Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Dr. Seuss Books That Scared Me

Today is Dr. Seuss's birthday! Like you didn't already know that. Like every preschool in town isn't calling you up wanting you to come do a storytime as part of their Dr. Seuss celebration. Or maybe that's just me...

Now, I loved Dr. Seuss as much as the next kid. Particular favorites were Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book and Yertle the Turtle. But today, I want to talk about two of his books that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. (I mean, c'mon, everyone is talking about the Seuss books they liked today!)

The first book really needs no explanation, I think. Bartholomew and the Oobleck.*shudders*

What? You want to know what scared me about this book? I think the better question is what DIDN'T scare me about this book!

Oh, the book starts out peacefully enough. The king's bored. He wants some new, interesting weather.

Enter the first scary thing about this book: the king's magicians. Tell me they're not creepy, marching around their cauldron in the bowels of some creepy dungeon place.

And then there's the oobleck itself! I understand that the king didn't mean to do so much harm, but it's so green! And sticky! And it starts off tiny and then grows and grows and GROWS. And pretty soon everyone's all stuck to everything else and no one can move. I'm feeling suffocated just thinking about it!

Now that I think about it, it reminds me of the purple smooze from the My Little Pony Movie. What do you think?

Scariest Dr. Seuss book ever. (This plot should be a post-apocalyptic YA novel. Seriously.)

The other book I want to talk about today is a little harder to explain. When I read it as a kid, the most distinct memory I have is a vague sense of unease, but when I picked it up to reread it, I couldn't pinpoint exactly what had made me so nervous about it.

There's a Wocket in My Pocket.

In Wocket, a boy goes about his house describing the fantastical, rhyming creatures that happen to live there. There's a Wocket in his pocket, a Gheir under his chair, etc. etc. Now that I've reread it, I realize that many of the creatures are friendly! He enjoys the company of some of them.

But I guess it's the other creatures that preoccupied me as a kid. I mean, imagine if your house was filled with various imaginary creatures. Just... watching you. It's a little creepy, you have to admit.

And there you have the Dr. Seuss books that scared me as a kid.

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!
(And did any Dr. Seuss books scare you?)