I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

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I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew.jpg
Author Dr. Seuss
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Random House
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover and paperback)
OCLC 1425583
Preceded by Fox in Socks
Followed by The Cat in the Hat Song Book

I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew is a 1965 children's book by Dr. Seuss. The story features classic Seuss rhymes and drawings in his distinctive pen and ink style.

The book[edit]

Solla Sollew is an Odyssey-tale told in the first person by a young narrator who experiences troubles in his life (mostly aggressive small animals that bite and sting) and wishes to escape them. He sets out for the city of Solla Sollew ("where they never have troubles / at least very few") and learns that he must face his problems instead of running away from them. He then goes back home to deal with his "troubles," arming himself with a big bat and resolving that "Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

The journey includes several fantastic encounters, some with mild political implications. In one instance, the protagonist is forced to haul a wagon for a bossy companion. ("'This is called teamwork. I furnish the brains. You furnish the muscles, the aches and the pains.'") In another scene, he is drafted into the army under the command of the fearsome (and, ultimately, cowardly) General Genghis Kahn Schmitz, who abandons him at a critical moment.


As the story opens, the young protagonist (resembling a cat or dog) lives a happy and carefree life in the Valley of Vung, but one day, all that changes when he goes out for a stroll to look at daisies and, as he wasn't watching where he was going, hurts himself by tripping over a rock, which sets off the troubles he will soon face. The protagonist vows to be more careful and watch where he walks, but a green-headed Quilligan Quail bites his tail from behind ("I learned there are troubles of more than one kind; Some come from ahead and some come from behind"). So then he vows to be twice as careful by aiming his eyeballs in different directions, but then a Skritz dives to sting his neck and a Skrink bites his toe, proving that troubles can come from all directions, ahead, behind, even above and below.

As the protagonist tries to fight off his troubles, a man on a One Wheeler Wubble drawn by a camel comes up and explains that like the protagonist, he too is experiencing a troubled life and has decided to escape his troubles by going to Solla Sollew, a city on the beautiful banks of the river Wah-Hoo, and known to never have troubles (at least very few). He invites the protagonist to come along with him. Eager to escape his troubles, the protagonist joins the wubble driver and soon finds himself enduring an uncomfortably long and bumpy ride. The wubble driver promises by sunrise next morning they'll reach their destination, but after a long night of traveling, not only are they nowhere near Solla Sollew, but the camel gets sick and starts to bubble. At first, the driver and protagonist pull him on the wubble, but for the rest of the day, the driver acts lazy and has the protagonist do all the hard work.

The next day they thankfully discover a camel doctor, Dr. Sam Snell, who diagnoses their camel with a bad case of gleeks and orders him to bed for twenty weeks. The driver makes it up to the protagonist by telling him he can catch a special Happy Way Bus bound for Solla Sollew at 4:42 from a nearby bus stop, but when the protagonist gets to the bus stop, he finds out the 4:42 Solla Sollew bound bus is out of service (the driver, Butch Myers, had punctured all his tires from accidentally driving over four nails), leaving him to hike for one hundred miles. Soon, the poor protagonist is caught in a storm. A kindly stranger in a raincoat tells him the storm is "The Midwinter Jicker" and allows the protagonist to take shelter in his house while he escapes to spend time at his grandfather's house in Palm Springs. Trouble is, a family of owls and a family of mice are also taking shelter in the same house.

After a sleepless night and then finally dreaming of sleeping in Solla Sollew, the protagonist awakens to find that the flood-waters have washed the house over a cliff, with him still inside. He spends twelve days in the flood-waters, until somebody rescues him by throwing down a rope. The protagonist climbs the rope, only to discover that his saviour is none other than General Genghis Kahn Schmitz, who immediately drafts him into his army for an upcoming battle against the Perilous Poozer of Pompelmoose Pass. At the pass, the General discovers he and his army are outnumbered by too many Poozers and orders an immediate retreat without fighting, leaving the protagonist to face the Poozers alone, armed only with "a shooter and one little bean".

The protagonist manages to escape the Poozers by diving down an air vent, but has to spend the next three days trying to find his way through a network of tunnels inhabited by birds, all going in the wrong direction. Close to the end of the third day, he finally finds a door and discovers he's come out at the beautiful banks of the river Wah-Hoo. Realizing he's reached his goal, the protagonist rushes out to Solla Sollew.

At the gates of Solla Sollew, the protagonist is greeted by a friendly doorman. The doorman explains to the protagonist about the most recent trouble the city has acquired: a key-slapping slippard has moved into the lock of the door, which happens to be the only way into Solla Sollew, and bugs the doorman by continuously slapping the key out of his hand. As it's considered bad luck to kill a slippard, the doorman cannot do anything to evict this pest, but decides instead to leave Solla Sollew for the city of Boola Boo Ball, on the banks of the beautiful river Woo-Wall, and known to never have troubles ("No troubles at all!!") and invites the protagonist to come along.

At first, it looks to the reader like the protagonist will join the doorman, but realizing that he's come all this way for nothing, the protagonist, instead, decides to go back home to the Valley of Vung and face his troubles. He now knows he will have troubles for the rest of his life, but he's ready for them. Armed with a bat, the Protagonist now gives the rocks, quail, skritz, and skrink troubles of their own ("But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!").

In Seussical[edit]

In Seussical, the character of General Genghis Khan Schmitz makes an appearance as a minor character. He introduces Jojo to the military school in song. This sets up a subplot concerning Jojo in which he is thought to be lost in battle. The character of Schmitz in the play is a cross between the Schmitz seen in the book and the unnamed generals in the Butter Battle Book.

Solla Sollew is the subject of a song in which the main characters yearn for a happy resolution to their problems. It is referred to as "a faraway land, so the stories all tell / somewhere beyond the horizon." It is said that "troubles there are few" and that "maybe it's something like heaven."

Solla Sollew, in the story and in Seussical, is believed to be a place of hope and wonder, where "breezes are warm" and "people are kind." It is a dream of the characters to find this incredible place, where they will find each other and be happy once and for all.

In this part of the show, Horton the Elephant has been auctioned off to the circus and has just been told by Mayzie that the egg in which she asked him to sit on for one afternoon, but he has actually sat on it for "fifty-one weeks" now belongs to him. Horton is then worried about all of the people in Who-ville, the world on a dustspeck he found. He is worried about all of the people, and especially his friend JoJo, who is off at military school, and his parents are back home, yearning to see their son again. The song established a connection between these characters, as they all were in bad situations.

Mr. Hoober-Bloob[edit]

The former doorman of Solla Sollew later appeared in the 1975 TV Special The Hoober-Bloob Highway as Mr. Hoober-Bloob, the dispatcher. Mr. Hoober-Bloob was voiced by Bob Holt.