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What Was I Scared Of?
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What Was I Scared Of?

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,851 ratings  ·  116 reviews

What's a pair of empty green trousers doing standing by itself in the woods? Or riding a bike in Grin-itch?Or fishing on Roover River?The narrator certainly doesn't want to find out but wherever he goes, he's haunted by the spooky empty pants. Finally, when the two find themselves hiding from each other in a Snide bush, the terrified narrator realizes, "I was just as stran

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published July 22nd 1997 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinCharlotte's Web by E.B. White
Best children's books EVER
146th out of 1,001 books — 1,239 voters
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. SeussOh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss
16th out of 24 books — 42 voters

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Community Reviews

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This book TERRIFIED me to no end as a child. Well into my 20s, I remember shuddering at the illustrations of the empty pants, framed in the eerie blue of twilight, jumping off a clothesline and chasing a little boy through the woods. If ever Dr. Seuss came up in conversation I would ask a friend, "Do you remember such and such a book about the pants?" Sure enough I would meet a fellow traveler who was also terrified of this book. Who cares about the payoff, the setup is enough to strike life-lon...more
"I said, I do not fear those pants with nobody inside them. I said, and said, and said those words. I said them but I lied them."

O to think that I shall never see
A way to write like Dr. Seuss.
And even if I did,
Well, it would be completely derivative.
Laura Hayes
My favorite Dr. Seuss book.
Kathryn Cunningham
What could be scarier than walking deep in the woods in the middle of a dark night? Running smack dab into a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside 'em, that's what! And what if those pants seemed to be tailing you, nearly running you down with their bicycle as you fetched some spinach in Grin-itch, then catching you unawares while fishing for Doubt-trout on Roover River, and finally cornering you in a spooky Snide-field as you were picking your peck of Snide. Yes, a pair of pale green pant...more
Caroline Petty
This is a fun book to read around halloween time when children are excited about all of the holiday's "scary" activities. It's so silly that everyone is sure to enjoy it. It could also be used to relate to school as well. Becasue many children are afraid of the anxiety or the myths that come along with a new school year, this book could be a teacher's way of lightening the mood and the environment of the classroom in a way that makes students laugh.
This has always been one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, mostly because the idea is so bizarre yet somehow poignant -- a guy afraid of a pair of empty pale green pants. My favorite line: "I said, 'I do not fear those pants with nobody inside them.' I said and said and said those words. I said them, but I lied them."
We all love this book! It's hard to beat Dr. Seuss's "pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them."
I read this to my child A LOT, he is/was super scared of the dark. This book glows in the dark, and since I happen to own a black light we read it under that. It's really fun. I found a pair of pale green pants and stuffed them to make them look like the "pale green pants with no one inside them" he digs it and it really has helped with the whole being afraid of the dark business. It was such a big hit that I had to buy multiple copies, myself, the grandparents and my 2 nieces. It's in my Top 5...more
Brianna Jones
Genre:Picture book

Reading Level: early to transitional

Topics and Themes:This book discusses the topic of fear. The main character keeps running into a pair of "pale green pants" throughout the story. He is scared but finds out that the pants are also afraid of him. By the end of the story they are friends and wave to each other instead of running in fear.

