Classic Dr. Seuss Books

Dr. Seuss created some of the most popular characters of all time. This website includes links to a few of his greatest books.

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The Cat in the Hat
He may be an old standby, but he never lets us down. When in doubt, turn to the story of the cat that transformed a dull, rainy afternoon into a magical and just-messy-enough adventure. There's another, hidden adventure, too: this book really will help children learn to read. With his simple and often single-vowel vocabulary, the good Doctor knew what he was doing: hear it, learn it, read it--laughing all the way. The Cat in the Hat is a must for any child's library.

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In what may considered Dr. Seuss's most famous book, The Cat in the Hat rightfully remains as popular today as it was when it was first published. As children will happily report, the plot of The Cat in the Hat involves to bored children, two Things, and a Cat in the Hat that unleashes chaos in his wake. The Cat in the Hat was written by Dr. Seuss as a way to show that teaching children to read can be enjoyable. Children will delight in the hilarious plot, the witty rhyming scheme, and the simple repeating vocabulary.

Lori's Description

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
That behatted and bow-tied cat from Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat is back, and, not surprisingly, is up to all sorts of mischief. This time, Sally and her brother are stuck shoveling snow: "This was no time for play./ This was no time for fun./ This was no time for games./ There was work to be done." But--you guessed it--the laughing Hat Cat has other ideas, as he lets himself in to eat cake in their tub. He leaves behind "a big long pink cat ring," which he then handily cleans with "MOTHER'S WHITE DRESS!" The dress then loses its pink stain to the wall, then Dad's shoes, then the rug in the hall, until finally the Cat must call in some assistance: from inside his hat comes Little Cat A, then Littler Cats B, C, D, E, and so on, nested like dolls in ever tinier hats. With this pack of felines, Sally and her brother may get rid of those stains, but they'll likely never be rid of that rascally cat. As should be expected from the good doctor, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back provides an excellent reader (and alphabet primer) for those just learning, not to mention ample laughs for everyone else.

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The Cat in the Hat Comes Back shows that it is possible to create a sequel that is as good (or better) than the original. The rain from The Cat in the Hat cleared up and now Sally and her brother are stuck shoveling snow when the Cat in the Hat comes to visit. He makes himself comfortable in the tub, but when the water drains, the narrator notices a pink ring. Through several hilarious attempts to get rid of the ring only spread the pink ink further (including his mother's white dress, Dad's $10 shoes, and their parents' bed). Finally, the Cat lifts off his hat to reveal Little Cat A, who lifts his hat to reveal Little Cat B, and so on. The Little Cats attempt to clean up the mess with hilarious results. Finally, it is Little Cat Z and his Voom ("And, oh boy! What a VOOM!") who manages to truly save the day. Children will love the continuing antics of their friend the Cat in the Hat. In the meantime, children will be going over the alphabet without realizing that they're learning.

Lori's Description

Green Eggs and Ham
This timeless Dr. Seuss classic was first published in 1960, and has been delighting readers ever since. Sam-I-am is as persistent as a telemarketer, changing as many variables as possible in the hopes of convincing the nameless skeptic that green eggs and ham are a delicacy to be savored. He tries every manner of presentation with this "nouveau cuisine"--in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox, with a goat, on a boat--to no avail. Then finally, finally the doubter caves under the tremendous pressure exerted by the tireless Sam-I-am. And guess what? Well, you probably know what happens, but even after reading Green Eggs and Ham the thousandth time, the climactic realization that green eggs and ham are "so good, so good, you see" is still a rush. As usual, kids will love Dr. Seuss's wacky rhymes and whimsical illustrations--and this time, they might even be so moved as to finally take a taste of their broccoli.

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When Theodor Geisel's publisher made a bet that the good doctor couldn't write a book using only 50 words, the result was the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham. In this timeless tale, Sam-I-am tries repeatedly to get his friend to try green eggs and ham. His friend (who is never named), refuses to try the unusual food no matter what different environment Sam-I-am suggests. Finally, in an exhausted attempt to silence Sam-I-am, his friend agrees to try green eggs and ham, and lo and behold, he finds that he likes it ... a lot! Children will delight in the hilarious antics of Sam-I-am and his friend. The simple, repetitive vocabular (48 of the 50 words are monosyllabic), makes this a perfect choice for beginning readers.

Lori's Description

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
"Did you ever fly a kite in bed? Did you ever walk with ten cats on your head?" Such are the profound, philosophical queries posed in this well-loved classic by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. While many rhymes in this couplet collection resemble sphinx-worthy riddles, Seuss's intention is clear: teach children to read in a way that is both entertaining and educational. It matters little that each wonderful vignette has nothing to do with the one that follows. (We move seamlessly from a one-humped Wump and Mister Gump to yellow pets called the Zeds with one hair upon their heads.) Children today will be as entranced by these ridiculous rhymes as they have been since the book's original publication in 1960--so amused and enchanted, in fact, they may not even notice they are learning to read!

