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Book Review: The Sneetches By Dr. Seuss
The Story of the Sneetches
The Sneetches are a group of yellow bird-like creatures that live on a beach in a far away land. And on this beach there are two types of Sneetches: One type with green stars on their bellies and one type without. The Sneetches that do not have green stars on their bellies were always looked down upon by the Green-Star-Bellied Sneetches, as it was very fashionable to have green stars on one's belly. The Sneetches without green stars on their bellies were very saddened by this as they very much wanted to be a part of the "in-crowd" and wanted to be liked by everyone, especially by the Green-Star-Bellied Sneetches, but it was just not possible...
That was until one day, a "fix-it-up chappie" named Sylvester McMonkey McBean shows up and offers to the discontented star-less Sneetches a solution: For only three-dollars he will allow each of them to venture through his "Star-On" machine. Sylvester McMonkey McBean's "Star-On" machine was quickly a huge success and in no time at all, the star-less Sneetches were no longer star-less, because they were finally happy with how they looked! But this did not go over so well with the original Green-Star-Bellied Sneetches because they could no longer discriminate against the once star-less Sneetches who were now looked exactly like them! So just when they were stumped on what to do, Sylvester McMonkey McBean offers to go through his "Star-Off" machine for a paltry ten dollars and so, the Sneetches who originally had green stars on their bellies comply and venture through McBean's second and newer machine.
However, here arose another problem: Being that McBean had no problem letting any of the Sneetches through his newest machine--originally starred Sneetches or not--so long as they paid him. In essence, McBean allows even the recently starred Sneetches through and this further escalates more and more as all the Sneetches are running back and forth between his first machine to his second, newer machine:
Sylvester McMonkey McBean's Star-On Machine
"...until neither the Plain nor Star-Bellies knew
whether this one was that one or that one was this one
or which one was what one...or what one was who."
This goes on until all of the Sneetches on the beach are flat-broke and Sylvester McMonkey McBean is rich and so leaves while laughing at the absolute silliness he observed by all the Sneetches. McBean shakes his head and concedes, "You can't teach a Sneetch." But in spite of this, the Sneetches do learn from this experience and all the Sneetches come to realize that neither green-starred bellied Sneetches nor star-less bellied Sneetches were superior and so were all the same as they were ALL SNEETCHES, no matter what. It is because of this that they are all able to become friends and coexist peacefully with one another.
The Moral of the Story
I absolutely enjoyed this book as a kid and as an adult. It is my firm belief that this is truly one of the most important books to ever be published, including Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree because of the valuable lessons it continually teaches us. I'm overwhelmed by the power of what just a few colorful pictures and letters bound together by cardboard can do...By the way, did I mention that I like books? Please take the time to look at my other review of The Giving Tree at your convenience!
There are many factors involved when reading The Sneetches. Obviously, an adult should read this book with a broader view on certain topics not up to but including racism, materialism, imperialism and diplomacy. What Seuss' Sneetches teach us is that whether or not green stars are on their bellies or not is rather a silly reason to mistreat or disenfranchise other Sneetches who don't have such things. The way in which the Green-starred Sneetches carried themselves with their chins in the air and their uppity-attitude is the much the same way in which those who think they are more "privileged" than others carry themselves.
What Seuss is teaching us is that it is silly to make such irrelevant fusses about trivial things because we are all components of the human race. Think of the period of the New Immigrants in America that bought over the massive wave of Irish, or the Jim Crow laws of the Twentieth Century and the Japanese Internment Camps during the Second World War. Speaking of which, what about the Holocaust? In my religion, I learned that "Hate only breeds more Hate and that Love only breeds more Love. So since The Sneetches is in fact a children's book that normally should be read to and given to children by parents, doesn't it make sense that parents should share this book with their children? Shouldn't Dr. Seuss' message be conveyed to the tender minds of children? I believe so and I hope you do too. Thank you so much for letting me share this with you.
- Agency of NATO and United Nations to Distribute Dr. Seuss Stories to Foster Racial Tolerance in War-
Agency of NATO and United Nations to Distribute Dr. Seuss Stories to Foster Racial Tolerance in War-Torn Bosnia from Business Wire provided by Find Articles at BNET
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