Book Writing AdviceBook, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

4 of Dr. Seuss's Most Beloved Books (For Children and for the Child at Heart)

Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991), better known by his pen name, Doctor Seuss, was an American children's author, illustrator, poet, animator, screenwriter, and filmmaker. His work includes illustrations in more than 60 books, many of which have been some of the most popular children's books of our time. In total, his books have sold over 600 million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

After attending Dartmouth College as an undergraduate student and Lincoln College, Oxford, as a graduate student, Geisel began his career as an illustrator and cartoonist for Vanity Fair and Life, among other publications.

Having won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 for Horton Hatches the Egg and again in 1961 for And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Geisel/Seuss remains one of the most beloved children's book authors and illustrators of all time. With that in mind, here are four Dr. Seuss books you should read to the children in your life (or to your own inner child).

Green Eggs and Ham (1960)

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Photo from

Green Eggs and Ham is considered one of Dr. Seuss's "Beginner Books" and is loved by teachers worldwide for its simplicity and interest to budding readers. It was first published on August 12, 1960, and has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide.

It may come as a surprise to learn how this iconic children's book was written as a bet between Seuss and Bennet Cerf, his publisher. The bet was whether Seuss (who had just written The Cat in the Hat using 236 words) could write a book with only 50 words. Seuss, of course, won the bet. The 50 words are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

The plot centers on Sam-I-Am, who tries to convince his friend, Guy-Am-I, to eat a dish of green eggs and ham. Guy responds, I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am, and repeats this throughout eight different locations (house, box, car, tree, train, dark, rain, boat) and with three animals (mouse, fox, goat). Guy-Am-I still refuses to eat them, both in the current location (here), the previous location (there), or anywhere! By the end of the story, Guy-Am-I samples the dish and announces that he would eat them by saying, I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am.

Quotes from the book:

Say! In the dark? Here in the dark! Would you, could you, in the dark?
I will not eat them in a house, I will not eat them with a mouse, I will not eat them in a box, I will not eat them with a fox, I will not eat them here or there, I will not eat them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam-I-am.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960)

One Fist, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss. Photo on

Also published in 1960, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is another one of Dr. Seuss's "Beginning Readers" books that has sold over 6 million copies. A 2007 poll conducted by the National Education Association labor union named it one of "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."

The plot centers around a boy and a girl named Jay and Kay who have amazing creatures for pets. It is interspersed with other funny rhymes and surreal scenes, such as a man named Ned whose feet stick out from his bed, a creature who has a bird in his ear, and one man named Joe who cannot hear the other man's call. There are can-opening Zans, a boxing Gox, a winking Yink who drinks pink ink, and other silly rhymes containing colorful characters that will entertain both children and the inner child within you.

Quotes from the book:

From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!
Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
Why are they sad and glad and bad? I do not know. Go ask your dad.
He will live at our house. He will grow and grow. Will our mother like this? We don't know.

Fox in Socks (1965)

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss
Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss. Photo on

Dr. Seuss first published Fox in Socks in 1965 and it has many things in common with Green Eggs and Ham. For example, they both feature two main characters who speak in tongue-twisters and rhymes, and in both books, one character is stubborn and wanting to be left alone while the other is comical and convincing.

In Fox in Socks, those two characters are Fox and Knox. Fox particularly enjoys speaking in tongue-twisters that are hard to follow. Kids love it because of the silly rhymes and the inner child in you will probably love it for that exact reason.

At the beginning, we meet Fox, who is sometimes called "Fox in Socks," and Knox, who is sometimes called "Mr. Knox." The rhymes begin there, as props are added (a box and a pair of socks then chicks, bricks, blocks and clocks). When Fox gets to the tweetle beetles who knock out with paddles while standing in a puddle inside the bottle on a noodle-eating poodle (a Muddle Puddle Tweetle Poodle Beetle Noodle Bottle Paddle Battle), Knox has had enough. The book ends with Knox stating: When a fox is in the bottle where the tweetle beetles battle with their paddles in a puddle on a noodle-eating poodle, THIS is what they call......a tweetle beetle noodle poodle bottled paddled muddled duddled fuddled wuddled fox in socks, sir!

Quotes from the book:

My tongue isn't quick or slick, sir. I get all those ticks and clocks, sir, mixed up with the chicks and tocks, sir. Who sees who sew whose new socks, sir?
Please, sir. I don't like this trick, sir. My tongue isn't quick or slick, sir. I get all those ticks and clocks, sir, mixed up with the chicks and tocks, sir. I can't do it, Mr. Fox, sir. I'm so sorry, Mr. Knox, sir.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990)

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Photo on

We end our discussion of some of Dr. Seuss's most beloved books with Oh, the Places You'll Go!. It was the last book he wrote and illustrated before his death, and was published by Random House on January 22, 1990, making it to number one on The New York Times Best-Selling Fiction Hardcover list that same year. While it has the same style of rhyming and silliness seen in Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, Oh, the Places You'll Go! Is written from the second person point of view and contains a narrator addressing a young boy, referred to simply as "you".

The narrator tells the reader of all the places he will go and the ups and downs he'll experience along the way. The illustrations show landscapes and locations the reader will visit, including "The Waiting Place", which is a place where everyone is always waiting for something to happen. There are various moral lessons along the way, such as reminder that life is a Great Balancing Act in which the reader is likely to get mixed up about at points. There also darker warnings, such as:

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance

you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,

that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Some of Dr. Seuss's most enduring rhymes are part of this last book, and it has remained at the top of bestseller lists every spring as a common gift given to graduates as they embark on the journey in front of them.

Quotes from the book:

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.

Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.

A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!

Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?

How much can you lose? How much can you win?

But on you will go

though the weather be foul.

On you will go

though your enemies prowl.

On you will go

though the Hakken-Kraks howl.

Onward up many

a frightening creek,

though your arms may get sore

and your sneakers may leak.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Get in-depth guidance delivered right to your inbox.