Book Review Monday: Morris Has A Cold

Morris cover001Morris has a Cold
by Bernard Wiseman (1977)

Morris Has a Cold is one of several tales of an unlikely friendship between a moose and a bear. On a recent vacation to the grandparent’s, our boy discovered this book, and it makes his Gran crazy. This surprised me because I remember these stories so fondly.

Having read Morris has a Cold for the child on the night of his return, I get it. It is a maddening tale of poor communication and unlikely circumstances.

Basically, Boris spends almost the entirety of this story in various degrees of rage and frustration, much like many of the adult readers, responding to the oblivious Morris, who plays his role as Captain Literal to a tee. One can’t entirely blame him. He is a moose.

Morris bed003

Presumably, being a moose, Morris has neither slept in nor seen a bed. Telling him that a bed has four legs does not narrow down his experience of the natural world very much. Still, I don’t believe for a minute that cat would allow itself to be picked up by a moose (there’s a sick joke in there somewhere).

I guess when you have suspended your disbelief that a moose and bear are friends, and they speak the same language, you are expected to swallow any flavor of nonsense, like a bear could or would nurse a moose through the common cold using only materials found in the town dump, which is apparently located in a giant litter box.* Or that Morris the Moose and Boris the Bear would remain friends after so many frustrating experiences, as recorded in this account, not to mention their relative positions on the food chain. Or that a moose has a donkey tail. (Seriously, what the hell is that?)

All of these stories should end with, “And then Boris ate Morris.”**

Morris Boris Rage004

The inevitable result of a mixed relationship between predator and prey.

*my son now wants to go to the town dump.

**of course, this would have turned this series into a stand-alone story. And now that I think of it, they could just as easily end with “And then Morris trampled Boris to death.” Also, now that I think on it a bit more, I think I now view the “Morris and Borris” series as the tale of a long-devoted married couple. It just makes more sense.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    Kids are rarely the smartest person in the room.
    Until they read/hear this story.
    It may give them a little boost of confidence.

  2. busterggi says

    Even back in ’77 it was well known that moose hung with squirrels, not bears.