Here is the digest version:
The story opens with Mom and Dad laboring industriously and Sam and Sue loafing about doing nothing useful until a funny fellow arrives to whip the kids into shape.
Handy-Dandy Helpful Hal,shows up to turn the kids out of their hammocks and onto some useful tasks, lest they turn into Gluggs:
The Pooped-Out Parents' Perfect Pal
With all this lying 'roung like slugsHandy-Dandy Helpful Hal teaches the kids to clean their rooms and make their beds (the parents are so surprised!). The kids feed the pets and take out the trash and help with the dishes and wash the car and rake the yard.
I'm sure you'll both turn into Gluggs.
I'm sure you've heard of Gluggs before?
All they do is eat and snore --
Giant things, all green and chubby . . .
Say there, Sam, you're getting tubby.
Thank you, Helpful Hal, [he] said.
You've taught our kids to make their bed,
You showed them to to feed the cat,
And how to wash the car in fact!
You showed them how to fold their clothes,
And on and on your helping goes.
Our children really enjoyed the book. The rhyming is fun and the Gluggs are green and blechy-looking and so forth. Yet the next morning when we were talking about it, we wondered -- since the parents weren't doing their jobs of training the kids -- why the kids should have to learn to do their jobs from a stranger. A good question I think.
Isn't teaching the kids our jobs? And if we neglect our main duty, training, is it any surprise that our children will neglect their duties?
:: things I need to remember