Once again, a simple and straightforward and transcendent and beautiful book by Dr. Seuss has been turned into a candy-colored 3-D animated movie with celebrity voices and excruciatingly inappropriate merchandising partners. The Lorax might be better than past efforts to translate the author’s vision to the big screen — EW’s Owen Gleiberman rates it a B+ — but really, the best thing that can possibly come of The Lorax is that it will encourage parents everywhere to buy or (gag) download the book that inspired it. It’s difficult to describe the particular magic of Dr. Seuss’ writing. The author, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote mostly in anapestic tetrameter, a breathless rhythm that made every page feel like a joyful sprint from the classroom to the schoolyard. In honor of the release of The Lorax, here are a few of my personal favorite Seuss quotes.
From Yertle the Turtle, an incredible double line filled with mock-grandiosity that’s essentially a rewrite of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” except with better rhymes:
And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
From On Beyond Zebra, an underrated Seuss book where a kid invents all the letters after Z, thereby letting the corner of Seuss’ brain that enjoyed preventing words run wild:
Then just a step further past Wum is for Wumbus
And there you’ll find UM. And the Um is for Umbus
A sort of a Cow, with one head and one tail,
But to milk this great cow you need more than one pail!
She has ninety-eight faucets that give milk quite nicely.
Perhaps ninety-nine. I forgot just precisely.
And, boy! She is something most people don’t see
Because most people stop at the Z
But not me!
From The Butter Battle Book, my personal favorite read, because of how eloquently it combines his zany stuff (funny machines!) with a clear-cut message (huzzah for moral relativism!):
My Bright Back Room Boys have been brighter than bright.
They’ve thought up a gadget that’s Newer than New.
It is filled with mysterious Moo-Lacka-Moo
and can blow all those Zooks clear to Sala-ma-goo.
THEY’VE INVENTED THE BITSY BIG-BOY BOOMEROO!
And last but not least, a line that can’t help but make your heart hurt a little bit, from Horton Hears a Who!:
Don’t give up! I believe in you all.
A person’s a person, no matter how small!
Fellow Seuss fans, what are your favorites?
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