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Hop on Pop

(The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use)
First published in 1963, Hop on Pop remains a perennial favorite when it comes to teaching kids to read. Here, as in most of his extensive body of work, Dr. Seuss creates uncomplicated, monosyllabic rhymes to foster learning and inspire children to read. But what was radical about this little book at the time of publication (and what makes it still compelling today) is Seuss's departure from the traditionally dull pictures and sentences used in reading primers. In contrast, the illustrations here are wild and wonderful, and the accompanying language, while simple, is delightfully silly. For example, the rhyme "THREE TREE / Three fish in a tree / Fish in a tree? / How can that be?" is brought to life with a trio of plump, self-satisfied fish perched atop globular branches as two stymied hybrid dog-rabbit-humanoids look on in consternation. Hop on Pop does much more than teach children the basics of word construction, it also introduces them to the incomparable pleasure of reading a book.

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Hop on Pop has been teaching children to read for over 40 years. It features simple, mainly monosyllabic words that preschoolers and early elementary school children will be able to read themselves. Each set of paired words is first written in all capitals and then written in a simple sentence below to show its context. Dr. Seuss included bright, hilarious illustrations to help children visualize each phrase. Hop on Pop is sure to be a reading staple for the next 40 years and beyond!

Lori's Description

Fox in Socks
"This Fox is a tricky fox. He'll try to get your tongue in trouble." Dr. Seuss gives fair warning to anyone brave enough to read along with the Fox in Socks, who likes to play tongue-twisting games with his friend Mr. Knox. "Here's an easy game to play. Here's an easy thing to say.... New socks. Two socks. Whose socks? Sue's socks." But Mr. Fox Socks isn't about to let Knox off so easy. Soon Goo-Goose is choosing to chew chewy gluey blue goo, while tweetle beetles battle with paddles in a puddle (in case you were wondering, that's called a "tweetle beetle puddle paddle battle"). Mr. Knox gets exasperated: "I can't blab such blibber blubber! My tongue isn't made of rubber." But he catches on to the game before it's all through. One of Seuss's best, this must-read-aloud classic is guaranteed to get many giggles out of readers young and old.

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The great Doctor continues with another Beginner Book to help young children learn to read. In this installment, Mr. Fox plays a game with Mr Knox by trying to get him to say all kinds of tricky tongue twisters. When Mr. Knox has enough (his tongue isn't made out of rubber!), he figures out how to outwit the clever Mr. Fox and win the game once and for all. This classic children's book features simple, mostly monosyllabic, repeating vocabulary mixed in with lots of Seussian wit. Children will love hearing this read over and over. Parents, however, should be warned to read slowly the first few times; Mr. Fox's tongue twisters can be quite a challenge!

Lori's Description

The Sneetches and Other Stories
"Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches / Had bellies with stars. / The Plain-Belly Sneetches / Had none upon thars." This collection of four of Dr. Seuss's most winning stories begins with that unforgettable tale of the unfortunate Sneetches, bamboozled by one Sylvester McMonkey McBean ("the Fix-it-up Chappie"), who teaches them that pointless prejudice can be costly. Following the Sneetches, a South-Going Zax and a North-Going Zax seem determined to butt heads on the prairie of Prax. Then there's the tongue-twisting story of Mrs. McCave--you know, the one who had 23 sons and named them all Dave. (She realizes that she'd be far less confused had she given them different names, like Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face or Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate.) A slightly spooky adventure involving a pair of haunted trousers--"What was I scared of?"--closes out the collection. Sneetches and Other Stories is Seuss at his best, with distinctively wacky illustrations and ingeniously weird prose.

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Dr. Seuss was a master at teaching children important lessons without preaching. The Sneetches and Other Stories" is a classic example demonstrating the futility of discrimination. The beaches are filled with two kinds of Sneetches: some with stars and some without. "These stars weren't so big. They were really so small / You might think such a thing wouldn't matter at all." On this beach, however, the Star-Bellied Sneetches are the elite, excluding Plain-Bellied Sneetches from ball games and frankfurter roasts. When Sylvester McMonkey McBean ("the Fix-it-up Chappie") arrives one day with his peculiar machine, he first offers the Plain-Bellied Sneetches the opportunity to get stars on their bellies for three dollars apiece. When nobody can tell who are the "real" Star-Bellied Sneetches, Sylvester McMonkey McBean promptly invites the original Star-Bellied Sneethces the opportunity to remove the stars from their bellies (for a mere ten dollars each). In the chaos that ensues, McBean becomes rich, the Sneetches can't tell who is who, and everyone learns an important lesson about prejudice. This book also includes the tales "Too Many Daves" and "What Was I Scared Of?"

Lori's Description

The Lorax
When Dr. Seuss gets serious, you know it must be important. Published in 1971, and perhaps inspired by the "save our planet" mindset of the 1960s, The Lorax is an ecological warning that still rings true today amidst the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth's environment. In The Lorax, we find what we've come to expect from the illustrious doctor: brilliantly whimsical rhymes, delightfully original creatures, and weirdly undulating illustrations. But here there is also something more--a powerful message that Seuss implores both adults and children to heed.

