What’s your favorite Dr Seuss book?

It’s Seuss’s birthday! So what’s your favorite? Mine’s easy.


Makes a fellow want to try a cross.

My least favorite? Also easy.


My kids all thought this was sufficient literary justification to jump on my belly, and unfortunately, this was before they were old enough to read American Psycho and realize that just because it happened in a book doesn’t mean it’s OK.


  1. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Green Eggs and Ham. I do the non-Sam-I -Am character in my best Nixon voice.

  2. carlie says

    One of my treasured childhood possessions, which of course my own children almost wrecked, is a 4-volume bound set of Dr. Seuss stories (with a cool cardboard box holder!) Each volume is larger than your typical book (in length/width), so the illustrations are super lush and big, and what I really love is that it includes stories that are not as popular now, like Scrambled Eggs Super and King Louie Katz. My favorite is the Pale Green Pants story. Besides the gorgeous depictions of a forest at night, I gravitated towards the idea of facing one’s fears to find that the thing you were scared of wasn’t scary at all once you got to know each other. :)

  3. blf says

    I recall being able, as a young child, to recite Green Eggs and Ham verbatim. The hardest part was checking by recitation — or just looking at the pictures — paper hadn’t been invented back then, and clay tablets are heavy (to a young child).

  4. moarscienceplz says

    Considering what happened yesterday, I’d say Yertle the Turtle would be most appropriate.

  5. woozy says

    But if they just *read* the book it clearly states:

    STOP! You must not hop on Pop!

    Did your children ever read that part?

    I always liked his longer works “I had trouble getting to Solla Sollew”, “McElliots Pond” and “What was I scared of”. Of course, being the nerd trivia snob even at the age of seven I’d always claim “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”.

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I guess I have to (reluctantly) claim Green Eggs And Ham. When I was raisin a kiddy, who had a very short list of food, we tried repeatedly reading the book to him to convince his style was not singular, and could still find other things good to eat if only one would taste them first. it didn’t work out as planned, but burned that book into my memory.

  7. jblumenfeld says

    Mine’s definitely the book that has The Sneetches, Too Many Daves, The Zax, and What Was I Scared Of?

    All classics, and anyone who disagrees is wrong.

  8. redundant says

    My favorite from reading to my children is Oh, the Places You’ll Go. A great book for teaching about life inevitable ups and downs.

  9. busterggi says

    The 500 Hats of Bartholamew Cubbins is my choice but I’ve always been a rebel.

  10. consciousness razor says

    Hmm… probably Horton Hears a Who! but The Sneetches is nice too. The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss has lots of interesting artwork. There are too many good choices.

  11. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    I mentioned it in another thread but I’ll plug it here: The Chuck Jones Gallery in Santa Fe has a nice collection of Dr. Seuss artwork (the connection, of course, being their collaboration on How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

  12. johnlee says

    I’ve read/performed Green Eggs and Ham for my kids at our language school many times. It’s great for learning English, and as a frustrated actor I can really let myself rip. The Director of Studies is the sidekick, slowly winding me up through the story until I finally give in, wasted with rage and emotion, and actually try the green eggs. Fantastic scope for hamming it up (pardon the pun – we’re not talking Kenny Boy here).
    Brilliant, brilliant Dr. Seuss.

  13. cartomancer says

    His racist anti-Japanese propaganda cartoons from the Second World War?

    Well, okay, not in themselves of course. But as a Jewish refugee from Nazi-held central Europe he realised that the kind of propaganda he was being asked to draw in his job as a cartoonist wasn’t a million miles away from what the Nazis were producing to spread their anti-semitic agenda. Packed that in and became a much loved children’s author. So it shows that at least some people can join the dots and learn from history…

  14. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    as a Jewish refugee from Nazi-held central Europe


    He was born in Springfield MA in 1904 and, if the pfft is to be believed, all of his grandparents emigrated from Germany to the US, and he was raised a Lutheran.

