05 Jun 2010

Thoughts on Dr. Seuss

Children's Literature 8 Comments

* Although in many respects The Cat in the Hat is his classic work, I can’t help but feel that he spent too much time on plot development and not enough on the internal cadence. It was no One fish two fish red fish blue fish, that’s for sure.

* Speaking of the Cat (the one in the hat, in case you were unclear), how do we feel about him? Was he really reckless in the beginning–dropping the fish in the pot, and sinking the ship into the cake, etc.–only because he knew his special car would clean everything up? Or did those kids just get lucky? Let me put it this way: Would you let the Cat in the Hat do your taxes? On the one hand, you don’t want to be that guy in the story, who can only think about the downside to having Thing One and Thing Two running around the house. But on the other hand, it’s a Cat. In a Hat. And oh dear something is wrong with that.

* Does Seuss have an MD or a PhD? I can’t decide which I would prefer.

* It’s not so much that I care why the hand in Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! is normal-sized on the first page, and ginormous on the second-last page. What I would like to know, is whether Dr. Seuss could give me a reason. If I asked him, would he say, “Oh, it’s because Marvin’s vision was being influenced by the hostility, and so he perceived the hand as ginormous when there was anger, but once Marvin decided to leave–choosing to walk, even though he had been offered numerous interesting options throughout the book–there was no more conflict, and so he perceived the hand as normal-sized once again.” OR would Dr. Seuss say, “What the heck are you talking about? Lemme see that. Hmm, I guess you’re right, I drew the hand way too big in that frame.” ?

I would be crushed if it were the latter.

8 Responses to “Thoughts on Dr. Seuss”

  1. Ash Navabi says:

    I once heard that Seuss was supposed to rhyme with ‘rejoice’. This is the closest I have for proof


  2. Bob Murphy's Love Child says:


    Can I get a hit of that stuff?

  3. Lucas M. Engelhardt says:

    That’s a good question… Perhaps The Cat in the Hat is a story about moral hazard… I may have to get a copy so I can read it to my Principles students.

  4. Andrea says:

    You just turned me Inside, Outside, Upside Down.

  5. Andrew Smith says:

    This is a perfect example of why you are cooler than Krugman. If he analyzed Dr. Seuss, he would have been criticizing the market for producing green eggs and ham and calling for the mayor of Whoville to set up a food inspection bureau.

  6. Daniel Hewitt says:

    They are all fun books to read except for one. Ever been through the torture of reading Fox In Socks?

  7. Mark Addleman says:

    Tangentially, I’ve thought that Yertle the Turtle is an great libertarian work

  8. bestquest says:

    Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose is all about the welfare state, I think. In the end, the socioeconomic parasites who victimize the productive Thidwick end up dead and the children to whom the book is read end up cheering.