Curricular Use: Guided Reading or Independent reading

Social: Everyone has something they are afraid of. This story shows that sometimes when y...more
I first read this in the Sneetches book when I was a kid. Dead terrified of it, I was...those disembodied pants were just too much. My re-read as an adult, though, made me see a good theme. I don't think I could read it to a young kid, having been so traumatized by it as a child, but I think it would make a good tie-in book for older elementary or middle school for the theme of facing fears.
I hadn't even heard of this story until I had my son and started reading him all the Seuss I could get my hands on. This is absolutely my favorite. It flows perfectly when read aloud and it's so creepy and funny. One of my favorite lines ever: "I said, I do not fear those pants with nobody inside them. I said, and said, and said those words. I said them but I lied them."
My 2 1/2 year old son is on a Dr. Suess kick, and What Was I Scared of? Is his current favorite. I think part of the allure is the deep color of the pages with just the main character and those pale green pants popping off each page. The rhyming in Suess books is sure to please any small child.
I noticed quite a few people reviewed this book as having scared them as a child. I had never read this book before - and it does not appear to have any "scare" effect on my child. He loves the story - and...more
Read last night to two of my grandkids, the story was pretty good but the glow in the dark illustrations were a big hit!
Laura Elizabeth
This was an addition in one of my Dr. Seuss books. We loved it! I recommend it for anyone with small children! It's so cute!
I really like this book, I'm not sure why. It hints as fear, but shows that its nothing you should entertain.
I liked how the pants and the narrator became friends although they were afraid of one another at first.
May 06, 2012 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a silly, but clever tale about irrational fear and the things that scare us. In this case, a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them is the source of all the upset. (I'm sure most of us would at least be concerned if we were in the same situation!) The rhymes and illustrations are classic Dr. Seuss and while the story will not likely cure a child's fear, it can help validate it. Overall, it's an entertaining rhyming tale and I enjoyed listening to our oldest read it aloud to us....more
Love this one! I have read it since I was very little!
Tim Laven
Wonderful - a classic Dr Seuss and this glows in the dark!
I actually already read this story in "The Sneetches and Other Stories," by Dr. Seuss! I did read it again, though! It was just as good as the first time!

Scholastic Book Club purchase.
Could be my favorite Dr Seuss book!
Feb 13, 2014 Erica added it
Making friends with a pair of pants.
Jun 12, 2014 Simone added it
Always excellent
Waits has become fascinated with his Dr. Seuss books, especially this one. A gift from his uncle Jamin, What Was I Scared of? is the tale of an encounter with "a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them." A favorite of Jamin's and mine when we were little, it still makes me laugh out loud. I think that Waits is more attracted to the illustrations at this point. He likes to turn each page and exclaim "Oh!" at the characters' expressions. He also likes to find the moon in each picture.
This book terrified me as a child, but perhaps only because my brothers (perhaps) told me stories about pale green pants hanging out in the closet or something. And now, I think it is the most wonderful story - right up there with The Giving Tree and The Lorax.

And the pants with nobody inside them riding a bike is my favorite picture.

A true classic. I heard it for the first time probably in about 1979, have read it a thousand times at least and just read it again last night.
ok, so this has to be my favorite Dr. Seuss book of ALL time! My sister used to check it out at the library as often as possible when she was 2-3 years old. I don't know why, she memorized the entire thing word for word after the first time and often performed it for large crowds in her little 3 year old voice. Even now, when asked, she can tell it to you without hesitation or prompts from the book! I guess I can understand why; It's a book to live our lives by!
This is a great story about not being afraid of someone because they're different.

The glow-in-the-dark makes no sense. The text doesn't glow so you can't read it in the dark and the parts of the picture that glow have to be exposed to light in order to glow but they're obviously enclosed in the book when you're not reading it so there's no chance for them to charge up. It's a pointless feature. If it doesn't cost extra, fine, but it's rather pointless.
We LOVE the pale green pants! We just got the glow in the dark edition from the library and I'm going to have to buy this one even though we have the basic version already. It's perfect for reading in the dark with a flashlight -- read the text then turn off the light. It's spooky in a silly way.
I don't remember this story at all from my childhood and am so glad we discovered it in a Seuss anthology.
Yeah! I had never heard of this (amazing if you know me) until my friend gave it to my son. He liked it, I liked it, we all liked it. It was the small-sized version, all the more charming.

How freaky can a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them be? Imaginations can be funny. Kindness overcomes fear.

Bonus: I saw a very special glow-in-the-dark edition in a bookstore recently. Very cool!
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Theodor Seuss Geisel was born 2 March 1904 in Springfield, MA. He graduated Dartmouth College in 1925, and proceeded on to Oxford University with the intent of acquiring a doctorate in literature. At Oxford he met Helen Palmer, who he wed in 1927. He returned from Europe in 1927, and began working for a magazine called Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time, submitting both carto...more
More about Dr. Seuss...
Green Eggs and Ham The Cat in the Hat How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Oh, The Places You'll Go! The Lorax

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