"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason."
Dr. Seuss's small-hearted Grinch ranks right up there with Scrooge when it comes to the crankiest, scowling holiday grumps of all time.
For 53 years, the Grinch has lived in a cave on the side of a mountain, looming above the Whos in Whoville. The noisy holiday preparations and infernal singing of the happy little citizens below annoy him to no end. The Grinch decides this frivolous merriment must stop. His "wonderful, awful" idea is to don a Santa outfit, strap heavy antlers on his poor, quivering dog Max, construct a makeshift sleigh, head down to Whoville, and strip the chafingly cheerful Whos of their Yuletide glee once and for all.
Looking quite out of place and very disturbing in his makeshift Santa get-up, the Grinch slithers down chimneys with empty bags and stealing the Whos' presents, their food, even the logs from their humble Who-fires. He takes the ramshackle sleigh to Mt. Crumpit to dump it and waits to hear the sobs of the Whos when they wake up and discover the trappings of Christmas have disappeared. Imagine the Whos' dismay when they discover the evil-doings of Grinch in his anti-Santa guise. But what is that sound? It's not sobbing, but singing! Children simultaneously adore and fear this triumphant, twisted Seussian testimonial to the undaunted cheerfulness of the Whos, the transcendent nature of joy, and of course, the growth potential of a heart that's two sizes too small.
This holiday classic is perfect for reading aloud to your favorite little Whos.
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born 2 March 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. 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 cartoons and humorous articles for them. Additionally, he was submitting cartoons to Life, Vanity Fair and Liberty. In some of his works, he'd made reference to an insecticide called Flit. These references gained notice, and led to a contract to draw comic ads for Flit. This association lasted 17 years, gained him national exposure, and coined the catchphrase "Quick, Henry, the Flit!"
In 1936 on the way to a vacation in Europe, listening to the rhythm of the ship's engines, he came up with And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which was then promptly rejected by the first 43 publishers he showed it to. Eventually in 1937 a friend published the book for him, and it went on to at least moderate success.
During World War II, Geisel joined the army and was sent to Hollywood. Captain Geisel would write for Frank Capra's Signal Corps Unit (for which he won the Legion of Merit) and do documentaries (he won Oscar's for Hitler Lives and Design for Death). He also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which also won him an Oscar.
In May of 1954, Life published a report concerning illiteracy among school children. The report said, among other things, that children were having trouble to read because their books were boring. This inspired Geisel's publisher, and prompted him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important, asked him to cut the list to 250 words (the publishers idea of how many words at one time a first grader could absorb), and write a book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 220 of the words given to him published The Cat in the Hat, which went on to instant success.
In 1960 Bennett Cerf bet Geisel $50 that he couldn't write an entire book using only fifty words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham. Cerf never paid the $50 from the bet.
Helen Palmer Geisel died in 1967. Theodor Geisel married Audrey Stone Diamond in 1968. Theodor Seuss Geisel died 24 September 1991.
WHERE ARE YOU, CHRISTMAS? WHY DID YOU MOVE AWAY? Faith Hill
How the Grinch Stole Christmas was a sorta watershed kiddies’ picture book for me when I was seven.
For I had graduated to the childishly ‘more adult’ stage of my reading career, since the previous summer I had seen firsthand the vastness of Canada, on a cross-country train trip with many a whistle stop.
Each train station, of course, had a smoke shop (natch - it was 1957, and EVERYONE smoked EVERYWHERE!) with rows and rows of family magazines and COMIC BOOKS.
My bro, David, and I POUNCED on those comics, now that Mom as well as Dad was bringing home the bacon. After all, comics cost only cost ten cents back then.
Money was no object now.
Anything for us rascally boys - anything to get us out of the adults’ hair for a few sec’s while they sat up in the CPR Train Observation Deck and made small talk over the unwinding, spectacular scenery.
Sis, well-behaved as always, sat primly and quietly by their side... ever the smartest sibling.
Well, when we arrived in Vancouver three full days later, our suitcases were BULGING with all the comics we had acquired.
We boys had seen the world (in moments when we actually peered outside)!
Two real Kosmopolitan Kids... we had become a Waste of Space.
Fall came inevitably, with school and both parents now working full-time, but for us - hanging around with our li’l buddies - we each had a whole Hockey Sock fulla comics to trade for MORE new ones.
Can you tell? We kids were becoming spoiled - rotten.
So when November came around and Mom read to us from the brand new How the Grinch Stole Christmas - with its great message about the Real Meaning of Yuletide (and no, it’s NOT about amassing gifts: sorry, Mr. Grinch) - we were just plain Bored.
