Dr. Seuss’s children’s books have been cherished classics for decades, and they have recently gained a fresh spotlight thanks to Hollywood film adaptations of The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who, and (most recently) The Lorax. They are beloved stories that contain timeless truth…but they are more than that.
As soon as I found out that I was pregnant with our first child I began purchasing every Dr. Seuss book I could find. I was so excited for an excuse to finally get started on my collection. We are currently well on our way to collecting every Dr. Seuss book in print, thanks to used books stores, library sales, and Amazon (when all second-hand options have been exhausted). My son, who is now 16-months-old, loves books, and I am delighted to say that Dr. Seuss is one of his favorites. In fact, I think our family has figured out that I am trying to indoctrinate him early.
I can’t deny it. Anyone who observes our reading times together will realize very quickly that I love the books more than he does. I love the illustrations, the poetry, and the phrasing. I love the honest and mischievous tone in the writing. I love how my soul feels reading the fanciful stories that deliver such poignant truths. I want to to see the world from a Dr. Seuss perspective–a Dr. Seuss “worldview”–and I want may son to do so as well. In fact, I wish everyone would.
“Dr. Seuss has a worldview?” you might ask with skepticism. Oh yes! No, it may not be the systematic, answers-all-of-life’s-questions, wraps-it-up-in-a-tight-package-with-a-bow conceptualization of “worldview,” which many Christian apologists construct and to which they adhere. But it has a worldview. It is actually a view of the world that rejects a systematic, mystery-absent, apologetic approach to thinking about the world. Suess presents a world that one can and should approach with humility and a sense of wonder. You hope as a parent that you model the approach to life that you want your children to possess with wild abandon. I have often thought during those precious moments reading with my son that he (and I) would both get along just fine if we maintain a spirit of humility and sense of wonder in our search for knowledge and the day-to-day rituals we live-out in our journey of life.
For those who have never considered such an underlying worldview in these popular children’s books–or if you have not ventured much further than The Lorax or The Cat in the Hat–here are a few titles (some with my favorite excerpts) to check out — the crème de la crème in my opinion.
Oh the Places You’ll Go:
“You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”
On Beyond Zebra:
“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!”
Horton Hears a Who:
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street