Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904-1991) is pronounced “Zeus” in English, like the Greek god. And he is a, if not the, godhead in the pantheon of English literacy. In a hilarious reading of Green Eggs and Ham, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called him a “latter-day saint”. He was a third-generation German-American who grew up speaking both languages, with German being spoken at home. Words fascinated him from an early age. His zany drawings and poems are unmatched.
In his first book, The Cat in the Hat, Dick and Sally are latchkey children alone at home with their fish. The Cat in the Hat comes, causing chaos with his two sidekicks, Thing One and Thing Two. In the end, the kids get the Cat in the Hat and (the) Things under control, and the Cat in The Hat tidies everything up… just in time, before Dick and Sally’s parents come home!
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” – Dr. Seuss
“…adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.” – Dr. Seuss (quoted in his obituary in Time Magazine)
To read them is to learn them by heart. Ten quotes:
Hop on pop: “We like to hop. We like to hop on top of pop. / Stop! You must not hop on pop.”
One fish two fish red fish blue fish
Fox in Socks: “New socks. Two socks. Whose socks? Sue’s socks.”
The Cat in the Hat: “I will pick up the hook. / You will see something new. / Two things. And I call them Thing One and Thing Two.”
Horton Hears a Who: “A person’s a person no matter how small.”
Horton Hatches the Egg: “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant./ An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.”
Green Eggs and Ham: “I will not eat them, Sam I Am!”
Video: The Reverend Jesse Jackson reads Green Eggs and Ham
Put me in the Zoo: “They should not put you in the zoo. / The circus is the place for you!”
Oh, the places you will go! “You have brains in your head. / You have feet in your shoes. / You can steer yourself / any direction you choose.”
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: “The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! / Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.”