Dr. Seuss Situation


Cooper Ams, Co-Editor

Dr. Seuss, a children’s book author, has recently been under attack for offensive imagery that he used in six of his books. On March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s 117th birthday, it was brought to the public’s attention that Dr. Seuss Enterprises will stop the publication of six books, as they had contained offensive and derogatory images. The company issued a statement, saying, “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” and, “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.” The decision to halt publication of these stories was made last year, but just made national news on March 2nd. The six stories that are to be stopped being published are “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran a Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” Seuss portrays an Asian person using chopsticks to eat out of a bowl. Additionally, Seuss includes an illustration of two African men wearing grass skirts in his story, “If I Ran a Zoo.” This situation isn’t the first time the beloved children’s author has been criticized for his use of offensive images. In 2018, a Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts removed a mural that contained an image that was insulting toward the Asian community. Even Seuss’ most famous work, “The Cat in the Hat,” has been claimed to include racist images, but no decisions have been made by Dr. Seuss Enterprises on whether or not the story will stop being published. 


In the wake of these events concerning the publication of the six Dr Seuss stories, his stories have shot to the top of the bestseller charts in the past week. On March 5, “The Cat in the Hat” was the number one bestseller on Amazon’s US store and is just ahead of “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” and “Green Eggs and Ham.” The author had a total of 15 books in the Amazon Top 20 books for Friday, showing the drastic surge in purchases of Dr. Seuss’ books. Now whether this recent surge has any correlation to the announcement made on March 2nd, nobody knows, but it is safe to assume that it definitely did not have a negative effect on the sales. As time goes on, it will be interesting to see if this surge in purchases continues, or if it begins to fall. Dr. Seuss was ranked as the second highest-paid dead celebrity in 2020 by Forbes, ranking just behind Michael Jackson. Seuss earned nearly $33 million before taxes in 2020, which was around a $9 million increase over the previous five years. With the stoppage of the publication of six stories, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Seuss Enterprises sees it necessary to do the same to any other book that may include offensive and insulting imagery.