July 2, 2006

If the book's short enough.

The free sample is the whole book. And -- best of all -- it's Dr. Seuss.

ADDED: Seussian politics:
Think of left! And think about Beft. Why is it that Beft always go to the left? And why is it so many things go to the right? You can think about that until Saturday night. Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am sure we are all waiting for your analysis that Dr. Seuss was really a conservative.

Do you have any idea how he would feel about torture, or George Bush?

George W. Bush will you please go now * The Lorax (1971), though told in full-tilt Seussian style, strikes many readers as fundamentally an environmentalist tract. It is the tale of a ruthless and greedy industrialist (the "Once-ler") who so thoroughly destroys the local environment that he ultimately puts his own company out of business. The book is striking for being told from the viewpoint (generally bitter, self-hating, and remorseful) of the Once-ler himself. In 1989, an effort was made by lumbering interests in Laytonville, California to have the book banned from local school libraries, on the grounds that it was unfair to the lumber industry.

* The Sneetches (1961) is commonly seen as a satirization of racial discrimination.

* The Butter Battle Book (1984) written in Seuss's old age, is both a parody and denunciation of the nuclear arms race.

* The Zax can be seen as a parody of all political hardliners.

* Yertle the Turtle (1958) is often interpreted as an allegory of tyranny. It can also be applied to political activism, making the statement that even one single act of resistance by a single individual can topple a corrupt system.

* Shortly before the end of the Watergate scandal, Geisel also converted one of his famous children's books into a polemic. "Richard M. Nixon, Will You Please Go Now!" was published in major newspapers through the column of his friend Art Buchwald. Nine days later, Nixon went.

* Seuss's personal values also are apparent in the much earlier How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), which can be taken (partly) as a polemic against materialism. The Grinch thinks he can steal Christmas from the Whos by stealing all the Christmas gifts and decorations, and attains a kind of enlightenment when the Whos prove him wrong.

* Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose (1948) is often considered to be making a statement about hunting.

* Horton Hears a Who! is said to be a response to the atomic bomb. While the line from the book "A person is a person, no matter how small" has been used as rhetoric against abortion rights, Seuss himself had threatened to sue an anti-abortion group for their use of the phrase, and has attracted sharp criticism from his widow, herself strongly pro-choice. A lawsuit was filed in Canada in 2001 on this issue.

Troy said...

I agree... Seuss was liberal. His books were long-winded, repetetive and moralistic on a grade school level.

Ann Althouse said...

It's well known that Dr. Seuss identified himself as a liberal, but it's also pretty clear that he's against political extremes and diviseness. What I like about the passage I quoted is that its charming expression of bemusement about how people skew left and right.

Joan said...

The Thinks You Can Think was one of my kids' favorites. We're in a Seussian lull right now, which appreciate. I expect we'll be back in the thick of Seuss when school starts up again and my youngest has to do reading every day.

Ann Althouse said...

It's incredibly wonderful to hear your own kids read Seuss aloud. Listening to the linked recording of "One Fish, Two Fish," I could still hear my own sons' babyish voices doing those lines.

al said...

Seuss was, well still is, a family favorite. Both of my kids grew up being read to and then reading from his books.

My oldest (20) still loves to read them.

Anonymous said...

....And my oldest son still riffs on Dr Seuss lines, but now in his cynical 6th grade way. I, too, can hear those babyish voices and miss them. Thanks, Ann, for a funny and charming post.