  15. says

    Green Eggs and Ham, though looking back on it I can now see it for what it is – a tale extolling the virtues of caving in to peer pressure.

  16. robro says

    Jeez, PZ, that’s like picking a favorite Beatle song. Now I didn’t read Dr. Seuss books as a kid but as an older adult to my son when he was of that age, probably a couple of hundred times each. Some I like because they’re just fun (If I ran the zoo, or One Fish, Two Fish) and some because they’re thought provoking (The Lorax, The Butter Battle Book, and The Sneetches)…as well as just fun. The Sneetches was one of his particular favorites.

  17. busterggi says

    WHILE WE’RE HERE – anyone else a fan of ‘The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T”?

  18. blf says

    [A]nyone else a fan of ‘The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T’?

    Not really a fan of it myself, but several friends and colleagues over the years have certainly liked it.

  19. nancychenier says

    The most fun to read right now (still with preschooler so Seuss gets heavy rotation) Fox in Socks. Least favorite: Mr. Brown can Moo–the very discriminating aforementioned preschooler has sussed out that the clock and the horse-hooves sound to much the same from me to pass muster.

  20. =8)-DX says

    I loved the odd creepiness of both The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and The Lorax, but my all-time fav still has to be Fox in socks… an epic masterpiece!

  21. brucegee1962 says

    I had Trouble in Getting to Salla Saloo. Mostly because it was so rare — every time I rediscovered it as a kid, I was like “I didn’t imagine this thing after all! Plus it’s an epic quest narrative.

  22. John Harshman says

    Since nobody has yet mentioned If I ran the Circus, I will. The saga of Sneelock’s rise from bystander to star never ceases to inspire me.

  23. Scientismist says

    No contest for me — I was already a fan, having previously been hooked by his older books “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” and “Bartholomew and the Oobleck”, when I found “If I Ran the Zoo” among the new books in the children’s section of the public library in my small town when I was 6 years old. I loved the fantastic critters, and their wonderful names (including a “Nerd”). I don’t think I ever owned a Seuss book myself as a kid, but I had my library card and my bicycle. (My kids built a pretty large collection.)

  24. moarscienceplz says

    What a Maroon #14
    Thanks for that info! I’ve been weighing a trip to Santa Fe for years, you might’ve just tipped the scales.

  25. porkypine says

    Probably my favorite Dr. Seuss book is one most fans have never heard of, and I couldn’t read to my children. (They are older now, they can read it for themselves.) It is The Seven Lady Godivas, originally published in 1939. I have the commemorative edition issued in 1987.

  26. Michael says

    The Lorax

    I was a bit disappointed, when I took my kids to Universal Studios, that the Lorax display had hard plastic/resin Truffula Trees. I don’t think it would have been that hard to make realistic-looking Truffula Trees, so I left thinking “Talk about missing the point”.

  27. Larry says

    It’s not a book but, rather, a movie for which Dr. Seuss wrote the screenplay, the 1953 movie The 5000 Fingers of Dr T. I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw but it obviously made a big impact on me.

  28. cartomancer says

    I must have got the story mangled, or have been thinking of someone else. Though he did, I now discover, have German ancestors, and did regret his somewhat hypocritical role in the propaganda efforts of the 1940s in later years.

  29. Niki G says

    My three year old nephew’s favorite is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. One of the funniest things I’ve seen happened while he was reciting the entire book from memory. While we were trying to watch him with this impressive feat, his two year old sister was abusing a stuffed bunny almost as big as she is. She kept throwing it behind the couch and yelling, “You go in time out!” Then she’d drag it back out, throw it some more, then throw it back behind the couch in time out. It was so hard not laughing at her and trying to watch he brother recite. It also is an excellent example of their differences; he loves playing to a crowd while she’s happy to entertain herself. My favorite? When I was a kid it was Happy Birthday to You, just because of the part where the poop deck was mentioned.

