28, 2011

By: Carisa Kluver

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Dr. Seuss

Oceanhouse Media

Length (time):
12 - 20 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: No

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 6 - 100 +

English •

Length (pages):
50 Pages


Story Synopsis - You're Only Old Once

"You're Only Old Once! (Subtitled: A Book for Obsolete Children) is a 1986 picture book for adults by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). Released on Geisel's eighty-second birthday, the book follows an elderly man on a visit to the Golden Years Clinic, where he endures long waits and bizarre medical tests. You're Only Old Once was written shortly after Geisel had suffered through a series of illnesses, during which he spent a considerable amount of time in hospital waiting rooms. To pass the time, he began sketching images of hospital machines and scenes of medical procedures. He later began to work those ideas into a book. Geisel quipped that he was "fed up with a social life consisting entirely of doctors". You're Only Old Once was Seuss's first adult book since The Seven Lady Godivas was published in 1939. The Seven Lady Godivas sold fewer than 500 copies when it was first released, but You're Only Old Once reached Number One on the New York Times Best Sellers List, and remained on the list for over 60 weeks." [Source: Wikipedia]


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read Myself, AutoPlay, Sound Effects On/Off

App Release Date:


Size: 16.4 MB

Version: 1.08

Lite Version Available: No



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