Favourite quotes from Dr Seuss

Last updated 10:10 17/08/2012

The first Dr Seuss book I remember reading was Green Eggs and Ham. I can't remember how old I was, but I think I was thrilled at being able to read by myself. Yes that's right - a dedicated bookworm from waaaay back. Dr Seuss

Though I enjoyed Green Eggs and Ham as a kid, it wasn't until I was much older that I began to truly appreciate the genius that is Dr Seuss.

The man was a master of lyricism, a sorcerer of words, a magician of meter. He had a head full of brains and shoes full of feet!

Children's books are an incredibly hard field to master. Few writers have a true knack for it.

When I've heard people say "maybe I should write a children's book just to make some money", I've wantted to bop them over the head with a large hardcover. It takes a lot more talent and skill to write a great children's book than stringing a random bunch of words and drawings together, otherwise we'd all be doing it!

Below are some of my favourite Dr Seuss quotes, categorised by book.

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

"Out there things can happen and frequently do, to people as brainy and footsy as you"
It's true, it's all true. If you have brains and feet, you can make things happen! Oh my!

"I'm sorry to say so but, sadly, it's true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you"
I've taken great comfort from this line whenever life has left me in a Lurch and I've ended up in a Slump. It's good to reflect on the fact that at some point, all of us have "come to a place where the streets are not marked" and the "windows are mostly darked".

"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."
This is a great quote to remind yourself that many times in life, you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. Because there is nothing so limiting as your own fear. And Hakken-Kraks. God, the Hakken-Kraks!

Green Eggs and Ham

"Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say."
Sam-I-Am is a childhood favourite of mine, and he spends the whole book saying how much he dislikes green eggs and ham, despite having never tried them. But in the end, he tries a bite, and it changes his life. The lesson? You never know what you'll like, so try everything at least once. Even green eggs and ham.

The Lorax

"But those trees, those trees, those Truffula trees. All my life I'd been searching for trees such as these"
Even though I'm a big girl now, I still want to find a truffula tree and feast on its brown fruit, and take in its sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not"
I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees! In this case, the Lorax is a metaphor for the environment, which is being slowly destroyed to make the Once-Ler's Thneeds ($3.98 each). It's a sad and compelling story which, though first published in 1972, is still strikingly relevant. Think of the poor Brown Bar-ba-loots, and the Swomee-Swans, and the Humming-Fish and, and, and...

The Cat in the Hat

"Cat, you ruined Mom's dress!" "Honey, it was ruined when she got it"
Who doesn't love the endearing loose-limbed, mischievous cat who brought such colour and fun one dreary wet afternoon to two bored children? This book is made even more impressive by the fact that Dr Seuss wrote it using 233 of the 348 words that every six-year-old should know. The fashion advice is great too.

Yertle the Turtle

"And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous He, is king of the Mud. That is all he can see. And the turtles of course...all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be"
I love these lines for the pure simplicity and beauty of them, written in anapestic tetrameter, which has four anapestic feet per line consisting of two unstressed syllables and then a stressed syllable. Not to be confused with iambic pentameter - what Shakespeare used.

I'm sure y'all remember lots more, so please share your favourites with me!

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47 comments
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Monique   #1   10:26 am Aug 17 2012

"... because, after all, a person's a person, no matter how small" Something we should all keep in mind in these trying times of child abuse and bullying.

I meant what I said   #2   10:32 am Aug 17 2012

Sam-I-am did not refuse to eat green eggs and ham. He was the guy promoting the eating of them in a somewhat annoying way.

Sneetch fan   #3   10:35 am Aug 17 2012

My favourite would have to be The Sneetches and other stories quotes The Sneetches: until neither the Plain or the Star-Bellies knew Weather this one was that one ...or that one was this one Or which one was what one ...or what one was who. What was I scared of: I ran and found a Brickel bush. I hid myself away. I got brickels in my britches But I stayed there anyway. AND But then a strange thing happened. Why, those pants began to cry! Those pants began to tremble. They were just as scared as I!

I never heard such whimpering And I began to see That I was just as strange to them As they were strange to me!

I love reading Dr Seuss to my son who is two and a half, I remember them from when I was a little girl, and despite my name being Sam, and being a Suess fan, I am still a very fussy eater!

melissa   #4   10:40 am Aug 17 2012

I have only just had the fortune of Oh, The Places You'll Go! and have found nearly every line to be apt for lifes everyday experiences and often find that though im reading it to my three year old it is me benefiting the most.

morgan   #5   10:45 am Aug 17 2012

You gotta love Dr Seuss, http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrismenning/what-dr-suess-books-were-really-about

D   #6   10:46 am Aug 17 2012

"A person's a person, no matter how small". I always feel empowered when I think of this, and hope my children do too.

Frances   #7   10:53 am Aug 17 2012

"And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! 98 and three-quarters percent guaranteed!"

I love that book, I read it to my daughter a lot. It offers great advice on Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Ken   #8   11:01 am Aug 17 2012

All of Dr Seuss's books were a delight to read at bed time for my boys. Even repeating the same story day in and out made no difference to the joy it gave my family life.

Penny   #9   11:05 am Aug 17 2012

brilliant man. this article totally cheered me up. i need a seuss fix asap

MissL   #10   11:18 am Aug 17 2012

My favourite quote, not only by Dr Seuss but anyone is "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Great words to live by.


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