And ready to get back to our street hockey pals and More comic book trading, the next day.
When you’re suddenly spoiled rotten, the meaning totally disappears outta Christmas -
As it did for us -
And yes, even for our lives!
And it took ME all of 60 long years, and much sweat ‘n tears:
Lo, good people, here is the hagiography of the Grinch and his Christmas miracle that canonized his tumultuous tale of midnight mischief. With each returning of the season, the tale of the Grinch is told again and again, bewitching the hearts and minds of children as a message on the meaning of the season to cut through all the packages, boxes and bags that clutter our hearts and homes during this time. For the Grinch, a foul creature who stomped about in a cave and, upon his 53rd season, engaged in a great act of mass larceny, is not unlike St. Godric of Finchale as is put down in the book of Godric) by Frederick Buechner. Yet upon the dawning of the Christmas Day, with his faithful beast Max in tow, his heart grew not just one size, nay not even two, but THREE, THREE sizes that Christmas morn! An expression of the trinity, a great christmas miracle and we, too, grew with that great heart! I move to petition for immediate canonization of Sainthood for Ethan Grinch of Whoville, a beast not unlike ourselves who demonstrates the power of a change of heart and a return to tenderness.
Okay but all jokes aside, are the Who’s celebrating the birth of Human Jesus or is there a Who nativity story? Or perhaps this is some Who Saturnalia?
I love this book. It is one I have read or seen so many times I can recite it from memory, which I have done for my children on several occasions. There are slight differences between the book and animated film (red vs black thread, and the book doesn’t contain whimsical Who-world presents) though I’ve found that the changes in the animated actually read much smoother and I see why the alterations were made (the “it was merry! VERY!” part reads very clunkily in the book). A holiday classic for sure.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight,
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was too sizes too small,
Okay, people, this is it!
This is my favorite tale by Dr. Seuss, and I am quite certain that it must be the most popular and known of his works.
We are in Who-ville again and The Grinch is up to no good with mischievious plans to steal Christmas from there.
But you can’t steal something that really is immaterial.
The very word “Grinch” has been added to our common talk in Christmas’ season, as a true testament of the real impact of Dr. Seuss’ work in our popular world culture.
One of the strongest message by Dr. Seuss remembering us that Christmas isn’t in a store, it isn’t something that you receive, but it’s something in your heart and soul that you happily give to others.
The story was published as a book by Random House in 1957. The Grinch is a bitter, grouchy, cave-dwelling creature with a heart "two sizes too small" who is living as a hermit on the snowy Mount Crumpit, a steep high mountain just north of the town of Whoville, home of the merry and warm-hearted Whos.
His only companion is his unloved, but loyal dog, Max. From his cave, the Grinch can hear the noisy Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville. Continuously annoyed, he devises a wicked scheme to steal their presents, trees, and food for their Christmas feast.
He crudely disguises himself as Santa Claus, and forces Max, disguised as a reindeer, to drag a sleigh down the mountain towards Whoville. Once at Whoville, the Grinch slides down the chimney of one house and steals all of the Whos' Christmas presents, the Christmas tree, and the log for their fire.
He is briefly interrupted in his burglary by Cindy Lou, a little Who girl, but concocts a crafty lie to effect his escape from her home. After stealing from one house, he does the same thing to all the other houses in the village of Whoville. ...
تاریخ نخستین خوانش نسخه اصلی: سال 2002میلادی
عنوان: چطور گرینچ کریسمس را دزدید!؛ اثری از: زوس (دکتر سوس)؛ مترجم: یاسمن عزیزی؛ تهران یاران علوی، 1397؛ در 31ص؛ مصور، بخشی رنگی؛ شابک 9789648583441؛ موضوع: داستانهای کودکان از نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20م
گرینچ در غاری بالای شهر هوزها زندگی میکند؛ گرینچ یک شخصیت عبوس با قلبی دوبرابر بیش از حد کوچک است، که پنجاه و سه سال است از کریسمس متنفر است، و به دنبال راهی برای دزدیدن آن است؛ شب کریسمس، او فکر کرد که میتواند کریسمس را که در حال آمدن به محله های شهر هوزها است، بدزدد؛ وقتی او سگش مکس را با سر و صورت برفی که شبیه ریش شده است میبیند، میپندارد که بهتر است خود را شبیه بابانول کند و کریسمس را برباید...؛ براساس این کتاب کودکان، یک پویا نمایی (انیمیشن) نیز ساخته شده است.؛
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 02/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
I probably watched this show about a million times and read the book as a kid at least as many and it was immensely pleasurable to share it with my kids. A wonderful story about the real spirit of giving and love. It might be my very favorite xmas story of all. An absolute must.
