Theodor Seuss Geisel (2 March 1904 – 24 September 1991) was an American children's author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker. He is known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. His work includes many of the most popular children's books of all time, selling over 600 million copies and being translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death.
- ... and the wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones ... But those were Foreign Children and it really didn't matter ...
- You make 'em, I amuse 'em.
- Statement about children, as quoted in Enter, Conversing (1962) by Clifton Fadiman, p. 108
- Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It's more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.
- As quoted in "Author Isn't Just a Cat in the Hat" by Miles Corwin in The Los Angeles Times (27 November 1983); also in Dr. Seuss: American Icon (2004) by Philip Nel, p. 38
- When at last we are sure
You've been properly pilled,
Then a few paper forms
Must be properly filled
So that you and your heirs
May be properly billed.
- You're Only Old Once! : A Book for Obsolete Children (1986)
- You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.
- On becoming a writer, NY Times (May 21, 1986)
- Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.
- On writing for adults, as quoted in Of Sneetches and Whos and the Good Dr. Seuss: Essays on the Writings and Life of Theodor Geisel (1997) by Thomas Fensch, p. 96
- And that is a story that no one can beat,
When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.
Horton Hatches the Egg (1940)
Horton Hears a Who! (1954)
- On the 15th of May, in the Jungle of Nool,
In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,
He was splashing... enjoying the jungle's great joys...
When Horton the elephant heard a small noise.
- A person's a person, no matter how small.
- "My friends!", cried the elephant.
"Tell me! Do tell!
Are you safe? Are you sound?
Are you whole? Are you well?"
- "You're going to be roped!
And you're going to be caged!
And, as for your dust speck – hah!
That we shall boil in a hot steaming kettle of Beezle-Nut Oil!"
- "Don't give up! I believe in you all.
A person's a person, no matter how small!
And you very small persons will not have to die
If you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!"
- "This", cried the Mayor, "is your town's darkest hour!
The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
To come to the aid of their country!", he said.
"We've GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!"
On Beyond Zebra! (1955)
- Oh the things you can find
If you don't stay behind!
- In the places I go there are things that I see
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.
I'm telling you this 'cause you're one of my friends.
My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!
The Cat in the Hat (1957)
- We looked! Then we saw him
Step in on the mat!
We looked! And we saw him!
The Cat in the Hat!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957)
- "Maybe Christmas...", he thought, "...Doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"
- Well, in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew 3 sizes that day.
Yertle the Turtle (1958)
- On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond, Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond. A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat. The water was warm. There was plenty to eat. The turtles had everything turtles might need. And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.
They were… until Yertle, the king of them all, Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small. “I’m ruler”, said Yertle, “of all that I see. But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me. With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond But I cannot look down on the places beyond. This throne that I sit on is too, too low down. It ought to be higher!” he said with a frown. “If I could sit high, how much greater I’d be! What a king! I’d be ruler of all that I see!”
So Yertle the Turtle King, lifted his hand And Yertle, the Turtle King, gave a command. He ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone And, using these turtles, he built a new throne. He made each turtle stand on another one’s back And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack. And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile. What a wonderful view! He could see ‘most a mile!
“All mine!” Yertle cried. “Oh, the things I now rule! I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule! I’m the king of a house! And, what’s more, beyond that I’m the king of a blueberry bush and a cat! I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me! For I am the ruler of all that I see!”
And all through the morning, he sat up there high Saying over and over, “A great king am I!” Until ‘long about noon. Then he heard a faint sigh. “What’s that?” snapped the king,and he looked down the stack. And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack. Just a part of his throne. And this plain little turtle Looked up and he said, “Beg your pardon, King Yertle. I’ve pains in my back and my shoulders and knees. How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?”
“SILEENNCCEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the King of the Turtles barked back. “IM KING!!!!!!!!!! and you’re only a turtle named Mack.”
“You stay in your place while I sit here and rule. I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule! I’m the king of a house! And a bush! And a cat! But that isn’t all. I’ll do better than that! My throne shall be higher!” his royal voice thundered, “So pile up more turtles! I want ’bout two hundred!”
“Turtles! More turtles!” he bellowed and brayed. And the turtles ‘way down in the pond were afraid. They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed. From all over the pond, they came swimming by dozens. Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins. And all of them stepped on the head of poor Mack. One after another, they climbed up the stack. (They piled up so high their shells creaked and they bent! But Yertle's dismay and he angrily said "Higher!".So higher they went.)
Then Yertle the Turtle was perched up so high, He could see forty miles from his throne in the sky! “Hooray!” shouted Yertle. “I’m the king of the trees! I’m king of the birds! And I’m king of the bees! I’m king of the butterflies! King of the air! Ah, me! What a throne! What a wonderful chair! I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me! For I am the ruler of all that I see!”
Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack, Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack. “Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain, But down here below, we are feeling great pain. I know up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here on the bottom,
We too should have rights. We turtles can’t stand it. Our shells will all crack! Besides, we need food. We are starving!” groaned Mack.
“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Yertle. “You’ve no right to talk to the world’s highest turtle. I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea! There’s nothing, no, NOTHING, that’s higher than me!”
