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Why I Love the Doctor.

October 11, 2009

The Sunday Salon.com

In light of many things going on in my life, the world and elsewhere, I thought I’d skip the recap of my week and write a review of one of my favorite books as kid and now. Move over, Puff, The Sneetches are here.

Dr. Seuss was a brilliant guy. His WWII era political cartoons are fantastic and if you haven’t taken a look, you absolutely must. Beyond adult humor in a dark time, he wrote some of the most famous and beloved children’s  stories, at least in our house.

Of course, the educational classics start with Go, Dog, Go! but the learning goes far deeper. Yertle the Turtle who holds a creepy similarity to one Adolf Hitler, teaches about absolute power corrupting absolutely. The Lorax who speaks for the trees was green before green was Green with a capital G.

And of course, the Sneetches.

The wonderful Sneetches who don’t just tackle the dumbed down lesson of “different is good” but also the subtler themes of elitism.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, let me tell you, it’s a great one.

starbellyThe scene is set in a beach side community where the elite sect of town is run by the Star Bellied Sneetches. They strut their stuff, high and mighty, playing down to the Plain Bellied Sneetches. One day, in rolls a man who can change all that. Sylvester McMonkey McBean seeks out the Plain Bellies to send them through his contraption for a small fee, producing, on the other side, a starred belly. As predicted, the snooty Star Bellies will have none of this and McBean quickly promises to remove theirs. All caste snobbery is rightly returned until Sneeches start flying willy nilly into the machine confusing all sense of cultural control.

Ok so maybe it’s less parfait-like and more cookie-cutter-like, in the overview, but it still has more substance than most of the “be nice to your neighbors” stories. I think the bit about cliques and pockets is the thing that sticks out to me the most. In an age of image exploitation and bullying, it seems like many adults might benefit from the story as well. We’re never as different as we think we are.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2009 5:00 pm

    We’ve read this book many times to our children! I love the sneetches.

    There is a book by Max Lucado, You Are Special, that is kind of similar, but I personally prefer Sneetches.

    Have you ever read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! That is one of my favorites.

  2. October 12, 2009 9:24 pm

    I love Dr. Seuss! I love all the great messages, the writing and the fun artwork. He was one of a kind!

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