This was a read-along and my first Dr. Seuss read😄! I think my mom bought a copy for me when I was little, a hazy memory of seeing it in a basket, but I don't remember reading it. I wish I still have it.
The audiobook narrated by Walter Matthau was a winner, I'm sure I want to listen to this again next year along with a picture book. 🎄
Thank you Debbie for your recent Dr. Seuss reviews that inspired me to pick one up!❤️
I bought this for my youngest daughter, 4-years old, as a surprise, early Christmas present. Suffice to say, this classic tale has aged well. She loved it as much as I did when I was her age. A little girl enjoying a great Christmas story with a good moral to it, and fond memories of her enthralled from start to finish is definitely a 5-star rating in my book!
I've just now read this classic, a long way out of Christmas season, and discovered it was a lot more amusing than the film and the cartoon adaptations, which were until today my only sources of knowledge about the plot. It's much simpler than both, more focused on children, and devoid of the superfluous romantic elements the Jim Carrey film had. Definitely better! And with a clearer message.
Book Review 4+ stars to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, a children's picture book, written in 1957 by Dr. Seuss. I adored this favorite as a child, and I still watch the cartoon ever year at Christmas. I've also seen the Jim Carrey movie and will watch that one, too. It's such a wonderful take of love and revenge...
Most folks who celebrate Christmas must have read or seen some version of this story at some point in their lives. If not, it's basically a grinch that wants to stop Christmas because he has no heart... but when he sees the heartache he causes on all the children who no longer have presents under the tree (because he stole them), his heart grows bigger... and he returns everything ten-fold.
It's a feel-good kinda story, when you are down and need something to make you feel better. But it has rhymes and beautiful pictures as well as moral lessons.
Every version brings something new to my eyes and mind and ears. I love this story and would watch it All the "who" people and the way the town celebrates Christmas... it's May and all I can think about is watching it right now!
About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
It has been too long since I read this book. The word play and rhyme, the pure Seussian joy in language is all on display here. Plus the wonderful message that even in life’s disappointments, we should do as the Whos do, and sing a joyful song! The pleasures of this book are only enhanced by reading it out loud, to yourself or others, it matters not. And if there are children in your life, make sure they know what it is like to have this book read out loud to them!
And the classic 1966 animated TV show is one of the best book-to-film adaptations ever. When I was a kid, we made sure to catch that show Every. Single. Year. when it was shown on TV around Christmas (back in the dinosaur age, before DVRs or even videocassettes). Boris Karloff was a brilliant narrator, the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (which is NOT in the book, but which Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) wrote for the show) is amazing, and the Grinch and Max's wild sled ride down the hill will never, ever get old for me.
But this book is where it all started, with the Grinch up on his lonely mountaintop, scowling down at Whoville and their sappiness and good cheer. (And let's not forget the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!) So he decides to steal Christmas, haha!
It's funny, poignant, and it creates an unforgettable character in the Grinch. He's kind of a Seussian version of Ebenezer Scrooge. And it's a great reminder about at least one of the true meanings of Christmas - not the religious meaning, but that love and friendship are more important than material things.
We still need that reminder, maybe now more than ever.
Have a great Christmas season, and may we never forget what's truly important!
How is it that I did not recall that the Grinch in the book is not green? Picking up Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas for a holiday-time re-read, I found that that realization was what really struck me. There is green in the book, of course – the back cover and the spine are green, and Dr. Seuss’s name on the front cover is green, and there are jagged green accent marks around the picture of the Grinch on the cover. But the Grinch himself? White, with red eyes. Somehow, that changed the way I experienced the whole book.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas was originally published in 1957. In the 60-plus years since its publication, it has become a familiar part of the North American Christmastime holiday ritual – in part, no doubt, because of Chuck Jones’s 1966 television cartoon feature How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, with Boris Karloff starring both as narrator and as a very green Grinch. The music alone influences how we look at and think of this particular Christmas story: “You’re a mean one, Mister Grinch/You really are a heel/You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel…”
Strange to reflect that that song is nowhere to be found in Dr. Seuss’s original book – indeed, that the book was making a powerful impression upon children and parents alike for the nine years when there was only a book: no TV adaptation, with no songs. Perhaps that happened because Dr. Seuss’s poetry has a musicality of its own.
