Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story told in rhyme
Cons: You'll have to ask the Grinch
The Bottom Line:
Grinch stealing Christmas
Told with fun pictures and rhymes
Picture book classic




Every Who (and Grinch) Loved this Book a Lot

My love of Christmas came early.  I can remember wanting Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas to be my bed time story year round.  Who cares that it was supposed to be a Christmas story.  I loved it and wanted it read to me.  Heck, I had it memorized before I could read, and I remember "reading" it to my mom and dad at one point.

The book tells the story of the Grinch.  He lives just north of Who-ville and can't stand their annual Christmas celebration.  After putting up with it for fifty-three years, he decides to masquerade as Santy Claus and steal Christmas.  Only after he does, he discovers that he didn't stop Christmas.  Will he figure out why?

Yes, I did just reread the book, and I am proud to say I still have it memorized.  Of course, that might have something to do with the animated special I must watch every year.  I was amazed again at how well the writing flows.  The story is told in rhyme, and those rhymes never feel forced or cheesy.  Considering I'm not a poet (and I know it), that impresses me right from the start.

I had also forgotten how simple the language really is.  I'm so used to the special by this point that I had forgotten that the made up words were invented for it and not the book.  While this isn't labeled as easy reader, I think kids who have mastered the easiest of words and want a bit more of a challenge will find it a good fit.  There might be one or two words that will trip them up, but with a parent there, they will increase their vocabulary.

But if your kid is too young to read, it makes a great read aloud.  The rhymes flow off the tongue and make it even easier to read.  And with a little practice, you can get the right inflections to some of the lines for added fun.  I can still picture some of the pauses my parents put into it.

Plus the story is just plain fun.  The idea of the Grinch sneaking around the Whos' houses never bothered me as a kid.  While the book doesn't say what it might be, the reminder that Christmas is about more than presents and food is always good.

And it wouldn't be a Dr. Seuss book without his unique illustrations.  There has never been anything quite like his pictures.  I'm still not quite sure what the Grinch is, but you can't mistake him.  The Whos always remind me of bugs; I'm not sure why.  The illustrations are in detailed pen and ink with one additional color - red.  That choice seems odd a few times, but once the Grinch gets in his costume, it works.

The kid in me was still smiling the entire way through the book, even after all these years.  I honestly think only a Grinch wouldn't enjoy reading this one.  So pick up a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas for that little kid you know today.

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