If I Ran the Zoo, We’d Read Books All Day!
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If I were to tell you that I have a long-running relationship with Dr. Seuss books, you’d say something along the lines of “well, duh, me too!” Because who doesn’t, and who didn’t grow up with the company of one or ten or maybe more of these lilting, lyrical, crazily-imaginative tales?
In honor of his birthday on March 2, we asked some of our Book Business friends and advisors to tell us what their favorite Dr. Seuss book is and why. You’ll find their choices below.
My favorite is The Foot Book. I love the rhythm of it, and I made it into my own rap that I would recite to my children at bedtime: “Left foot, left foot, left foot, right. Feet in the morning and feet at night!” Lots of fun!
When we were dating, my husband bought me a copy of Fox in Socks, and had me read it aloud to him. That I survived the dangerous tongue-twistery-ness of that book may be one of the reasons he married me! He’s quite the Suess-ite, and he has contributed his own Green Eggs poetic tribute below (thanks, Evan!).
Here we go:
All of them are my favorites, but I think of Green Eggs and Ham every time I go to the Farmer's Market (which is pretty much every Saturday morning). As a kid I figured he was making them up, but now I know there really are green eggs. Who knew! And we recently found out that he actually owned the Cat's hats. What other fantastical Seussical things will turn out to be real?
-- Bill Kasdorf, Vice President, Apex Content Solutions and General Editor, The Columbia Guide to Digital Publishing
A Dr. Seuss book was not the first book I ever bought—or should say was purchased for me. That would’ve been Bennett Cerf’s Book of Laughs. At that point I didn’t yet know that Mr. Cerf was a regular contestant on What’s My Line. I wasn’t allowed to stay up that late. And it would be many years before I would come to know that the very same Mr. Cerf founded and ran a publishing institution called Random House, who just happened to publish Bennett Cerf’s Book of Laughs as well as (almost) the entire Dr. Seuss oeuvre.
Like the Book of Laughs (and wasn’t that insightful of my mother to buy me that book?), If I Ran the Zoo was purchased at the Bloomingdales book department in their store in Fresh Meadows, Queens, a 10 or 15 minute car ride from my childhood home. The book department was hidden way in the back of one of the upper floors where I spent many long hours (they felt like long hours, though they were probably only felt that way as a 7 year-old). I read and re-read If I Ran the Zoo until the pages started coming loose from the spine. And went on to read many other Seuss masterpieces…at least until I turned 10. Good times!
--Matty Goldberg, VP, Sales & Marketing, The Perseus Books Group
Green Eggs and Ham. Just a great little book about tolerance that resonates with readers young and old.
--Frank Romano, Book Business columnist
By far my favorite book that I continue to quote and recite by heart is Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! I do not care how you go. Just go!
--Dr. Samir Husni, Magazine Innovation Center, Publishing Executive columnist
I have to mention two Dr. Seuss classics. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish evokes feelings I had as a child: amusement, restlessness, worry. The book's vignettes—Ned in his ridiculous bed, the useful Zans for Cans, the pathetic Wet Pet, Clark from the park ("He will live at our house/He will grow and grow/Will our mother like this?/We don't know")—reflect the fascinations and fears of the young.
My favorite Seuss book, though, was The Sleep Book, which I would force my parents to read ad nauseam. It's not short, either.
-- James Sturdivant, Managing Editor, Publishing Executive
The Sneetches. I believe this to be the most powerful expression in literature about the insanity of racism and intolerance.
--Andrew Brenneman, founder, Finitiv, Book Business columnist
Fox in Socks is my favorite: great characters, tongue twisters, pictures, and I still can’t get all the way through it without messing up and a reread.
--Michael Cooper, National Sales Specialist, Book Business
Green Eggs and Ham. Multiple readings to my grandson in early years and never tired of it!
--Eugene Schwartz, Book Business editorial advisor & blogger
I just had the pleasure of reading If I Ran The Circus (the same exact book I read as a child) to my nephew. On its face it's a book about a kid, Morris McGurk, who imagines the vacant lot behind Old Mr. Sneelock's store as "The Circus McGurkus, the Circus Supreme," complete with daredevils and exotic animals performing stupendous feats. As well as being a celebration of language and verbal acrobatics, I like to think of it as a great management guide; it's all about dreaming big, thinking creatively and getting everyone—in this case the multi-tasking Sneelock—to pitch in for the cause. I'm also quite fond of Scrambled Eggs Super, which my fiancée would attest has had perhaps too big an influence on my approach to cooking.
-- Brian Howard, Editor In Chief, Book Business
Dr. Seuss was an outstanding children's book author for several reasons. His art was beautifully constructed and silly and eccentric enough hold a child's wonder as the words were being read. The words were so brilliantly crafted with an oft missed but very special cadence. It is prose in a poetic format for children. I am convinced that having had Dr. Seuss read to me over and over again as a child is partly responsible for my love of writing. I am Bo, I am.
-- Bob Sacks, President/Publisher, Precision Media Group Publishing Executive columnist
It's true I like Green Eggs and Ham —
though just the book, I thank you, ma'am .
The foods themselves, to me, it's clear,
will not displace red meat or beer.
So, unlike Sam I Am's green treat,
they'll never be foods I would eat.
Not in a box. Not with a steer.
Not with some lox or cream cheese schmear.
No green eggs, ham, or green-dyed juice
But will devour books by Seuss.