  30. John says

    “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 one who’ll decide where to go…”
    ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

  31. Lofty says

    I was such a voracious reader as a child that I slipped through the Dr Seuss books in a pretty short time so they hardly register in my memory. We did have Cat In The Hat though. Absurdist humour was not my thing.

  32. Tethys says

    I do so love green eggs and ham. The Grinch is awesome, as is the Lorax, and Horton hears a Who.. Bah who doraay, bah, who doraaay,

  33. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    Go. Santa Fe’s a great city for a lot of reasons.

  34. Cuttlefish says

    Dr. Seuss is, unsurprisingly, one of the great memories of my childhood. I am delighted to find that my own favorite has not yet been mentioned here: Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. But frankly, I think we had every Seuss book ever published, and if I were commenting, say, ten minutes from now, it might very well be any of dozens of others.

  35. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Tabby Lavalamp @21,

    Green Eggs and Ham, though looking back on it I can now see it for what it is – a tale extolling the virtues of caving in to peer pressure.

    I guess you could see it that way, but I’ve seen the message to be that you should be open to new experiences and at least TRY THE GODDAMNED BEANS BEFORE YOU SAY THEY’RE DISGUSTING AND YES YOU CAN PUT KETCHUP ON THEM!!!!

  36. rrhain says

    Fox in Socks.

    I had a recording of it from way back when that Fox in Socks, Green Eggs and Ham, and the Bear, the Rabbit, and the Zinniga Zanniga. I had that thing memorized.

    Then, in high school, I was doing the Academic Decathlon and they were working with us on the Speech portion and they gave us various tongue twisters as vocal warm-ups, one of which was the text of Fox in Socks. They wanted us to go around the room, each of us reading a portion of it. They got to me and I’m flying through it. “Wait! Slow down!” Why? “Because how can you know that you’re saying the words right?” Um, because you can hear me? If I’m saying them wrong, you’d hear it. But I know this text. Let’s have a little talk about Tweetle Beetles. What do you know about Tweetle Beetles?

    Always fun to see teachers put out when their students blow through their carefully constructed “challenges.”

  37. says


    A legit motion picture. Though Hans Conreid’s Camp Gay turn as Dr. T goes a bit far.

    Also The Elevator Song/”First Floor Dungeon” is legitimately horrifying cinema– Buñel could not top it if he tried.

  38. psanity says

    I have several favorites — all the Bartholomew books, especially “The King’s Stilts”; Grinch, Fox in Socks, The star-bellied Sneetches. But, “One Fish, Two Fish: is my all-time fave — I love the simple, playful insanity of it. I don’t really like “Cat in the Hat” — when I was young, it made me really anxious. I once had the honor of playing the guy who is not Sam in a children’s theatre G E & H, and it was fabulous fun, but when I really want to impress people with my silver-tongued prowess, I recite Fox in Socks.

    I have had an unfair advantage, since, due to my unorthodox upbringing, I was singing Gilbert & Sullivan patter songs from a very early age.

    (My shoe is off. My foot is cold. I have a bird I like to hold. My teeth are gold. My hat is old. And now my story is all told.)

  39. psanity says

    Oh, and I found the 500 fingers of Dr. T unsettlingly creepy.

    There is a collection of Dr. Seuss-written songs, I have it on LP around here somewhere, that is absolutely delicious, especially “My Uncle Terwilliger Waltzes with Bears”. I can find no trace of it on the Interweb*, although some of the songs were in Seussical the Musical. Someday, in my spare time (sigh), I’m going to digitize all my weird old LPs.

    *there is a hand-me-down version of the Uncle Terwilliger song about, called “Waltzing with Bears”, that is not quite as weirdly cool as the original.

  40. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    My vote is for “Bartholemew and the Ooblek”.

    Messiness rules!

  41. says

    My favorites are either Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose or The King’s Stilts. We had copies and my mother used to read them to me when I was little.

