For many children, Dr. Seuss is an instrumental part of early reading. His stories are iconic and resonate with readers across generations. As Hollywood continues to churn out never-ending content, both feature and short films on the books of Dr. Seuss remain popular with audiences. The begs the question, what are the best Dr. Seuss books of all time?
His seemingly simplistic stories, filled with rhyme and illustration, are also frequently used in the classroom to promote early childhood reading. With the idea that reading is for everyone, Dr. Suess has always been at the forefront when it comes to bringing the lasting joy of reading to children. According to research, snuggling up with the kids for a bedtime story is worth a million in so many ways. But if you need more motivation, consider the results of a recent Ohio State University study that found reading five books a day to your children exposes them to about 1.4 million more words by kindergarten than those children who did not have books read to them. “Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school,” says lead study author Jessica Logan, an assistant professor of education studies at the university and a member of the OSU Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, in a release. “They are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Another recent study shows that reading to your child is the number one way to prepare them for reading on their own. And reading good old-fashioned print books, rather than digital versions, is equally important. That’s because the building blocks of literacy include more than just the ABCs. Kids also learn by talking about the book, looking at pictures, and even turning pages! Plus, if sleep is what you’re striving for in a bedtime story, research shows that those books-on-screen can negatively impact a child’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is definitely the time to stick to the real thing!
With more than 60 books in his catalogue, it was difficult to zero in on the top five most iconic stories. StudyFinds turned to the experts to find out the top five best Dr. Seuss books of all time to read to your little ones. Let us know what your favorite Dr. Seuss books are in the comments below!
The List: Best Dr. Seuss Books, According to Young Readers
1. “The Cat in the Hat” (1957)
“The Cat in the Hat” is a book that a person might be able to find in nearly any elementary school in the United States. “In this book, we were first introduced to ‘The Cat.’ Who can forget the chaos that ensued when The Cat (and his pals Thing One and Thing Two) stop by to visit two children while their mother is out,” says She Knows.
The charming narrative and easy to read prose are a huge part of why this book is so endearing. “With a super tall hat striped in white and bright red, this mischievous cat pops right into our heads. A Dr.Seuss creature that’s tricky and fun, he’s top of our list at place number one. Where most kids are trained to obey all the rules, this feline taught lessons outside of a school. He taught of rebellion, of cool games, not decorum; he taught us that rain was no reason for boredom. Shaping childhoods and minds and the book scene forever, reading ‘Cat in the Hat’ is always a pleasure,” adds Watch Mojo.
The enduring popularity of this title can easily be seen in its sales figures as well. “It has a simplified vocabulary that beginning readers can tackle, opening up Seuss to the world of easy reader books. To date, The Cat in the Hat has sold over 10 million copies, and most years, it outsells new children’s books. The Cat in the Hat tops the list of the best Dr. Seuss books because of its enduring appeal. The characters, including the cat and Thing 1 and Thing 2, have loyal followings, and there have been television and movie spin-offs based on these characters,” writes Become a Writer Today.
2. “The Lorax” (1971)
The Lorax is a children’s book that entertains, but also makes a point about the importance of caring for nature. “This imaginative children’s book lets you follow along with the Lorax and the Oncler. This acclaimed children’s book has big messages about environmentalism, animal habitats, healthy living, and more. It is a fantastic book as a read-aloud or as something students can read on their own,” says Teaching Expertise.
The simple message of this book is also part of why it continues to resonate with readers. “The Lorax has only become more timely and relevant since its initial publication in 1971. It’s a story about the humble Lorax confronting the capitalistic Once-ler who destroys the Lorax’s environment in his pursuit of profit. It’s an absolute classic and a surefire way to teach young kids about the dangers of overusing the natural environment. More recently, The Lorax movie helped introduce this classic to a new generation,” writes Spy.com.
In today’s political environment, the Lorax has even been banned in some school districts. “The Lorax. This book is one of Dr. Seuss’s most famous books with a message. The Once-ler starts tearing down the Truffula trees to make garments for his new business. The Lorax appears out of the stump of the tree and says that he speaks for the trees as they have no tongues. The Lorax warns the Once-ler to stop what he’s doing, but the Once-ler continues to tear down the trees and creatures flee their environment. This book is extremely relevant as it stresses the importance of the environment and how we can’t let corporate greed destroy it,” adds Fatherly.