At its growing-three-sizes heart, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a drama of reclamation, like other Christmas classics from Charles Dickens’s novella A Christmas Carol (1843) to Frank Capra’s film It’s a Wonderful Life (1947). The formula for this sort of reclamation drama is a familiar one by now: a character – whether his name is Ebenezer Scrooge, or George Bailey, or The Grinch – finds himself lost in moral darkness as Christmas draws near.
Against the backdrop of a society-wide celebration of a Christmas holiday that is mainly or exclusively secular (with the religious origins of the holiday alluded to only briefly, or not at all), the protagonist is eventually infused with the spirit of the season – often though not always through the intercession of one or more interlocutors who somehow embody holiday cheer – and goes forth spiritually renewed, as a better and more compassionate character.
And so it is with How the Grinch Stole Christmas. As I trust we all know by now, the Grinch is a furry humanoid creature that lives in the hills outside of Who-ville. For reasons that are never made altogether clear – a kind of “motiveless malignity” akin to Coleridge’s description of Iago from Shakespeare’s Othello – the Grinch hates the local residents, the Whos, and particularly the way the Whos celebrate Christmas. Determined to stop all the things he hates about Christmas – the children playing with their toys, the feasting, the singing – the Grinch determines to “stop Christmas from coming” by stealing the whole holiday, lock, stock, and tinsel, from every single Who in Who-ville. Spoiler alert: things do not go according to grinchy plan.
Returning to this book after many years away from it, I was struck by a number of things – aside from a distressingly non-green Grinch. Most of the lines of poetry are so familiar, from repeat viewings of both the 1966 TV cartoon and the more recent film adaptations from the years 2000 and 2018, that I found myself focusing in on some of the lesser-known lines. I was struck, for example, by the way Dr. Seuss described the Grinch “Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown/At the warm lighted windows below in their town.” The accompanying visual shows the Grinch at the mouth of his cave, grimacing down at four vaguely pumpkin-shaped Who houses. Everything is snow-white, cold white, except for the red of the Grinch’s eyes and the red of the lighted windows in the Whos’ warm houses. One feels the frozen exile of the Grinch – both the cold winter temperatures outside, and the even more bitter coldness of the Grinch’s tiny heart.
Against those images of the Grinch’s bitter loneliness, his absolute isolation, it makes sense that he obsesses endlessly about the Christmas fun the Who’s will be having – a two-page spread in which he envisions the chaos of Who children with tennis rackets and hockey sticks and big bass drums and toy trains and jack-in-the-boxes, under a bunting that bears the words “MERRY MERRY”; another two-page spread that shows the Whos assembling for their holiday feast at a table shaped like a giant reversed letter “S” under a huge wreath adorned with the words “MERRY MERRY”; and a final two-page spread that shows the Who’s standing in a circle, joyfully singing. I find myself putting these images together with an oft-overlooked line from this otherwise widely-quoted and universally known text: “Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now!”
“Fifty-three.” Interesting. Dr. Seuss, born in 1904, was 53 years old when How the Grinch Stole Christmas was published in 1957. We all know the pressure that the Christmas holiday puts on us to be “MERRY MERRY,” regardless of the difficulties and misfortunes that may be unfolding in our lives at any given time. We are besieged with media-generated images of perfect happy families enjoying perfect merry Christmases, in a way that’s enough to remind the rest of us that we don’t achieve that sort of holiday perfection. Is that not enough to bring out the Grinch in anyone?
I think it was a remarkable act of intellectual honesty on Dr. Seuss’s part to make the Grinch his own age, to identify on that level with the Grinch – to suggest, gently and subtly, that there’s a little bit of the Grinch in all of us.
I was also struck by two images that one sees in one of the most crucial moments from the book – the moment when the Grinch, in his first act of Christmas thievery, is caught in the act by “Little Cindy-Lou-Who, who was not more than two”, who understandably wants to know why “Santy Claus” is taking the family Christmas tree up the chimney. As the Grinch invents his lie about fixing a broken light on the tree, he closes his red eyes; and with his red eyes closed, he looks much more benign, remarkably like the Cat in the Hat. Perhaps Dr. Seuss is making a point regarding how easy it is for all of us to practice deceit; a Grinch can, quick as a flash, seem to become a Cat in the Hat, even a Santa Claus. It is all a matter of whether the listener sees only what he or she wants to see.
