Top 5 Dr. Seuss Books
Dr. Seuss is an acclaimed writer and cartoonist. He is well-known for his imaginative stories with outlandish creatures. Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, and the Whos... these are just a few of Dr. Seuss' beloved characters.
I like the way Dr. Seuss puts meaning and significance in his stories. There are countless lessons to be learned from him. So I have compiled a list of my Top 5 Dr. Seuss Books:
- Oh, The Thinks You Can Think
- Gertrude McFuzz
- The Sneetches
- The Lorax
- Green Eggs and Ham
Oh, The Thinks You Can Think
"Oh, the thinks you can think if you're willing to try."
Oh, The Thinks You Can Think is a book about setting your mind free. It explores unimagined possibilities and encourages one to "think out of the box".
I remember one time I showed a child's drawing of a psychedelic elephant to this little girl I was tutoring and she told me that it was not "nice". When I asked her why she thought so, she told me that it was not gray and when her teacher in school says to color "nicely", it means it should always be the "correct" color. Elephants must be gray, trees must be brown and green, the sun must be yellow. Of course, there's nothing wrong with using real-life colors, but to stifle the imagination of a 5-year old child by confining it to what's "real" hardly seems beneficial to the child.
I read this little girl Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Thinks You Can Think and she looked at the book as if it were some strange artifact from another galaxy. If only it had been. Wouldn't that have been exciting? :-)
Gertrude is a bird with a one-feather tail. And she was so jealous of the other birds who had lots of feathers in their tails. So she finds a way to make her tail grow, but then she realizes that her one-feather tail is just right for her kind of bird.
Gertrude McFuzz is a story about acceptance of oneself. While Gertrude lamented her one-feather tail, some of us complain that we're too fat, too short, too flat-chested, too this, too that, and never just right. So we go about trying to change ourselves. If only we'd realize that we are "just right" the way we are, there'd be much less frustration.
There were two types of sneetches - one with stars on their bellies and one without. The star-bellied sneetches felt that they were superior to the ones without stars, and they excluded the sneetches without stars from everything. In the end, both sneetches accepted each other regardless of whether they had stars or not. But it took one sly Sylvester McMonkey McBean.
The Sneetches is about accepting others regardless of race, status, etc. It made me think about all the stupid things we sometimes do when we start thinking that we're superior to others. In the end, we are all the same.
If you're a Science teacher, you might want to use this book. The Lorax is about the ecosystem - how one component affects the other. The story starts by showing us rows and rows of Truffula trees with the softest tufts, and brown Bar-ba-loots (bear-like creatures) playing in their shade and eating the Truffula fruits. There are humming fish swimming in the lakes, and Swomee swans that sing all day.
Then the Once-ler arrives and cuts down a Truffula tree to make into a Thneed - sort of like a sweater overall - which he sold to a man. Then he cuts down another Truffula tree unmindful of the Lorax's admonitions. (The Lorax "speaks for the trees for they cannot speak.") Pretty soon the Once-ler is chopping down Truffula trees left and right, making them into Thneeds which he sells for money until there are no more trees left to cut. What happens to the Bar-ba-loots and humming fish and Swomee swans shows what happens when man interferes with the balance of nature.
The story ends on a light note, however, as there is one Truffula seed left. The Once-ler gives it to a little boy and tells him to plant it. As my 5-year old niece says, "Trees are for planting, not cutting."
Green Eggs and Ham
"I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam I Am!
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere!"
Again and again, Sam I Am tries to persuade this odd looking yellow fellow to eat the green eggs and ham, and every time he gets this same answer.
When I read Green Eggs and Ham, I thought of how I tend to reject new or unfamiliar things, situations, etc., just like ham and eggs that are not the usual color. This book reminded me to be more open, to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while, and to grow. It might not be so bad, you know. :-)
(Okay, so I'm not good at rhymes. I'll leave that to Dr. Seuss next time. Hehe... :-D)