Updated date:

One Fish, Two Fish; Red Fish, Blue Fish - Which Is Your Favorite Dr. Seuss Book?


RedElf (Elle Fredine) is a photographer, published author, and educator. Life-long learning is key to adding value to life.

Seussology 101

One small hub in a tub on the web;

Two hubs, with fans, in a box by the bed;

Three hubs on forks holding corks with their toes;

Four hubs on line, filled with fine purple prose.

The very first time the doctor's ear-catching rhythms were heard in our house, he was read to us by my dad. My grandfather's local newspaper had published a series on this radical, new children's writer, and Grampa had forwarded the articles to us, complete with pictures and excerpts from 'The Cat In The Hat'.

We were enchanted...and when the next installment came, we thought green eggs and ham were 'the best'. The nonsensical rhymes tickled our funny bones, and even my father, normally rather reserved, seemed quite taken with it all. Needless to say, the doctor became a large part of the required bed-time reading at our house.


How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Need less to say, this is probably the best known Seuss book, possibly in the whole world, thanks to the original animated film, and the later re-visioning with Jim Carry as a very, very mean and scary Grinch,

For those of you who have never heard of this enticing gem, it has been described as a modern take - dare we say, a very Seussical version of - Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol."

The Plot revolves around the Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff), the film's main character. He lives in a cave atop Mount Crumpet, located above the village of Whoville - a surly character with a heart "two sizes too small" who has especially hated Christmas for years. On Christmas Eve, he finally becomes fed up with seeing the decorations, and hearing all the music and caroling in the village . He decides to stop Christmas Day from coming to Whoville. When he sees his dog, Max, with snow all over his face in the shape of a beard, he disguises himself as Santa Claus and steals Christmas.

By the end of the tale, the Grinch, of course, is transformed by what he learns about the true nature of Christmas.

I remember gathering around Grampa's chair in front of the fireplace, listening as he read the story to us from a special newspaper insert. In this version below, DJ Rick does a lovely job of narrating the story, complete with excerpts from the original feature.

A Fun Narration by DJ Rick

Subversive Literature

This doctor should be locked away,

Subversive Kiddies Lit., I say!

No school books these, "Out!" "Out!" "Away!"

Now, no more rhymes - go out and play.

Forget this nosense, all this drivel!

I tell you, he's not on the level.

This pitter-patter speech must stop!

Untwist your tongues, unplumb your thoughts!

School must be serious, this we know,

So, "Out, you Doctor Flim-Flam - Go!"

Though hailed as a break-through writer for children, the good doctor was not taken seriously by some educators. In a few schools, his books were removed from the shelves. Unfortunately, many educators, still stuck in the ruts of rote learning, did not recognize the value of unleashing the imagination.

Many felt that making up words, and all those lovely, mouth-pleasing nonsense rhymes would cause problems for children trying to learn the basics of reading - of grammar, punctuation, spelling. Good heavens, everyone with a lick of sense knew that learning to read was hard work. To imagine that reading could fun and exciting, or even mildly interesting - well, that just went against everything we've ever learned.

It was, of course, no use pointing out that William Shakespeare, one of the greats of Western Literature, invented words right, left and center. But then, William Shakespeare wasn't being used to teach our poor, vulnerable children to read. Lucky for him. And so the controversy raged.

The Cat In the Hat and Friends

'The Cat In The Hat' is one of the best known of all the Seuss creations, and I suspect there are few North American children who have not at least heard of Jim Carrey's mega-hit movie, 'The Grinch'. Our family favorite, though, pulled out, dusted off, and faithfully viewed year after year at Christmas is still the original version of 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas', narrated by Boris Karloff.

We all sit, glued to the screen as the familiar scenes unfold, reciting the words along with Mr. Karloff and singing the Who-songs. A few of us even get misty-eyed as we join the Who's to welcome Christmas into our own hearts.

More Things Seussical

Unfortunately for us, we grew up in the meantime. Certainly considered childish for my age group, things Seussical did not appear again on my horizon until many years later.

When my son was finally old enough to be read a bedtime story, some old friends became our new, fast favorites. 'The Cat in The Hat' was well received, but to my surprise, my son absolutely adored 'Horton Hears a Who'. Something about that earnest elephant struck a deep chord and for several years, 'Horton' was his most-requested bedtime entertainment.

