Dr. Seuss is one of the most beloved children’s writers of all time. During his career, he wrote more than 60 playful and exuberant books – each with a deeper message about life, love, and humanity.
His most memorable titles, like “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Cat in the Hat”, are mainstays on children’s bookshelves. But he also penned many books that never quite made it into the spotlight.
Here are 10 Dr. Seuss books you might not have heard of (and if you have, you must be a super fan):
The very first book Dr. Seuss ever published under his pen name, this lively tale about Marco and his vivid imagination predates his bestselling titles, but is still among his best. Travel down Mulberry Street, the most interesting place in town – a place where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Marco spins a wonderful story for his father, turning everyday sights into wild highlights of his journey home from school.
Follow the Cat in the Hat’s son, daughter, and great-great-grandfather on three magnificent adventures, as told by Cat in the Hat himself. From battles with tigers to the unexpected consequences of a runaway imagination, this is the only book where children can thunk a Glunk and wrestle with King Looie Katz. The illustrations are a unique combination of gouache and brush strokes rather than the usual pen and ink, adding even more uniqueness to a timeless rarity.
“Would you rather be a clarinet, a trombone, or a drum? (How would you like to have someone going boom-boom on your tum?)” In traditional form, Dr. Seuss asks young readers fun, rhyming questions to make them think, ponder, and laugh. The book helps children understand there are so many things they can be, and that they have plenty of time to figure out who they are and where life might take them.
“The Butter Battle Book” (1984)
“The Butter Battle Book” is one of Dr. Seuss’s “heavier” stories. Written during the Cold War, the book is an anti-war tale chronicling the strife between the Yooks and the Zooks, who live on opposite sides of a long wall. Although the message is deep, children will not get lost. A shared love of buttered bread shows them how to work through disagreements so everyone walks away smiling.
“On Beyond Zebra!” (1955)
What do you do when the traditional alphabet is not enough? You create letters after Z! And that’s exactly what little Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell does when he whips up a new alphabet that goes far beyond the traditional A to Z. Your child will discover 20 hilarious new letters such as Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz and the High Gargel-orumalong, along with the creatures that can be spelled with them.
“The King’s Stilts” (1939)
“The King’s Stilts” is the story of a fun-loving king, who works hard and plays even harder. Devoted to his kingdom, he becomes distraught and unable to “king” when his beloved stilts are stolen. Written in prose instead of rhyme, the book tackles duty, the abuse of power, and deceit in a thoughtful and understanding way.
Thidwick is a generous moose, who lives in a herd of “sixty or more.” Knowing what a kind heart he has, the other animals begin to take advantage of poor Thidwick. Some even build a house on his thorns. Will he bow down and continue to give? Or will he finally stand up and say, “Enough is enough”? Find out in this beautiful story that addresses self-respect and how not to be a bully.
Marvin K. Mooney wears out his welcome and is asked to leave. “He can leave by lion’s tail or stamp himself and go by mail. By stilts or Crunk-Car or Zumble-Zay, it’s time that Marvin was on his way.” Will he finally pack his bags and get out of town? “This book is yet another fun and euphonious entry from the good doctor, a silly primer for budding rhymers and readers,” says one Amazon reviewer.
“Daisy-Head Maizey” (1995)
One day, a mysterious daisy sprouts from Maizey’s head. Everyone around her notices, and some even comment – in not-so-kind ways. When a publicity agent approaches her with greed in his eyes, will Maizey fall for his antics and choose fame over love? Or will she learn that love is the most important thing of all? Children will learn about self-love and the importance of celebrating their differences.
In this classic, Dr. Seuss addresses common life struggles: difficult personalities, political turmoil, bullies, and bad weather. Although Salon.com says it’s “the book we all should be giving for graduation, the overlooked masterpiece,” “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew” is perfect for young readers. When a nameless hero stubs his toe and gets his tail bitten by a Quilligan Quail, he sets out to find the fabled city of Solla Sollew. Will his journey lead him to this dreamland where his worries will fade away? Or is it an ill-fated voyage from the start?
What other lesser-known Dr. Seuss books would you add to this list? Share in the comments!