3. “Green Eggs and Ham” (1960)
“Green Eggs and Ham” is a book that is all about the joy of reading aloud. With repetition and rhyme, it is difficult to read this book aloud without smiling. “It was no surprise that the persistent Sam-I-Am and his ‘Do you like green eggs and ham?’ was voted our overall most popular Seuss! It’s a favourite in our house…we’ve even dined on green eggs and ham!” says Childhood 101.
The book teaches young readers about being stubborn versus being open-minded. “Almost the entirety of this delightful book for Sam-I-am to convince a skeptical eater to even try the titular dish in this Dr. Seuss classic. And thank goodness Sam-I-am tries so many different ways—in a box, with a fox, with a goat, or on a boat—because we get 72 pages of whimsical rhymes to read out loud with just as much passion as Sam-I-am has for those green eggs and ham. And then we get to relive all the off-the-wall green eggs and ham serving suggestions once our eater does take one delectable bite. Green Eggs and Ham,” adds Barnes and Nobel.
The story of this book’s publication is also interesting. “One of the most iconic children’s books ever was the outcome of a wager between Seuss and Bennett Cerf, the co-founder of Random House. The latter bet that Seuss couldn’t write a book using only 50 unique words or fewer. (Guess who lost?) Thusly was Green Eggs and Ham born — a story in which the narrator seriously does not like green eggs and ham. And even though the narrator could not, would not in a tree, you might just find that children could and would read this charming book all the time — you’ll see. Select Quote: ‘I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am,'” notes Reedsy.
4. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1957)
The Christmas season in the country would not be complete without the Grinch. “It doesn’t have to be Christmas for your kids to enjoy this classic favorite. This Dr. Seuss book spawned the 1966 animated TV special of the same name, which is broadcast every year, as well as the 2000 feature film,” says She Knows.
With 2 feature film adaptations as well as a classic 1966 animated short feature, several generations of Americans have been delighted by tales of the Grinch. “A holiday favourite in our house, How the Grinch Stole Christmas tells the story of the disgruntled Grinch and his fiendish attempts to steal Christmas from the citizens of Who-ville,” writes Childhood 101.
It is always a good time to go back to the source: “You all know the story and your kids might have even watched the TV special, which Seuss illustrated himself. Maybe switch it up this holiday season and read the story of the Grinch out loud with your family. Everyone needs a reminder of what Christmas is actually about now and again,” mentions Fatherly.
5. “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” (1990)
One of the final books published by Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” Feels like a heartfelt goodbye from an old friend. “Oh, The Places You’ll Go! If someone you know is having a graduation party or graduating soon, this is the book to give them as a gift. Loved by readers young and old, Dr. Seuss writes this story as it applies to many different life experiences no matter the age of the reader,” says Teaching Expertise.
Growing and changing are what happens to children as they become adults. “A favorite book for inspiring graduates of all ages, this joyous ode to life playfully & lyrically imparts wisdom about the importance of taking charge of your own life, and how to positively navigate the highs and lows along the way. Tip: Why not create a truly meaningful gift for your child by purchasing a copy of this book when they start school, and at the end of each school year asking your child’s teacher to personalise a page of the book? Present the book to your child when they graduate school and they will have a uniquely personal and uplifting memento to cherish as they venture out into the world,” advises Be a Fun Mum.
As a nostalgic gift, this book is potentially a great keepsake that a graduate can hold onto for their own children one day. “A classic school graduation gift, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was Dr. Seuss’s last published book before his death, and it remains one of his best. It follows an unnamed protagonist through a variety of colorful landscapes and places before arriving at ‘The Waiting Place.’ The book ends with the protagonist thinking of all the places he might go, leaving the book open-ended, like life itself,” adds Spy.com.
You might also be interested in:
- Watch Mojo
- She Knows
- Become a Writer Today
- Barnes and Noble
- Teaching Expertise
- Childhood 101
- Be a Fun Mum
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.
I think THE best book to teach the whole alphabet & reading is Dr. Seuss’ “Hop on Pop!!!”