We both loved 'Fox in Sox', but that was for daytime enjoyment and as he grew older and began to read along with me, 'If I Ran The Circus' replaced 'Horton' on his top-ten list. His cousin, on the other hand, became a big fan of 'The Things That I Saw On Mulberry Street'.

The Next Generation Meets the Doctor...

As is the way of all young, my son and his cousins eventually grew up. They grew so 'up' that they outgrew the doctor. They became teenagers and "put away childish things," much to mature to be interested in nonsensical rhymes. Fortunately for us, it wasn't all that long before a fresh crop of babies arrived, to be diapered, dandled, and (Oh! Joy of joys!) to be read to before bedtime.

Once again Seussisms reigned supreme. How enchanting to see the little eyes grow wide and hear childish tongues struggle to navigate the intricate rhythms.

From children to grandchildren, we have handed down our best-loved books to be shared after milk and cookies, just before bedtime, or in a quiet moment on a rainy afternoon. Whatever your personal favorite, the legacy of the doctor who rewrote children's literature for all times will be lovingly passed on for many generations to come..


The Doctor Has a Lot to Teach Us

We'd all love to have a magic mirror or spyglass, a way to look into the future to see what it holds for our children. We want to protect them. We want all wonderful and good things for our little one. Only the best life has to offer. And we'd love to know what they will do, where they will go, who they will meet.

Even though we know we can't always protect them as our children learn and grow, we can be there for them. We can do our best to prepare them.

Hopefully, we can teach them to value the differences between us, for it in is the differences, not just the similarities, that we find ourselves. We must cherish the unusual, the out-of-the-ordinary, for that is how we define our humanity. And we must show our children that we need to embrace and do our very best enjoy the wonderful absurdity of this serious business we call life.

The doctor sums up every parents' longing so beautifully in his book, "Oh, The Places You'll Go." This last is in tribute to his work.

Oh, the places you'll go! Oh, to tickle your senses

By viewing the world through your Seussical lenses.

Such colors, such sounds! Oh, the marvels you'll see!

The incredible creatures you're certain to meet.

How I wish I could be there, I'd so love to know

What you'll find in the wonderful places you'll go.

© 2009 RedElf


RedElf (author) from Canada on March 21, 2012:

amckean, I am waiting impatiently for The Lorax to hit the big screen - looks like fun!

amckean84 on February 24, 2012:

As a teacher, Dr. Seuss is a favorite and beloved author for myself and my students. My favorite as a kid was "Oh, the Places You'll Go," but today I love "The Lorax." Thanks for the wonderful hub!

RedElf (author) from Canada on October 03, 2011:

Interesting - for years my favorite was tucows.com (twocows). Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Dereck.

Dereck on October 02, 2011:

To be honest my favorite is www.twohub.com what a conincidence right? :-)

RedElf (author) from Canada on June 20, 2011:

My favs are "Fox In Sox" and "If I ran the Circus" - but really, I love them all :D

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on June 20, 2011:

RedElf, I love Dr. Seuss. I often read it to my class and they love the flow of the words. It has helped a couple of them with word recognition. Great hub. Up and awesome.

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 21, 2011:

TheSloneGal, playing a fish in 7th grade would have turned me off any author! I am so pleased that you are now a convert! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

TheSloneGal on April 20, 2011:

For some strange reason I always hated him well maybe the reason was because in the 6th or 7th grade I had to dress up as the fish and do a play about the cat in the hat I think that is got me to go against him but now I see how much my oldest daughter loves it I have grown to really like him and his work. Also my Husband is always cracking me up about him and makes me like him even more. It is also a great start out to teach young ones to read Awesome hub

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 18, 2011:

Thanks, MysteryPlanet - I am sure your girls will enjoy the doctor just as much as you did :D

MysteryPlanet on April 17, 2011:

Dr Seuss has always been a favorite. We have lots of Seuss books and videos at this house and my girls are growing up with them now

RedElf (author) from Canada on February 19, 2011:

Thanks so much, again, dear ripplemaker. Becoming a HubNugget was a real turning point for me on HubPages. Thanks so very much!

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on February 19, 2011:

Just dropping by this hub as I was drawn to the title again...haahhahahaha the Dr. Seuss magic!

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 24, 2011:

Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, miss_jkim. I am a big fan of the doctor.

miss_jkim on January 23, 2011:

Our favorite Dr. Suess book was always "Hop on Pop"

Nice hub, I enjoyed the nostalgia.