The now remorseful Once-ler--our faceless, bodiless narrator--tells the story himself. Long ago this enterprising villain chances upon a place filled with wondrous Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba- loots, and Humming-Fishes. Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Tree tufts, he greedily chops them down to produce and mass-market Thneeds. ("It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat.") As the trees swiftly disappear and the denizens leave for greener pastures, the fuzzy yellow Lorax (who speaks for the trees "for the trees have no tongues") repeatedly warns the Once-ler, but his words of wisdom are for naught. Finally the Lorax extricates himself from the scorched earth (by the seat of his own furry pants), leaving only a rock engraved "UNLESS." Thus, with his own colorful version of a compelling morality play, Dr. Seuss teaches readers not to fool with Mother Nature. But as you might expect from Seuss, all hope is not lost--the Once-ler has saved a single Truffula Tree seed! Our fate now rests in the hands of a caring child, who becomes our last chance for a clean, green future.

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The narrative of The Lorax begins as a child walks down "The Street of the Lifted Lorax", a gray section of town where the air smells sour and birds never sing. The hermitlike Once-ler tells the child about the Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba-loots, and Humming-Fish that once lived there. But it was the Truffula Trees with their bright-colored tufts that caught the Once-ler's eye. He built a small shop and cut down a single tree to knit a "Thneed" ("It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat."). No sooner had the Once-ler completed his Thneed than the Lorax (with a strong resemblance to Teddy Roosevelt) popped out of the stump. He spoke for the trees ("for the trees have no tongues") and pleaded with the Once-ler to save the trees. The Once-ler of course ignores the advice and builds a bigger factory and begins to cut down more and more Truffula Trees. The Bar-ba-loots eventually run out of food, the Swoomee-Swans can't sing through the smog, and the Humming-Fish gills are gummed from the pollution. Each time, the Lorax sends the animals away and pleads with the Once-ler to stop. Finally, as the last Truffula Tree is cut down the Lorax gives a sad backward glance and heists himself up to the sky, never to be seen again. The only trace the Lorax left was a small pile of rocks with the word "UNLESS". After years of reflection, the Once-ler finally realizes the meaning of the Lorax's message: "UNLESS someone like you cares an whole awful lot, nothing is going ot get better. It's not." The story concludes optimistically with the Once-ler giving the last Truffula Seed to the narrator and imploring him to "Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all his friends may come back."

The Lorax is perhaps Dr. Seuss's most controversial book yet perhaps the most moving story he wrote. The environmental message won't be lost on children who will instantly recognize the change from the bright colors to the sullen greys after the Truffula Trees and the animals disappear. This classic will resonate with both adults and children and be a great springboard for discussions about environmental conservation.

Lori's Description

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
Oh, why won't Marvin K. Mooney just please go now? In this 1972 classic for "beginning beginners," Dr. Seuss devotes his rhymes to budging the reluctant young Marvin K.: "The time has come. The time is now. Just go. Go. GO! I don't care how." But despite his impatience, our narrator certainly isn't short of ideas on how Marvin could make an exit. "You can go on stilts. You can go by fish. You can go in a Crunk-Car if you wish." Seuss's ever wacky illustrations accompany each new mode of transport, from balloon to broomstick to Bumble-Boat. And if those who are just learning find a word they don't know, chances are Seuss has simply made it up to fill out this ear-pleasing, easy-to-read text. This book is yet another fun and euphonious entry from the good doctor, a silly primer for budding rhymers and readers.

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Dr. Seuss yet again shows his skills at getting children to enthusiastically learn to read. The narrator demands that Marvin K. Mooney leave and lists several wacky possibilities that Marvin can use to leave. Using the Seussian rhyming scheme and frequent repetition of simple vocabulary, this classic story will keep children reading for hours on end.

Lori's Description

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Inspirational yet honest, and always rhythmically rollicking, Oh, the Places You'll Go! is a perfect sendoff for children, 1 to 100, entering any new phase of their lives. Kindergartners, graduate students, newlyweds, newly employeds--all will glean shiny pearls of wisdom about the big, bountiful future. The incomparable Dr. Seuss rejoices in the potential everyone has to fulfill their wildest dreams: "You'll be on your way up! / You'll be seeing great sights! / You'll join the high fliers / who soar to high heights." At the same time, he won't delude the starry-eyed upstart about the pitfalls of life: "You can get all hung up / in a prickle-ly perch. / And your gang will fly on. / You'll be left in a Lurch."

But fear not! Dr. Seuss, with his inimitable illustrations and exhilarating rhymes, is convinced ("98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed") that success is imminent. As long as you remember "to be dexterous and deft. And NEVER mix up your right foot with your left," things should work out.

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Deluxe Edition Also Available

Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

Horton Hatches the Egg

Horton Hears a Who!

Yertle the Turtle

The Butter Battle Book

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

McElligot's Pool

I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

The King's Stilts

There's a Wocket in My Pocket!

Daisy-Head Mayzie

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