The Big List of Dr. Seuss Books Your Kids Shouldn't Miss

On March 2, children’s book lovers all over the country celebrate the birthday of a great children’s book author- Dr. Seuss- on Read Across America Day.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. Geisel published his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937, after 27 publishers rejected it. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.
Although all of Dr. Seuss’s books are beloved and definitely worth reading, there are some that you just can’t miss with your kids. This is my big list of twenty Dr. Seuss books you don’t want your kids to miss. I’m also sharing why each book is a great one to read with the kids.

Dr. Seuss Books kids shouldn't miss
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The Cat in the Hat

This is a true classic. It’s the story of Dick and Sally left at home alone on a grey, rainy day. They aren’t alone for long, though, when the infamous Cat in the Hat arrives. This is great book to read with the kids for many reasons. Reading rhyming books is great for helping kids learn letter/sound recognition. And this is a real book- not a textbook or “reading book” that kids with early reading skills can likely read on their own.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

This was one of our very first Dr. Seuss books to read to the kids. It’s great for the really young kids because of all of the funny sounds that Mr. Brown can- and does- make. Some are fairly “normal” like the “moo” of a cow. Others are a little more creative like the “pip” of a goldfish. Kids can play along as you read this one, making the noises with Mr. Brown.

In this fun, rhyming story, kids are introduced to a variety of silly and interesting creatures. The rhyming again makes this a fun book to read aloud. This is also a great book to read with younger kids who can enjoy pointing out the colors and counting.
Do you have picky eaters in your family? Introduce them to Sam-I-Am’s green eggs and ham. Sam goes through a variety of places, pointing out how his green eggs and ham would be great in each. At the end, we discover that Sam-I-Am’s meal isn’t really all that bad. Maybe after reading the book, you can cook with the kids and get them to sample something they’ve never liked before.

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!

Poor Marvin is asked to leave in every way imaginable in this easy-reader. The rhyming and playful words cover all kinds of creative transportation ideas for Marvin. When reading this one, you can talk about directions as well as letting the kids come up with their own invented means of transportation.

Ten Apples Up on Top

This easy-to-read book will get kids counting. A lion, dog, and tiger meet up and experiment with balancing all kinds of things on their heads, counting as they go. This is a great book for practicing counting- especially if you get out some counters or small items that they can physically count as they are reading.

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff

All of the illustrations in the Dr. Seuss books- also done by Dr. Seuss himself- are creative. But the illustrations in this book are especially so as the children in the book look at the shadow shapes that they and other creatures make. After reading this one, you can look at shadows with the kids and have them make shadow shapes.

This book is longer than the first ones I’ve listed. It still has the typical Dr. Seuss rhyming patterns, but it also tells a longer narrative story. Horton is splashing in the water when he hears a cry for help coming from a small speck of dust. He rescues the dust speck, placing it on a clover. But protecting the dust speck, and the little people he soon discovers on it, isn’t easy. 
Written in 1971, this book is a story that evokes an environmental consciousness. A boy wandering through the Grickle-grass at the edge of town sees a sign about the Lifted Lorax. He wonders what the Lorax was and why it was lifted, so he heads to the Once-ler who tells him the story of a villain who one day chopped down all the Truffula trees despite the warnings of the Lorax who speaks for the trees. This is a great book to spur a discussion about taking care of the environment and how the decisions of people can adversely affect the environment.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Although Yertle the Turtle is in the title of the book, it’s only one of the three fables in the collection. Each one has Dr. Seuss’s whimsical rhyming style, but the each deal with pretty big concepts- greed, vanity, and pride. That makes this one a great story to read aloud and discuss.

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If I Ran the Zoo

This is one of my all-time Seuss favorites. It’s full of interesting and creative imaginary animals. Gerald McGrew imagines all the animals he’d have and how he’d get them if he ran the zoo. Kids can get creative after reading this one and create their own imaginary animal that they would put in their own zoo.

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book

Want to help the kids settle and go to sleep? Make this your bedtime book. Van Vlek, a very small bug, is getting sleepy. His sleepiness is contagious as yawning spreads.

The Sneetches and Other Stories

This is another collection of four stories with whimsical characters and Seuss’s classic rhymes. Readers meet new interesting characters like Sneetches- some with star bellies and some without. As with many of Dr. Seuss’s tales, some of these are fables with a moral, so they’re fun to read aloud and talk about.

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

Thidwick is a moose with a large heart and large antlers. Beginning with a small Bingle Bug, Thidwick continues to allow other animals to take refuge in his antlers, until they are quite full. This is a problem for Thidwick, who is smart enough to find a solution in the end.

Bartholomew and the Ooblek

In this classic story King Derwin of Didd is bored with the regular precipitation and bids his magicians to make something new and different fall from the sky. This results in some green sticky goo called ooblek falling from the sky. The only one who can solve the problem is Bartholomew, a young boy with the simplest of words. After you read the book, you can do a little science experiment and mix cornstarch and water to make your own ooblek.

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

Bartholomew appears again in this story and is being treated badly by King Derwin. The books has the classic Seuss humor, but, like other Seuss books, it also touches on moral topics such as misuse of power and rivalry.

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

Young Marco is telling his father what he saw on the way home from school in this book, and his trip was quite interesting. Beginning with a horse and carriage- that Marco actually did see- he creates quite a colorful and imaginative story. This is another of my very favorites and is great for allowing the kids to be creative and think of what they would have seen on Mulberry Street.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Yes, it’s a Christmas story. But you don’t have to save it for Christmas. This is the classic story of the Whos down in Whoville who are visited by the Grinch, stealing all of their Christmas decorations, gifts, and food. But the Whos- and the Grinch- discover that Christmas is truly so much more. It’s a good message anytime of the year.

Daisy-Head Mayzie

This is the story of poor Mayzie, a little girl who had a daisy grow from her head. As happens in many Seuss stories, one thing leads to another, and Mayzie’s daisy causes lots of problems. This is a fun story to use when you’re talking about sequencing because kids can look at the order in which things in the story happen.

What Pet Should I Get?

In this book with imaginative animals and silly rhymes, a brother and sister are trying to decide just what pet they should get. There are lots of creative writing and drawing activities that you can do with kids after you read this one, including having them write about what pet they would get- real or imaginary.

BONUS- My Many Colored Days

This book was written by Dr. Seuss, but unlike the others here, he didn’t illustrate it. Quite a long time after it was written, it was finally illustrated beautifully by a husband and wife team. The book discusses many feelings, illustrating them with animals in various colors. The illustrations are awesome, and this book is an excellent one to use with kids when they’re trying to express their feelings- something that is often difficult with young kids.

Dr. Seuss Books kids shouldn't miss

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