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 17, 2010:

Thanks so much, Laura! I was really tickled (11 months ago) - it was great fun to get to know everybody. How lovely for you to become a grandmother! We did the same thing for some nieces and nephews when they were expecting ;)

Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on April 17, 2010:

I adore your rhyming, RedElf-quite apropos! I did grow up on Dr. Seuss lit, and must say that my favorites were "The Things that I Saw on Mulberry Street" and "The Sleep Book."

My son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first child in September, and I've already covertly started a strictly Seuss collection!

And congratulations on your nomination as a HubNugget nominee 11 months ago. He he.

RedElf (author) from Canada on April 02, 2010:

Thanks so very much, TV. I really love the Dr. - he is great fun to try and emulate. I am so pleased you enjoyed my efforts!

TattooVirgin on April 01, 2010:

RedElf, How amazing I so loved it and what a great poet you are. I love how words can be crafted into such art. Fab Hub!

RedElf (author) from Canada on January 20, 2010:

Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it.

hubpageswriter on January 19, 2010:

I love the illustrations you use for this hub. Very cool.

RedElf (author) from Canada on November 10, 2009:

Thanks so much - nice to meet you, Jenny-Anne. So glad you liked the Hub. Sylvia Plath is another fav of mine, as well.

Jenny-Anne on November 10, 2009:

Hi RedElf, I rediscovered Dr. Seuss when I was visiting friends and as the guest of honour,I had to read a bedtime story to my godson. It was the first time I read bedtime stories and Dr. Seuss is a great introduction to the fun of words and the silly sounds they can make in nonsense rhyme. On a different note, I'd a similar experience with Sylvia Plath when I read her poems for the first time and the words seemed to spark off the page. nice hub!

RedElf (author) from Canada on July 17, 2009:

Yes, storytellersrus, he had an amazing gift for helping engage children and adults alike. My son loved Seuss. I think I had more trouble reading him than my boy - but I, too, have wonderful memories of reading with him and celebrating his growing mastery. I think that's in part where he came by his love of words and reading. So glad you enjoyed it - nice to meet you.

Barbara from Stepping past clutter on July 17, 2009:

RedElf, you brought back memories of my youngest daughter who struggled to read. The first book she conquered was Green Eggs and Ham. What an accomplishment and what a tribute to the healing power of Dr. Suess! Thank you so much.

RedElf (author) from Canada on July 16, 2009:

Thanks, Tom. So glad you stopped by. I have always loved the Dr., too.

Tom Cornett from Ohio on July 16, 2009:

Love Seuss....he was a genius.....wonderful hub! Thanks!

RedElf (author) from Canada on July 16, 2009:

It's just too much fun. This hub was such a joy to do...Thanks so much, MM. As you can probably tell, I'm a long-time fan of the Dr.

Susan Reid from Where Left is Right, CA on July 16, 2009:

Love the good Dr. and LOVE your hub about him! Isn't it just toooo fun to write in Seuss-style? MM

RedElf (author) from Canada on July 16, 2009:

Hello there, Temperance. Thanks so much - love the rhyme...you, too, have brains in your head!

Temperance M from Oregon on July 16, 2009:

I <3 Dr. Suess!

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

RedElf (author) from Canada on July 14, 2009:

Greetings, C.S. ALexis. So glad to meet you. One of our noteworthy librarian-reading-aloud-ladies could put an entire class of eager Grade Threes to sleep in 5 minutes flat, lol, but our regular teacher was an absolute gem. Having her as a model, who could do else but try to read as well as she did. Thanks.

C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on July 13, 2009:

Always makes me smile and mindful of childhood wonder. I know I waited with excitement causing me to wiggle at my school desk chair when reading hour grew near. We had a great librarian who could read magic in to Seuss, pushing his whimsy to the hilt. Something tells me you could do the same!

RedElf (author) from Canada on June 28, 2009:

Great quotation, cj. Thanks so much for sharing it. I seem to have spent a fair bit of time looking through the wrong end of the telescope, myself :).

cjcarter on June 28, 2009:

Great hub! I'm a big Seuss fan myself. This is my favorite quote of all time:

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, its a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope"~Dr. Seuss~

RedElf (author) from Canada on May 26, 2009:

Thanks so much Mighty Mom. I look forward to reading some of your takes on the good doctor.