  42. militantagnostic says

    @Digital Cuttlefish

    Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose was one my favourites as well.

    My #1 favourite was probably If I Ran the Circus I still remember the “Colliding Collusions who race round in swift cars called Abrasion Contusions”.

  43. Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority) says

    My four year old loves all of the 20 or so we have in a box set. He particularly likes Dr Seuss’ Sleep Book at bedtime. I also have a soft spot for Oh The Places You’ll Go, though, since it uses the second person throughout, it is the most troubling example of the invariably male protagonist that Geisel used.

  44. rietpluim says

    Oh, wait. I always assumed Dr. Seuss and Stan and Jan Berenstain were the same person. Is that correct?

  45. llyris says

    @psanity #50

    I don’t really like “Cat in the Hat” — when I was young, it made me really anxious.

    I thought it was only me who felt like that. My husband was reading it to our toddler the other day and I still found it anxiety inducing. He had a problem with the constant “you’re mother will be angry”. But I always felt powerless to make the cat stop being a jerk, and that made me anxious.

    I do remember loving the pants with nobody inside them and the Sneetches.

  46. says

    Love On Beyond Zebra for the sheer weirdness. The Lorax was always a favourite, and quoting it once in high school got me a “Dude, quit reciting Shakespeare,” but that is strictly bonus.

  47. blf says

    I always assumed Dr. Seuss and Stan and Jan Berenstain were the same person. Is that correct?

    No. Albeit according to Ye Pfffft of all Knowledge, Dr Seuss was very helpful in their success, in multiple ways: “At the time [c.1962], their inspiration, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), was working as an editor in the children’s division of Random House Publishing and eagerly approved the concept. He edited several books in the Berenstain Bears series […]”.

  48. erichoug says

    I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

    I was a shy quiet kid who always assumed everything was my fault, whether or not it actually was. So, This really helped me be more assertive in sticking up for myself.

    “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”

  49. ravensneo says

    I was lucky enough to have “The Sneetches and Other Stories” both in book and record form (LP), where we could follow along with a man with a deep, expressive voice and sound effects. My favorite story is the Sneetches. I think it was the first symbolism behind the story that I understood as a child. Professor McMonkey McBean understood human nature, and he was the “fix-it-up chappie”. Pale Green Pants with nobody inside them SCARED THE CRAP out of me; I think this was related to the audio special effects of the pants on the bike riding towards the listener. I always liked the end though where the pants are really OK. This story came up in discussions as adults and it turns out ALL OF US WERE SCARED SHITLESS when listening to the approaching creaky bike in the audio version.

  50. nahuati says

    The Sneetches is my favorite Dr. Seuss story too.

    This post made me think of some sermons in which pastors use Dr. Seuss materials to explain Christianity. I never knew if the Dr. Seuss sermons were just in my town or if it was more widespread. A quick search just showed that aSermonCentral has a number of sermons related to Dr. Seuss.

  51. Wild old caveman, now less rancid says

    I always loved the Lorax. Good stuff about looking after the environment and what happens if you don’t

  52. says

    On Beyond Zebra, although when I was young my family used to quote Bartholomew and the Oobleck at appropriate moments. And inappropriate ones. (We go now to our secret cave on mystic mountain Neeka Tave! …and you’ll have oobleck when we’re through!)

    (I always liked the idea that there could be more letters beyond the usual 26, but even as a child it bothered me that every one of the extras in On Beyond Zebra had only one word associated with it, and every one of those had an alternate spelling using traditional letters.)

  53. johnlee says

    What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym @44

    Spot on with Hey Bulldog. Built around a piano riff, which is unusual, and done in one take. George got the solo right on first time. But Seuss? still Green Eggs and Ham.

  54. davehooke says

    The one I loved as a kid went something like “Remember remember the nonth of Octember…”

    Something like that. Read others more recently but I loved that book.