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The World According to Dr. Seuss

Who knew rhyming could be so controversial?

In The World According to Dr. Seuss, you'll be in for much more than just goofy rhyming (though there's plenty of that). Over the course of  three weeks, we'll go behind the scenes and see how Dr. Seuss tackles all sorts of issues, from war, racism, and communism to economy, ecology, and literacy.

Once you're filled in on all the thinly veiled PG-13 content, we'll provide you with activities that you can do with your children at home or with your young'un students. We've consulted with an expert in child development and children's literacy to bring you the most effective and engaging activities for each and every Seussy kid out there.

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. A Book a Day Keeps Illiteracy Away

In this unit, we're going to let you in on some of the Seussiest secrets to reading with your child. We'll go behind the scenes of Seuss's most beloved reading primers: The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, and Fox in Socks. Seuss published all four of these books in less than a decade (1957-1965), and here we are, still reading them today.

Unit 2. Horton Goes to War!

In this unit, we'll be reading The King's Stilts, Horton Hatches the Egg, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, Yertle the Turtle, and The Butter Battle Book and digging deep into Seuss's thoughts on World War II and the Cold War. Teddy G had him some opinions, and he's not shy about sharing them. He just happens to do it in the form of classic children's literature.

Unit 3. The Many Opinions of Dr. Seuss

By reading The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, The Sneetches and Other Stories, The Lorax, and Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!, you'll get deeper into the mind of this brilliant man than you ever thought possible. But don't worry, we'll end on a not-so-heavy note, and leave you with the last book Seuss wrote before he died: Oh, the Places You'll Go! Because, Shmoopers, we know you're going places.

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 1: Sometimes a Seuss Is Just a Seuss

Welcome aboard to If I Ran the Zoo
A classic book written by—yep, you know who—
one Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss,
Our modern day, kooky, and male Mother Goose.

Reality here is a little askew,
Thanks to the mind of Gerald McGrew,
Who thought to himself just what he'd do,
If he ever managed to nab him a zoo.

He'd fill it with animals from far and from near
Some curvy and zany, but none should you fear.
And all for the zoo goers' fun and delight,
As they'd waddle and toddle past all the fun sights.

For young Dr. Seuss in old 1950,
Writing kids' books was really quite nifty.
He moved right along from snarky cartoons
To tell all the wee-ones which words rhyme with spoon.

If I Ran the Zoo is the first time we heard
A word you may know (or even be!): NERD.
And what would Shmoop be without that neat term?
Probably not a bunch of bookworms!

Come one, come all, it's too good to be true!
(That's what imagination will do to you.)


Okay, we got the rhyming out of our system. Let's get to Shmeussing.

Dr. Seuss loved to wax poetic (and prosetic) about deep, intellectual, and controversial topics. But even the most geniusy of geniuses needs to take a break from the heavy stuff once in a while. You know that better than anyone, right?

Sometimes it is just rainbows and butterflies. (Butterflies not pictured.)


We're going to start you and your kiddos off with one of the lighter goodies that Dr. Seuss sends our way. Don't get us wrong—there's always a message hidden somewhere under Seuss's wobbly words. But in the book you'll check out today, simplicity is key. We're talking wonder, imagination, excitement, and all that gooey stuff.

So get yourself in a cuddly, life-is-good mood (we're guessing a toddler will help with that), and let's jump in. Full Shmeuss ahead.

  • Course Length: 3 weeks
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • Humanities
    • Literature

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