Dr. Seuss is one of the greatest storytellers of all time. A big reason behind this timeless fame is how relatable his stories are for both young and old readers. With more than 60 classic children’s books written by the one and only Dr. Seuss, it can be tricky to pick the greatest ones. Based on the earliest set of bestsellers as well as our personal favorites, we prepared an awesome list topped with the best Dr. Seuss book.
First things first, Dr. Seuss had an interesting life that will surely inspire you. Born on March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel was known for his various skills and accomplishments. This world-famous German-American artist was a book publisher, animator, poet, political cartoonist, and author. His children’s books alone have sold more than 600 million copies all over the world. They have been translated into over 20 languages.
A common question, how did Geisel come up with the unforgettable pen name “Dr. Seuss”? First off, Geisel was not an actual doctor of anything. However, he chose to stick with his pen name as respect to his father’s lifelong dream. His father really wanted him to get a Ph.D. To complete the puzzle of the classic pen name, Seuss was clearly Geisel’s middle name. It was also the maiden name of his mother.
On September 24, 1991, Geisel passed away at 87 years old due to throat cancer. By then, a lot of posthumous awards and recognitions have been given. For example, the University Library Building of the University of California was renamed the Geisel Library. Geisel had generous donations to that library since he strongly campaigned to improve literacy.
Finally, get ready to feel nostalgic as we give the best Dr. Seuss book!
Our Pick: “Green Eggs and Ham” (1960)
“Green Eggs and Ham” is a classic baby book. Babies can also have this as their first adventure book. Regarding the content, it centers on a memorable character named Sam-I-am. Sam loves to ask questions in unforgettable rhymes. As the story goes on, the simple plot keeps on expanding as well. It includes several interesting places and friendly characters. In the end, what Sam really wants to share is how delicious his weird snack is no matter where he goes and how he eats it.
As a learning tool for babies, this Dr. Seuss book is packed with rhymes – as always – so kids can easily learn how to read. The words are obviously simple and even paired with quirky illustrations to enhance memory. This book will also teach children that food can be delicious no matter how green it is. We are talking about vegetables, of course!
Runner Up: “Happy Birthday to You!” (1959)
“Happy Birthday to You!” celebrates individuality. It emphasizes that everybody has different birthdates, meaning all of us are special and unique. The story centers on a fun and exciting place called Katroo. Here, celebrating birthdays is a priority. A Birthday Bird even wakes the celebrant up just to start early for a party and feast that lasts until bedtime. The birthday party is unbelievably festive that it takes 20 days just to clean the mess.
As expected, this Dr. Seuss book is one of the best gift ideas for children’s birthday parties. It never fails to remind kids that they are special and truly loved by their family and friends.
Also Great: “Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose” (1948)
“Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose” has one of the most generous characters of Dr. Seuss. It is a nice picture book about self-respect and taking advantage of others, which is kind of a rare subject in children’s books. In this beloved Dr. Seuss book, Thidwick faces bullies in all shapes and sizes. He encounters bullies like a tiny insect called Bingle Bug and even a large bear. His antlers suddenly become a home to these unwelcomed creatures. In the end though, everything will be fine for our good old Thidwick – but definitely not for the bullies.
Just a heads-up, the last page showing the exact ending is more tolerable for the older kids. As we have mentioned before, Dr. Seuss’s books are relatable to all ages. Toddlers might not be able to handle the great finale. We recommend reading the book first for your own judgment before sharing it to the young ones.
Also Great: “The Cat in the Hat” (1957)
“The Cat in the Hat” features a tall humanlike cat who wears a long, white and red striped hat plus a red bow tie, as seen from the book’s cover. It simply tells a story about the Cat visiting a house where two kids are left alone by their mother for a while. The Cat wants to entertain Sally and her little brother, hence the ruckus he creates especially when his friends start to join his antics. The problem is that the house becomes too messy, so the Cat needs to make a quick solution on how to clean the mess pronto.
This Dr. Seuss book is purely a fun one to read. It is perfect for kids. Besides, it can teach them that having too much fun can make a big mess. It can also instill in them a sense of accountability when things go wrong.
Also Great: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (1957)
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is Dr. Seuss’s greatest masterpiece for the holiday season. It is widely popular that it has become a longtime recurring thing every Christmas. It may be in the form of a live action movie, a cartoon special, or the book itself. This all-time favorite children’s book simply tells us that there is no room for hatred during Christmas.
Budget Pick: “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” (1960)
“One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” is another excellent baby book because of its simplicity and endless rhymes. It is just an innocent story about imagination. It is a hilarious book for both babies and adults, pretty handy for family bonding moments. The colors inside are also delightful as always. This Dr. Seuss book can be the first stepping stone for babies to independent reading.
How to Select the Best Dr. Seuss Book
Let’s face it; the best Dr. Seuss book for other people may not be the same for you. It is normal though; there are just too many choices out there and every one of them is critically acclaimed. Another reason is how each book has various themes and teachings about moral values. If you are more particular about selecting the best Dr. Seuss book based on its main concept, here are some categories we prepared to serve as your guide:
Dr. Seuss, whether he did it on purpose or not, included themes of bullying in some of his books. Some are deliberate while others are just based on added perceptions or views from the readers. Included in the concept of self-respect is standing up for yourself when other people are trying to take advantage. For example, in “Horton Hatches the Egg,” if Horton just said no to the bird, he would not face ridicule for everyone who saw him sitting on a nest.
Meanwhile, in “McElligot’s Pool,” a boy was mocked for fishing in a dirty, small pool. However, he continued to be optimistic by using his strong imagination.
Bullying is quite common in school, so kids can definitely benefit from these stories of self-respect. Based on how Dr. Seuss’s characters handled it, you just have to stay patient and optimistic for no good deed goes unrewarded.
A lot of Dr. Seuss’s books highlight the power of imagination. Some examples are “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Dr. Seuss’s ABC,” “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think,” and “The Foot Book.”
Some of Dr. Seuss’s books are just outright compositions of rhymes and short sentences. This aims to teach kids how to read on their own. Great titles include “Hop on Pop” and “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!” For more advanced reading, Dr. Seuss has tongue twisters found in the books “Fox in Socks” and “Oh Say Can You Say.”
There are activity books created by Dr. Seuss for a more interactive experience with his young readers. “My Book about ME” and “I Can Draw It Myself” represent this category.
Children’s books are incomplete without basic concepts such as shapes, sizes, and sounds. Dr. Seuss’s books that are focusing on beginner learning are “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises!” and “The Shape of Me and Other Stuff.”
Dr. Seuss can give tough love as well. He made some books that focus on how imperfect life is. That is pretty rare for children’s books. However, Dr. Seuss made it clear in these stories that everyone must stay optimistic about life and face their problems – not run away. Some of his most meaningful books are “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew,” “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?,” and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
We selected “Green Eggs and Ham” as the best Dr. Seuss book because of its unique message for picky eaters. It is also one of the earliest critically acclaimed works of Theodor Seuss Geisel. However, always feel free to explore other books by Dr. Seuss based on the subject of your choice. He wrote more than 60 children’s books, so that is a lot of exciting selections.
Parents also deserve to read something at their own pace. We have lists of the best cookbooks and meditation books. For those who are unsure about what genre they want to read, check out our take on must-have books for different genres.