Hop on Pop
by Dr. Seuss
Hop on Pop Setting
Where It All Goes Down
A Place Out of Time (And Place)
Seriously, what setting? We researched this book thoroughly with a group of fellow bus passengers, and we reached the conclusion that there's no setting to be found. Sure, there were some grassy knolls and trees here and there and some mention of a town, but even for Seuss, this setting is pretty bare. There's nothing we can piece together to say Hop on Pop occurs at this place and this time in this or any other universe.
Wait, universe… that gives us an idea. Maybe the point here is that Hop on Pop isn’t supposed to have a particular time and place for its setting. Maybe it’s mean to be universal. That could be it.
It could be this way for a number of reasons, too. Maybe it wants to let the children insert their own imaginations into the setting and so leaves them a blank canvas to paint on. Maybe having too distinct a setting would distract from the word-to-illustration relationship and the word-learning process. Maybe the setting is simply Seussland, which can be just about anything you want it to be.
Granted, nothing is entirely universal, never a completely blank slate. Red’s bed definitely means it doesn’t take place where they sleep on floor mats (20.3). The town Brown is launched from contains houses that wouldn’t fit in rural Mongolia (43.1). And whatever creature Jim is after definitely means it doesn’t take place in our reality (14.3).
Still, the goal here seems to be getting as close to universal and accessible as possible, so that all manner of children can feel at home in this world. As a result, what exactly that world is seems left open for interpretation. But what good is a universe that isn’t open for interpretation, right?