Susan Reid from Where Left is Right, CA on May 26, 2009:

Hmmm. For someone who wrote "nonsensical drivel" Dr. Seuss sure has endured through the generations, hasn't he? Like you, I enjoy "adapting" Seuss poetry. Well done, Ms. RedElf.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on May 21, 2009:

I'm just here to help my friends!

RedElf (author) from Canada on May 21, 2009:

Thanks so much Candie V - as I said before - you ask really great questions. Thanks so much. I am just tickled to be nominated.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on May 20, 2009:

Look at you!! You answered my question and now you have a hubnugget entry!! Awesome!! I'm so proud of you, and this is a great entry!!

RedElf (author) from Canada on May 17, 2009:

Thanks K@ri, I realy liked your hub on funny fish - I will be back to read more.

d. dionne, I thank you, as well.

I'm glad you stopped by, and your comment was swell.

d.dionne on May 17, 2009:

Great for all ages; young, old, and older alike.

easy as one- two- three or riding a bike.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on May 17, 2009:

I have always loved Dr. Seuss. I really enjoyed reading this wonderful hub!

RedElf (author) from Canada on May 15, 2009:

Thank you so much, Uninvited Writer, always nice to meet another fan of te Dr. Thanks for dropping by.

Susan Keeping from Kitchener, Ontario on May 15, 2009:

Wonderful...I love Dr. Seuss. This hub has been very entertaining.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on May 15, 2009:

Here is a great news for Dr. Seuss fans and you dear RedElf! This hub is a HUBNUGGET nominee! Congratulations! Check it out by clicking on this link! https://hubpages.com/community/Nugget-Fever Do cast your vote and be sure to invite all your friends and their friends and their friends to vote for your hub! Yes, the more votes the more chances of winning. And winning means your hub will be placed in the Hubpages official newsletter. What are you waiting for? Go, go, go! Have fun! :-)

RedElf (author) from Canada on May 12, 2009:

You're on to me, Paper Moon. Thanks for stoppint by.

Paper Moon from In the clouds on May 11, 2009:

You ol fox in sox, promoting such subversive mish moffered moof!

RedElf (author) from Canada on May 11, 2009:

Thanks, Enelle, glad you enjoyed it. The good doctor is always great fun.

cindyvine, I loved the Lorax too - and the big spotted dog/thing that kept changing colors.

Thanks, Candie V, it was such a pleasure to do. Most enjoyable request.

Laughing Mom, I almost gave away my Seuss books to a friend when my son grew 'up', but I managed to hang on to some favorites - and so glad I did with the new generations of Seuss-ophiles beginning to really enjoy his stories.

Thanks mayhmong, I still love them all.

RedElf (author) from Canada on May 11, 2009:

High praise, indeed, cap'n but after a rummage through my sea chest, I've found a couple she might enjoy even more - give me a minute - they're here somewhere...

Hah, found the dratted list - she might also enjoy "My Many Colored Day' or a trip to Dr. Seuss National Memorial in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After all, she's a very hard worker, I'm sure, cap'n.

badcompany99 on May 10, 2009:

I think its just about the sort of thing the cabin girl might read.

mayhmong from North Carolina on May 09, 2009:

I love this poem! Its short, sweet, and it rhymes?! LOL I think Dr. Seuss should be a kid rapper to come up with so many rhymes, ya? I just love these books as a kid.

Laughing Mom on May 09, 2009:

I am so impressed, RedElf!!

We have each and every one of his books, and I, like your nephew, always chose "The Things That I Saw On Mulberry Street" as a child.  My kids love "The Sleep Book".  And even with bouts of insomnia, that book absolutely cannot be read without yawns all the way around!

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on May 09, 2009:

The first book my son read at 4 was Hop on Pop. It took him an hour and he was everywhich way in the chair.. then we figured out he was reading the pictures. The cup is on the pup. Start over. Cup on pup. it was great to watch him fearlessly struggle thru it, but he made it and was so proud of himself.

Thank you for answering my question.. you did a beautiful job!

Cindy Vine from Cape Town on May 09, 2009:

The Lorax is great to read to slightly older kids, about 8-12 year olds

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on May 09, 2009:

LOL! I love it! You had me at One Hub Two Hub... :D Love the way you rhyme

Related Articles