Dr Seuss – a little bit of nonsense and a fair bit of wisdom

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities”.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (2/3/1904 – 24/9/1991), also known as “Dr Seuss“, published 46 children’s books during his lifetime, and his work has inspired 11 television specials, 4 feature films, a Broadway musical and four television series.

He claimed to have adopted the name Dr Seuss so that he could save his real name for the Great American novel he would one day write, but that may have been untrue. He was always more interested in telling a good story to the media than a true one.

While his books are always highly imaginative, and with whimsical rhyming (in anapaestic tetrameter), they often also touch on significant themes.

” With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort,
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”

Prejudice, stereotyping and snobbery in “The Sneetches”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Bullying, prejudice and environmentalism in “The Lorax”.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small”.

Prejudice, intolerance and the “mob” mentality in “Horton Hears a Who!”

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes,
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own and you know what you know,
And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go”.

One of my favourites is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, his last book published before he died. While it’s fun and fanciful, it’s also honest and inspiring and reads like he was passing on a special wisdom about life as he neared the end of his own.

It has been an absolute joy reading these books, which I loved so much as a child, to Zali and watching her fall in love with them, too.

The pair of us recently also stumbled across a wonderful Dr Seuss website called Seussville.com and have had hours of fun on there. Definitely worth checking out for Dr Seuss fans, big or small.

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2 comments on “Dr Seuss – a little bit of nonsense and a fair bit of wisdom

  1. Kiki says:

    I grew up with Green Eggs and Ham and when I started school, I discovered all the other wonderful Dr Seuss books! I saw the trailer for The Lorax recently, and while it looks well done (and Danny Devito’s voice seems perfect for The Lorax), the 3D animation style just doesn’t capture the beauty of the original artwork. By the way, I always wondered, is his name pronounced “soos” or “sois”?

    • michellemead says:

      According to the bio for him on Seussville.com “If you want to pronounce the name the way his family did, say Zoice,not Soose. Seuss is a Bavarian name, and was his mother’s maiden name: Henrietta Seuss’s parents emigrated from Bavaria (part of modern-day Germany) in the nineteenth century. Seuss was also his middle name.” I have similar feelings about “The Lorax” (3D animation style in the movie), too. It looks good, but the style of animation feels quite a bit more “Pixar” to me (even though I know it’s not a film they produced) than “Dr Seuss”.

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