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Dr. Seuss

American children's writer and illustrator


Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age.
"Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"
  • … and the wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones … But those were Foreign Children and it really didn’t matter …
    • Caption to a political cartoon against the "America First" movement, showing children being read a story of "Adolf the Wolf", in PM Magazine (1 October 1941)
  • You make 'em, I amuse 'em.
    • Statement about children, as quoted in Enter, Conversing (1962) by Clifton Fadiman, p. 108
  • Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It's more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.
    • As quoted in "Author Isn't Just a Cat in the Hat" by Miles Corwin in The Los Angeles Times (27 November 1983); also in Dr. Seuss: American Icon (2004) by Philip Nel, p. 38
  • When at last we are sure
    You’ve been properly pilled,
    Then a few paper forms
    Must be properly filled
    So that you and your heirs
    May be properly billed.
    • You're Only Old Once! : A Book for Obsolete Children (1986)
  • You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.
    • On becoming a writer, NY Times (May 21, 1986)
  • Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.
    • On writing for adults, as quoted in Of Sneetches and Whos and the Good Dr. Seuss: Essays on the Writings and Life of Theodor Geisel (1997) by Thomas Fensch, p. 96

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937)Edit

  • And that is a story that no one can beat,
    When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

Horton Hatches the Egg (1940)Edit

Horton Hears a Who! (1954)Edit

Don't give up! I believe in you all
A person's a person, no matter how small!
  • On the 15th of May, in the Jungle of Nool,
    In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,
    He was splashing... enjoying the jungle's great joys...
    When Horton the elephant heard a small noise.
  • A person's a person, no matter how small.
  • "My friends!", cried the elephant.
    "Tell me! Do tell!
    Are you safe? Are you sound?
    Are you whole? Are you well?"
  • "You're going to be roped!
    And you're going to be caged!
    And, as for your dust speck – hah!
    That we shall boil in a hot steaming kettle of Beezle-Nut Oil!"
  • "Don't give up! I believe in you all.
    A person's a person, no matter how small!
    And you very small persons will not have to die
    If you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!
  • "This", cried the Mayor, "is your town's darkest hour!
    The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
    To come to the aid of their country!", he said.
    "We've GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
    So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!"

On Beyond Zebra! (1955)Edit

So, on beyond Z!
It's high time you were shown
That you really don't know
All there is to be known.
  • Oh the things you can find
    If you don't stay behind!
  • In the places I go there are things that I see
    That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.

    I'm telling you this 'cause you're one of my friends.
    My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!
  • So, on beyond Z!
    It's high time you were shown
    That you really don't know
    All there is to be known.

The Cat in the Hat (1957)Edit

We looked! And we saw him!
The Cat in the Hat!
  • The sun did not shine.
    It was too wet to play.
    So we sat in the house
    All that cold, cold, wet day.
  • We looked! Then we saw him
    Step in on the mat!
    We looked! And we saw him!
    The Cat in the Hat!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957)Edit

  • "Maybe Christmas...", he thought, "...Doesn't come from a store."
    "Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"
  • Well, in Who-ville they say
    That the Grinch's small heart
    Grew 3 sizes that day.

Yertle the Turtle (1958)Edit

  • And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
    Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
    And the turtles, of course... all the turtles are free
    As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.
  • I know up on top you are seeing great sights,
    But down here on the bottom,
    We too should have rights.

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960)Edit

  • From there to here,
    from here to there,
    funny things are everywhere.
  • If you never did
    You should.
    These things are fun.
    and Fun is good.'

Green Eggs and Ham (1960)Edit

  • I am Sam.
  • That Sam-I-Am!
    That Sam-I-Am!
    I do not like that Sam-I-Am!
  • I would not like them here or there.
    I would not like them anywhere.
    I do not like green eggs and ham.
    I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
  • Say!
    I like green eggs and ham!
    I do! I like them, Sam-I-Am!

I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew (1965)Edit

  • I pulled, pulled, and pulled. And the next thing I knew,
    I was pulling the camel and Wubble-Chap too!
    "Now really," I thought, "this is rather unfair!"
    But he said, "Don't you stew. I am doing my share.
    "This is called teamwork. I furnish the brains.
    You furnish the muscles, the aches and the pains.

    I'll pick the best roads, tell you just where to go,
    And we'll find a good doctor more quickly, you know."
    Then he sat and he worked with his brains and his tongue
    And he bossed me around just because I was young.
    He told me go left. Then he told me go right.
    And that's what he told me all day and all night.

  • A big man on a horse scared me out of my wits.
    He bellowed, "I'm General Genghis Kahn Schmitz.
    There's a war going on! And it's time that you knew
    Every lad in this land has his duty to do.
    We're marching to battle. We need you, my boy!
    We're about to attack. We're about to destroy
    The Perilous Poozer of Pompelmoose Pass!
    So get into line. You're a Private, First Class."

