It’s Dr. Seuss’s 107th birthday. One of my kids went off to school today wearing a tall red and white striped hat.

As you may know already, The Cat in the Hat came about when a publisher challenged Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s real name) to write a book that six- and seven-year-olds couldn’t put down and that used no more than 225 different words. The Cat in the Hat came in at 236 words, 223 of which came from a list provided beforehand by the publisher. Which is to say, Dr. Seuss managed to use rather strict forms and guidelines to tell a story of freedom and adventure and even out-of-control exuberance. A nice little metaphor for much children’s writing.

So I’d be interested to know, what is your favorite Seuss story, and why? I’m partial to The Grinch myself.

  • Jess
    3:53 PM, 2 March 2011

    I think that I like The Cat in the Hat the best, for three reasons. One, we owned that book when I was little and I believe it was one of the first books I ever read by myself. Two, BEFORE I could read, we watched the movie, and I belly-laughed at it. I have always been partial to things that make me belly-laugh. Three, Thing One and Thing Two are my little brothers. Really.

  • Drew
    4:19 PM, 2 March 2011

    I love reading Dr. Seuss out loud to my kids. I really get into the whole rhythm of it. But I don’t care for “The Cat in the Hat” at all. There’s something really disturbing about it. It disturbed me as a child, too.
    However, I really like reading “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and both of the Horton books. “An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”

  • Jess
    4:33 PM, 2 March 2011

    Oh, I forgot One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. That’s another of my favorites (another one we owned when I was younger). 🙂

  • Hannah
    4:33 PM, 2 March 2011

    I always liked all the Seuss books, especially the pictures, but the only one (other than the Cat in the Hat–love that one) that I really remember the name of was The Foot Book, and now that I think about it, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, is another one. I like them all. 🙂

  • Patrick
    5:06 PM, 2 March 2011

    Green Eggs & Ham was my first Seuss book and is my all time favorite. All of that protest to not try something, assuming it would be awful, only to discover in the end how wonderful it is.
    Other favorites: My Many Colored Days; Horton Hears a Who (“A person’s a person no matter how small”); and What Was I Scared of? (with the “spooky pale green pants with nobody inside them”)… and now I’m just wanting to quote funny lines, and talk in rhymes, while eating limes…

    “Stop rhyming! I mean it!”

    “Anybody want a peanut?” (I know my favorite movie wasn’t written by Dr. Seuss)

  • Hannah
    5:36 PM, 2 March 2011

    Patrick–do you have six fingers on your right hand??? 😉

  • Janna
    7:10 PM, 2 March 2011

    Oh, the places you’ll go. Talk about a book for life – sheesh!

  • Amy
    8:49 PM, 2 March 2011

    I still have my childhood copy of McElligot’s Pool. I love books with yellowed pages.

  • Dryad
    11:43 PM, 2 March 2011

    Oh Say Can You Say—Said a book-reading parrot named Hewie,
    “The words in this book are all phooey.
    If you say them your lips
    will do trips and back-flips
    and your tongue may end up in Saint Louis!”

    Apologies for any misspellings; I always remember the words out loud.

  • Canaan Bound
    5:59 AM, 3 March 2011

    There are simply too many Seuss/LeSieg/Geisel books that I adore. And I’m tired, so I’ll just list my top favorites.
    What Was I Scared Of? – In an unforseen twist of plot, the main character learns an important lesson about fear.

    Green Eggs and Ham – Encourages little ones to be brave and try new things.

    Yertle the Turtle – The King of the pond is humbled.

    Last summer, I was priviledged to see some of his earlier work – political cartoons – at the Holocaust Museum in Houston, TX. Good stuff.

  • Kristen
    3:29 PM, 3 March 2011

    My all-time favorite Seuss book is The Sneetches and Other Stories, particularly What Was I Scared Of? (What’s not to like about a tale of haunted, pale green pants with nobody inside ’em?)

  • Drew
    4:02 PM, 3 March 2011

    I love the story about the pants with nobody inside ’em. It used to seriously freak out my kids. I haven’t read it to them in awhile. I should see if it still has that power. 🙂

  • Kenny Clark
    6:18 PM, 3 March 2011

    I’ve always loved Yertle the Turtle. And not just because it was the first children’s book I ever read where someone burped (scandalous!). I love the vivid picture of the arrogant being humbled.
    “And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he/Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.”

    We have been preaching through Isaiah for the past year at our church and Yertle the Turtle is reminiscent of passages like this one from Isaiah 14.

    You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven;
    above the stars of God
    I will set my throne on high;
    I will sit on the mount of assembly
    in the far reaches of the north;
    I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.’
    But you are brought down to Sheol,
    to the far reaches of the pit.”

    I also like that all his pomp and bluster is brought down by a lowly turtle named Mack. Reminds me of another tyrant whose rule was destroyed by sone who “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”

  • BuckBuck the Nordic Wonderduck
    6:18 PM, 3 March 2011

    Yes. The pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them. Definitely.

  • EmmaJ
    6:41 PM, 3 March 2011

    A few days ago I happened upon the ultimate combo. Could “Oh Say, Can You Say?” get any better? Yes… when read aloud by an uber-confident two year old.

  • EmmaJ
    6:43 PM, 3 March 2011

    Eh hem. Allow me to put “read” in quotation marks.

  • Dryad
    9:21 PM, 3 March 2011

    EmmaJ, the mental images are adorable.

  • Mark Geil
    2:07 PM, 4 March 2011

    It just occurred to me that I could tell much of my life history through Dr. Seuss books. A few snapshots:
    Green Eggs and Ham, read aloud to me by a dear elementary school teacher who was good at reading aloud, the same teacher who let us play April Fools pranks on the class next door.

    Oh The Places You’ll Go, read at my big brother’s high school graduation. The book in that setting is a little cliche now, but I did not know it existed, and I was a dreamer.

    The Foot Book, read to our first child Sarah so many times I can still recite most of it.

    Hop on Pop, a favorite of our now three daughters, who took the title quite literally

    Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, read, or at least started, by my wonderful father to his adoring granddaughters. He struggled a bit through the rhymes and repetition before putting the book down and declaring, through the creased face of a retired farmer-turned-self-made-engineer, “That’s just silliness.”

    Bartholomew and the Oobleck, discussed just yesterday by my now 13-year-old middle daughter and her friends, who giggled and giggled at the very sound of the word oobleck.

  • Laura Peterson
    4:47 PM, 6 March 2011

    “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.”
    I do love trees.

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