We know, of course, that the Grinch undergoes a change of heart. Standing with his ill-gotten gains atop Mount Crumpit, listening in hopes of hearing lamentation and weeping from the Who’s who have had all their Christmas presents stolen from them, the Grinch, “with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,” finds that the Who’s are not crying, but rather singing. Christmas, he learns, “doesn’t come from a store”; his tiny heart grows three sizes. “And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight,/He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light”. Gifts returned, roast beast carved, Christmas saved – all is well.
Or is it? A couple of Christmas seasons ago, I was at a Hallmark store in Gainesville, Virginia, picking up some stocking stuffers. The clerk complimented me on my Christmas tie, and I expressed a hope that customers were behaving well in spite of the stress of the holiday season. “Most,” the clerk said with a weary smile. “We do get some Grinches.” Being a Grinch is a choice that is all too easy for us to make; and all of us, through a harsh word, an unkind remark, a thoughtless gesture, have stolen a little bit of someone else’s Christmas at one time or another. There is, as stated above, more than a little bit of the Grinch in all of us. Dr. Seuss, in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, reminds us not to let our own hearts grow “two sizes too small.”
“All the windows were dark No one knew he was here All the Who's were all dreaming Sweet dreams without care…”
Obviously How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a 5 star rating. I mean come on it deserves NOTHING less. Seeing as how it is a positively brilliant classic!! I know it's a children's picture book, that was written back in 1957 by the one and only Dr. Seuss but this book is everything. It feels as though I have always known about The Grinch, it has always been a HUGE part of my childhood (every Christmas). Oh, how I LOVED this book as a child and really I still do. I pretty much know all the words by heart. The illustrations are big and bold and are really fun. I enjoy all of the rhymings too it makes it that much more fun when reading aloud with kids. I have seen the 1966 animated television special so many times, it was a once a year celebration.
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
*I was over the moon excited when I learned of the Jim Carrey movie that was to come out back in 2000. It is a favorite of mine and it always will be. I watch it every Christmas too.*
(I have to admit, I too cannot stand Christmas music lol)
I and my wife are surely reading to our little Who's when they are born.
The undercurrent of the story presents to you a question as to not "How" but rather "Why" did the the Grinch stole the Christmas from the merry making Who people.
Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot
But the Grinch who lived just North of Whoville did not!
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
He loathes the idea of celebration and fun. Sweets and light and everything associated with the near end of December.
Grinch is like that Grumpy old cat
Just outside the perimeters of the happy village of our little people, lives in a cave The Grinch. Old, unhappy and nasty. He plans to hijack the opportunity from the Whoville to say Merry Christmas to each other.
Slowly and stealthily (and yes, sometimes not so STEALTHILY) starts taking away candies, sweets, gifts and the decorations. He relishes a sadistic joy in his heart and tugs all the happiness of the festival in his dark cave.
However things do not turn out as planned.
And he realizes what's in fact true.
The moral message that it sends out - in this ever twisting, looping and cannon balling style of writing - is that the joy is not only materialistic. It's much profounder than that.
Change in heart and the mettle to accept your shortcomings along with the trademark rhyming scheme of Dr. Seuss makes it a book that you simply can't rate less than 5.
The warmth in your heart can kindle about the coldest of woods.
I’m not sure how I missed reading this book as a child. The only explanation that I can come up with was that I wasn’t a fan of the TV show because my absolute favorite was and still is, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I thought the Grinch was mean and nasty and the Whos were just irritating and Little Cindy Who was more than annoying! Did love Max the dog but that’s probably because I love dogs! Ah! My younger self! 😮😂
Fast forward to adulthood, after reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I see what a delightful, really heartwarming story this book is. Lonely, mean, Grinch finds the true meaning of Christmas which is love!
"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
Of course it is a five star rating. How could it be less. I can pretty much say it by heart when I read it at Christmas time. It is always brought out, just like the Night Before Christmas. Those reading always takes center stage in our Christmas traditions. Once we read the book, we watch the original cartoon. sometimes we even watch the movie The Grinch to top off the perfectly Grinchy evening.
The Grinch is a grouchy, lonely creature who lives near the town of Whoville. Annoyed by Whoville’s noisy Christmas festivities for many years now, the Grinch decides to end it once and for all. He dresses up like Santa and goes into town in the middle of the night. He steals all the Christmas gifts and decorations from the homes. But when the people of Whoville wake up, the Grinch finally learns what Christmas is all about.
This heart-warming story teaches us that Christmas doesn’t come from the store. Christmas is not about the presents. It’s about the people, nothing more.
