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Christmas Reads: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Book Review: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

grinchBesides Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch must be the most famous Christmas-hating character in literature. Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) is known for the memorable and weird characters he created in his children’s books such as The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, and the Grinch has remained popular since it was first published in America in 1957.

grinch4
The Grinch in the 1966 animated short film, which had songs written by Dr. Seuss himself

Dr. Seuss uses rhyme and pictures to tell the tale of a grumpy creature called the Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small” and who lives in a snowy cave near the town of Who-ville. The Whos love Christmas, but their fabulous celebrations make the Grinch even grumpier, as he hates Christmas, the noise and the food and the singing. He wants to stop Christmas from coming, so he decides to disguise himself as Santa Claus and steal Christmas! Of course, along the way he discovers that Christmas “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” With or without the decorations and feast, the Who-ville Christmas looks like great fun.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a lovely story to read at Christmas (or any time of the year, really), especially if you read it aloud with someone else, and it will grow even a heart that is two sizes too small!

DVD Review: Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

grinch 2Lots of people grew up with the book of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and even the animated short based on the story from 1966 (with Frankenstein himself, Boris Karloff, as the narrator), but it wasn’t until 2000 that the Grinch made a big-screen appearance in Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Jim Carrey plays the green-haired grump and seems to have immense fun doing it, as the Grinch plays cruel practical jokes on the Whos who live at the foot of his mountain. The original story is very short, but the film is as much about Cindy-Lou, a young Who trying to discover why the Grinch is so mean, as it is about the Grinch himself. Cindy-Lou (Taylor Momsen, most recently seen in the TV series Gossip Girl and as the lead singer/guitarist of the band The Pretty Reckless) discovers why the Grinch hates Christmas so much. She invites him to the town, but he quickly becomes the laughing stock of the town and watches the person he loves agree to marry someone else. No wonder he runs back up the mountain and plots revenge!

grinch and maxAs in the original story, he makes himself a Santa disguise and hitches his sleigh to his faithful dog Max (who is disguised as a reindeer) so he can sneak down into Who-ville and steal Christmas from the Whos. He discovers much more than he bargained for, however.

The film adds in a lot more action and a romantic sub-plot for the Grinch (even Grinches need love!), but it keeps the original message of Dr. Seuss’ story: that even if you take away all the decorations and presents, Christmas is in the Whos’ hearts, and cannot be stolen.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a family film for the holidays, with a powerful story of redemption at its heart, as a grumpy Grinch is shown the true meaning of Christmas.

If you liked How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Try some of Dr. Seuss’ other stories, like The Cat in the Hat, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and Green Eggs and Ham (all in the QUICK READS Poetry section at 823.91). After reading a report saying that children were not learning to read because the stories for children were boring, Dr. Seuss’ publisher challenged him to write a story containing only the 250 words he thought were important for young children while also writing a book they couldn’t put down. Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat, and history was made. All are fun, silly and great to read aloud!

Learn more about the creator of the Grinch in Dr. Seuss: American Icon (NORFOLK HOUSE 809.89282). Theodore Geisel drew political cartoons before his most famous works were published, and he often brought strong political messages out through his children’s books. An online collection of his cartoons from the Second World War can be found here.

Explore the magical worlds Dr. Seuss created with Seussville. It is filled with games, activities and information from the current publisher of Dr. Seuss’ books, Random House. For every day of December, Seussville is suggesting a good deed to make your heart grow three sizes! A very different kind of advent calendar.

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