If you grew up reading, Dr. Seuss should ideally have been a favorite on your shelves. Her stories were super fun, the rhymes were adorable, and luckily she didn’t really have a moral compass or bent, which meant we were free to interpret her however we wanted. Today, as we celebrate his 113th birthday, here’s a look at some of his best work that you can still re-read and refresh all those childhood lessons if not memories.
1. Oh the places you’ll go
The childhood classic follows the story of “You”, who decides to leave town and set out to explore the world. In typical Dr. Seuss fashion, the journey is interesting and fun, but also filled with risks, setbacks and difficulties.
Childhood lessons: Life is filled with a series of ups and downs. But you will survive.
Adult course: Go out and grab the world by the horns; there will be ups and downs, but you will learn to manage it all.
2. Horton hears a who
Horton, the friendly elephant, has his life turned upside down when he hears a voice coming from a flower. He goes on to discover a whole world of people, “the whos” who are tiny dot-sized creatures living in their own gentle universe.
Childhood lessons: Every person is important
Adult course: You’ll meet all kinds of people in life, and it’s up to you who stays in your life and who doesn’t.
3. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
Yertle the Turtle was the rebel story everyone loved. The story of King Yertle, who forced his turtle subjects to pile on top of each other just so he could be king of “all he sees”, is a hilarious tale. When the lone turtle down below, Mack, gets up and knocks everyone down, Yertle falls face down.
Childhood lessons: Bullies always have to pay.
Adult course: You can always walk away and make a choice different from the rest of the world.
4. The Butter Battle Book
One of his lesser known stories, The Butter Battle Book, is about the Yooks and Zooks waging a war for butter. Yooks like to eat bread with the butter side up, while Zooks prefer to eat bread with the butter side down.
Childhood lessons: Nothing is really solved with violence.
Adult course: Choose your battles wisely.
5. I had trouble getting to Solla Sollew
This book is about an anonymous protagonist who is asked to move to Solla Sollew, where there are fewer problems. Unfortunately, his journey to get there causes him a lot more trouble than before.
Childhood lessons: The grass is always greener on the other side.
Adult course: Escaping your troubles may not always be the best solution. Try to confront and solve them instead.