The Grinch is like a kid’s version of Ebenezer Scrooge. This is just a really fun and short read that warms you up for Christmas.
“All the windows were dark No one knew he was here All the Who's were all dreaming Sweet dreams without care…”
I’ve always been aware of The Grinch for as long as I can remember but I’ve never actually read Dr Seuss’s classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Well, what better time to rectify that than in December, eh? I’m glad I now finally have but I found it a bit underwhelming.
You probably know the story already but for those who don’t: a grumpy monster called The Grinch decides to steal all the presents and trimmings out of the homes in Whoville on Christmas eve in an attempt to ruin his most hated holiday. Though, of course, it ends happily and sappily with The Grinch learning a valuable lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.
I loved seeing Dr Seuss’s art again. His unique, imaginative, loopy, almost haunting in a weird way, visual style took me right back to my childhood. The Grinch is a great character too, from his name to his design, and a wonderful addition to Christmas as a whole – I can’t argue with his appeal and cultural impact.
But this book doesn’t have Dr Seuss’s best rhymes. He rhymes “noise” with “noise”, “feast” with “feast”, “sing” with “sing”, and so on – unlike his other books, the couplets aren’t very clever or imaginative. The ending is very abrupt too – almost jarring – in how suddenly it wraps things up.
My biggest criticism though is telling kids that Christmas isn’t about material presents but about something more substantial, meaningful and profound like community, friends and family. A laudable sentiment from an adult’s perspective, and understandable coming from a childless man like Dr Seuss was; except, for kids, Christmas IS about material presents – that’s the whole point! That goes away when you grow up – nowadays for me, I look forward to the break from work, sleeping in, the food, the drink; I couldn’t give a fig for the presents! And snow? Bah! An annoying seasonal inconvenience! – but I remember how excited I got about opening the presents on Christmas Day and playing in the snow when I were a whippersnapper. The message in this book, attempting to take that joy away from kids, is an almost Grinch-like sentiment! Let kids be kids - let them enjoy the superficiality and the presents, and guilt them into charity, etc. after they’ve grown up and lost interest in that aspect of Christmas.
I’ll probably be accused of being too Grinch-y myself in being in any way critical of this beloved children’s classic, and it’s a fine story if a bit too plain and unremarkable, but How The Grinch Stole Christmas definitely isn't among Dr Seuss's best books. A good side effect of reading this book though was reminding me of Aimee Mann and Grant-Lee Phillips’ immensely catchy cover of You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch which I highly recommend listening to and which I quoted from at the top of the review.
That’s what I was going to write for my last Christmas read. But the thing is, I actually did not know all that much about the Grinch. What a nice coincidence then that I got this book for Christmas. And it wasn’t a coincidence at all. My Santa knows me very well, as all the presents I got were carefully chosen, very personal gifts. How nice is that?! Five stars for my Santa. :)
For the book itself, however, I can only give three stars, I’m afraid. The message is great. But how we got to the point where the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes was just a little too easy for my liking. That’s only partially the book’s fault. It is meant to be for younger children and not for grumpy middle-aged men, I guess. Okay, I do not in fact see myself as grumpy, or middle-aged for that matter. But you get the idea.
I might not get super excited about the holidays. But I was very happy about this Christmas present.
I don't remember being read this book as a child....and what a dreadful oversight that was. The book is a delight....even read at the end of January, after the fanfare of Christmas has subsided, it is still a great pleasure.
Mr meanie Grinch, doesn't like Christmas because "his heart is two sizes too small." Instead he plans a wicked scheme to deprive the people of Whoville of their precious Christmas. Fortunately he doesn't succeed, because the spirit of this celebration lies in more than the material treats we associate with it. Mr Grinch was flummoxed by this "he puzzled for hours till his puzzler was sore....", but in the end he was overcome by the villagers goodwill. He changed his values, and emerged a new and better man, and made good his horrible behaviours.
I loved the story, and also its effortless rhyming. The illustrations, just sketches in black and white, highlighted with red, are superb.
What an endearing read....
With thanks to Open Library, where I read it for free.
Una sera di dicembre, sentendomi grinchoso, ho deciso di rilegger questo libro favoloso. Breve è breve, questo è certo, ma di un'intensità che ad ogni rilettura io ci trovo novità. Perché a tutti, prima o poi, per qualsiasi motivo, stanchezza, parenti logorroici od un guaio aggiuntivo, può capitare un anno d'avere in uggia le feste, e se questo è quell'anno, beh, leggere Il Grinch voi dovreste.