  • I'd have no more troubles...
    That's what the man said.

    So I started to go.
    But I didn't.
    Instead ....
    I did some quick thinking
    Inside of my head.

    Then I started back home
    To the Valley of Vung.
    I know I'll have troubles.
    I'll maybe get stung.
    I'll always have troubles.
    I'll maybe get bit
    By that Green-Headed Quail
    On the place where I sit.

    But I've bought a big bat.
    I'm all ready, you see.
    Now my troubles are going
    To have troubles with me!

The Lorax (1972)Edit

I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.
  • "Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze.
    "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
    I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.

    And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs" –
    He was very upset as he shouted and puffed –
    "What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"
  • I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees,
    Which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please!

    But I'm also in charge of the brown Bar-ba-loots,
    Who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits,
    And happily lived, eating Truffula fruits.
    Now, thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,
    There's not enough Truffula fruit to go 'round!
    And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies
    Because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!
  • UNLESS someone like you
    cares a whole awful lot,
    nothing is going to get better.
    It's not.
  • "So . . .
    Catch!" calls the Once-ler.
    He lets something fall.
    "It's a Truffula Seed.
    It's the last one of all!
    You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
    And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
    Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
    Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
    Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
    Then the Lorax
    and all of his friends
    may come back."
  • Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky
    was my big empty factory...
    the Lorax...
    and I.
    The Lorax said nothing.
    Just gave me a glance,
    just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance,
    as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
    And I'll never forget the grim look on his face
    when he heisted himself and took leave of this place,
    through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace.
    And all that the Lorax left here in this mess
    was a small pile of rocks with the one word:
    Whatever that meant . . . well, I just couldn't guess.

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1973)Edit

  • It’s a troublesome world. All the people who're in it
    are troubled with troubles almost every minute.
    You oughta be thankful, a whole heaping lot,
    For the places and people you're lucky you're not!
    • The last sentence of this statement is often misquoted as "You oughta be thankful, a whole heaping lot, / For the people and places you're lucky you're not!'"
  • And suppose that you lived in that forest in France
    Where the average young person just hasn't a chance
    To escape from the perilous pants-eating plants!
    But your pants are safe! You're a fortunate guy.
    And you ought to be shouting, "How lucky am I!"
  • Thank goodness for all the things you are not!
    Thank goodness you're not something someone forgot,
    and left all alone in some punkerish place
    like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.
  • That's why I say, "Duckie!
    Don’t grumble! Don’t stew!
    Some critters are much-much,
    oh, ever so much-much,
    so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)Edit

  • The more that you read,
    The more things you will know.
    The more that you learn,
    The more places you’ll go.
  • Young cat! If you keep
    Your eyes open enough,
    Oh, the stuff you will learn!
    The most wonderful stuff!
  • you'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut

Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990)Edit

When things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along, you'll start happening too!
  • You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself
    any direction you choose.
  • With your head full of brains,
    and your shoes full of feet,
    You're too smart to go down any not-so-good-street.
  • Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
    To people as brainy and footsy as you.
    And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
    Just go right along, you'll start happening too!
  • You're off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.


  • "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
    • Often attributed to Dr. Seuss without citation; also cited as an anonymous proverb.
    • This quote has also been attributed to Gabriel García Márquez, in Spanish: "No llores porque ya se terminó, sonríe porque sucedió."
      • Compare lines from In Memoriam A.H.H. of Tennyson:
          'Tis better to have loved and lost
          Than never to have loved at all.


  • Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.
    • Bernard Baruch in response to a question by Igor Cassini as to how he handled the seating arrangements at his dinner parties, as quoted in Shake Well Before Using: A New Collection of Impressions and Anecdotes Mostly Humorous (1948) by Bennett Cerf, p. 249; the full response was "I never bother about that. Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter." This anecdote is also quoted online at It has also become part of a larger expression, which has been commonly attributed to Dr. Seuss, even in print, but without citation of a specific work: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
  • You want my opinion? We're all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.
    • Robert Fulghum in True Love (1998). Versions attributed to Dr. Seuss usually run "mutual weirdness".
  • Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
    • Georges Duhamel in THE HEART'S DOMAIN (1919). As it was composed in French, the wording in English may vary in translation. Theodore Geisel / Dr. Seuss was born in 1904, and would have been about 15 years old at the time that it was published. The full text can be found at the link below: We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory. Like the images the photographer plunges into a golden bath, our sentiments take on color; and only then, after that recoil and that trans-figuration, do we understand their real meaning and enjoy them in all their tranquil splendor.

External linksEdit