Sneetches, Whos, and The Cat in the Hat

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.” — Dr. Seuss

 I did not need to credit Dr. Seuss with that quote for it to be recognized, his style was so unique it revolutionized the way we look at children’s literature. Characterized by rhyming, made up words, and a knee bouncing rhythm, Dr. Seuss’s books are delightful and timeless.

This does not mean I think we should all begin writing in rhyme and add whatever fa-lloo-fall-in word we think up. However, it is worth noting that Dr. Seuss was able to engage kids in reading all because of his style.

Dr. Seuss’s books are known for their moral lessons, however, as Dr. Seuss himself recognized, “Kids can see a moral coming a mile off and they gag at it.” His books are instead a candy-coated roller coaster. When we get off, we are begging for more, and are a little bit more inspired, more accepting, or more courageous to boot.

Dr. Seuss commented on his style, “The problem with writing a book in verse is, to be successful, it has to sound like you knocked it off on a rainy Friday afternoon. It has to sound easy. When you can do it, it helps tremendously because it’s a thing that forces kids to read on. You have this unconsummated feeling if you stop.” Generations of kids have kept on reading because he did not stop. You will find Dr. Seuss’s rhythmic and rhyming lessons painted in bedrooms, in bios online, or tattooed on our very hearts. A few favorites:

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

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

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

 “We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts! 
So, open your mouth, lad!
 For every voice counts!”

 All these quotes have starred in Dr. Seuss books read to countless children, on countless knees, countless times. The lessons they teach are not necessarily novel, but they are presented in a novel way that manages to create a lasting impact for those reading.

3 thoughts on “Sneetches, Whos, and The Cat in the Hat

  1. daydreambeliever95 April 18, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    Even as an adult, Dr. Suess is one of my favorite authors. His stories can be misleadingly deep sometimes and show some great insight. A few years ago, I did a project to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a kind of MD that affects young children. I ended the presentation with the Suess quote about “now my troubles are going to have trouble with me”. His works can be used to apply to such a wide variety of situations, and his style ensures that his works stick with you. Love it!


  2. davinadhani April 20, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    To this day Dr. Seuss is still one of the best writers I’ve ever read. Seuss is a great example of how style can potentially mirror meaning. Like you said, he used simple words, and appeared effortless but his ideas were consistently thought-provoking. In this way, his writing was especially applicable for children, because children are often wise in an effortless way as well.

    My favorite thing about Seuss’ writing was how he could make the audience mentally switch perspectives because of how he would order his words. To me, his writing has a circular quality. In order to understand it, you have to expand your perceptions. Reading his work is like going on small journeys.


  3. chadprom April 22, 2015 / 12:51 am

    I feel like every time I read Dr. Seuss or come across one of his quotes I have a new appreciation for it. I cannot say this about too many authors. It does not take long sentences with complicated vocabulary to convey a message. With a rhyme or two and some carefully selected words, Dr. Seuss can make an impression not on just kids, but adults. People of all ages appreciate Dr. Seuss, and for different reasons. For young kids his work is silly and fun. For adults the profound messages behind the silly rhymes provide inspiration.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s