But, while he was shouting, he saw with surprise That the moon of the evening was starting to rise Up over his head in the darkening skies. “What’s THAT?” snorted Yertle. “Say, what IS that thing That dares to be higher than Yertle the King? I shall not allow it! I’ll go higher still! I’ll build my throne higher! I can and I will! I’ll call some more turtles. I’ll stack ‘em to heaven! I need ’bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!”
But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand And started to order and give the command, That plain little turtle below in the stack, That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack, Decided he’d taken enough. And he had. And that plain little lad got a bit mad. And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing. He burped! And his burp shook the throne of the king!
And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees, The king of the air and the birds and the bees, The king of a house and a cow and a mule… Well, that was the end of the Turtle King’s rule! For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond, Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course... all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.
- The End.
- From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere.
Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
- I am Sam.
- That Sam-I-Am!
I do not like that Sam-I-Am!
- I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-Am!
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew (1965)
- I pulled, pulled, and pulled. And the next thing I knew,
I was pulling the camel and Wubble-Chap too!
"Now really," I thought, "this is rather unfair!"
But he said, "Don't you stew. I am doing my share.
"This is called teamwork. I furnish the brains.
You furnish the muscles, the aches and the pains.
I'll pick the best roads, tell you just where to go,
And we'll find a good doctor more quickly, you know."
Then he sat and he worked with his brains and his tongue
And he bossed me around just because I was young.
He told me go left. Then he told me go right.
And that's what he told me all day and all night.
- A big man on a horse scared me out of my wits.
He bellowed, "I'm General Genghis Kahn Schmitz.
There's a war going on! And it's time that you knew
Every lad in this land has his duty to do.
We're marching to battle. We need you, my boy!
We're about to attack. We're about to destroy
The Perilous Poozer of Pompelmoose Pass!
So get into line. You're a Private, First Class."
- I'd have no more troubles...
That's what the man said.
So I started to go.
But I didn't.
I did some quick thinking
Inside of my head.
Then I started back home
To the Valley of Vung.
I know I'll have troubles.
I'll maybe get stung.
I'll always have troubles.
I'll maybe get bit
By that Green-Headed Quail
On the place where I sit.
But I've bought a big bat.
I'm all ready, you see.
Now my troubles are going
To have troubles with me!
- "Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze.
"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs" –
He was very upset as he shouted and puffed –
"What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"
- I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees,
Which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please!
But I'm also in charge of the brown Bar-ba-loots,
Who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits,
And happily lived, eating Truffula fruits.
Now, thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,
There's not enough Truffula fruit to go 'round!
And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies
Because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!
- "So . . .
Catch!" calls the Once-ler.
He lets something fall.
"It's a Truffula Seed.
It's the last one of all!
You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
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 of his friends
may come back."
- Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky
was my big empty factory...
The Lorax said nothing.
Just gave me a glance,
just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance,
as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
And I'll never forget the grim look on his face
when he heisted himself and took leave of this place,
through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace.
And all that the Lorax left here in this mess
was a small pile of rocks with the one word:
Whatever that meant . . . well, I just couldn't guess.
- It's a troublesome world. All the people who're in it
are troubled with troubles almost every minute.
You oughta be thankful, a whole heaping lot,
For the places and people you're lucky you're not!
- The last sentence of this statement is often misquoted as "You oughta be thankful, a whole heaping lot, / For the people and places you're lucky you're not!'"
- And suppose that you lived in that forest in France
Where the average young person just hasn't a chance
To escape from the perilous pants-eating plants!
But your pants are safe! You're a fortunate guy.
And you ought to be shouting, "How lucky am I!"
- Thank goodness for all the things you are not!
Thank goodness you're not something someone forgot,
and left all alone in some punkerish place
like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.
- That's why I say, "Duckie!
Don’t grumble! Don’t stew!
Some critters are much-much,
oh, ever so much-much,
so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!"
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)
- The more that you read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you'll go.
- Young cat! If you keep
Your eyes open enough,
Oh, the stuff you will learn!
The most wonderful stuff!
- you'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut
Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990)
- You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
- With your head full of brains,
and your shoes full of feet,
You're too smart to go down any not-so-good-street.
- Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along, you'll start happening too!
- You're off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.
- [...] right now, when the Japs are planting their hatchets in our skulls, it seems like a hell of a time for us to smile and warble: “Brothers!” It is a rather flabby battle cry. If we want to win, we've got to kill Japs, whether it depresses John Haynes Holmes or not. We can get palsy-walsy afterward with those that are left.
- Commenting his patriotic editorial cartoon in 1942 in the New York newspaper PM. Source: Dr. Seuss Draws Anti-Japanese Cartoons During WWII, Then Atones with Horton Hears a Who!. For more context, see Dr. Seuss Goes to War.
- Brief biography of Dr. Seuss (UC San Diego)
- The Advertising Artwork of Dr. Seuss (UC San Diego)
- The complete Dr. Seuss editorial cartoons (UC San Diego)
- An essay by Melissa Kaplan
- Seussville site (Random House)
- The Dr. Seuss Web Page
- Dr. Seuss on the web
- Full text of the Heart's Domain by Georges Duhamel.