Monday, March 3, 2008
The Sneetches And Other Stories
The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite, favorite books. It contains "The Sneetches", of course, but it also includes such wonderful stories as, "The Zax" , "Too Many Daves" and "What Was I Scared Of." I grew up with Dr. Seuss, of course, it would be hard for me to imagine a kid who hasn't been exposed to at least some Dr. Seuss in those early years. But to get back on track, I grew up with the record of The Sneetches and Other Stories. Records were wonderful things. Me and my fisher price record player had some great times. Perhaps because of the record, or perhaps just because this book is among the best of the best, the stories have stayed with me through the years. Especially 'The Zax' and 'What Was I Scared Of'. I think this collection perhaps more than any other captures something about humanity, about human nature. This collection is for children, but in some ways it is even more for adults. It is humorous, yes, but it is also very wise.
The Sneetches: "Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars. Those stars weren't so big. They were really so small you might think such a thing wouldn't matter at all." What a great beginning for this little tale about judging others based on their appearances, a tale about labeling yourself 'superior' and everyone else 'inferior.' Sylvester McMonkey McBean arrives on the scene with his star-off, star-on machine. He thinks that Sneetches are too stubborn, too stupid to learn...you'll have to read for yourself to see if his maxim of "you can't teach a Sneetch" rings true.
The Zax is another tale about stubborn people who are unwilling to compromise. (Of course this never ever ever happens in real life). "One day, making tracks in the prairie of Prax, came a North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax." This one makes for some fun reenactment.
Too Many Davies is just too too much fun. I love it. It is perhaps one of the funnest poems I've ever come across. It's such fun, such joy to read aloud, to listen to the sounds, the rhythms. What's your favorite name? Do you have one? Mine has to be Oliver Boliver Butt.
What Was I Scared Of? This one along with the Zax often gets quoted--or was often quoted at my house. The three of us (mom, sis, and me) had it practically memorized. And not just the text. We had the record--the narrator--memorized as well so we could mimic his style. It's a very clear memory! This story, this parable, is very relevant. I think it will always, always be relevant. It is about fear. About fearing 'the unknown.' About fearing those that are 'different' or 'strange.' If you're familiar with this one, feel free to share your favorite lines. But if I had to pick, I'd choose "I ran and found a Brickel bush. I hid myself away. I got brickels in my britches but I stayed there anyway" as my favorite. But on second thoughts, maybe this would have a slight edge, "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." I can't choose. I can't. Every word, every syllable is genius.
Do you have memories of reading The Sneetches and Other Stories? Do you have a favorite story? A favorite quote? I'd love to hear about it!