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If I Ran the Zoo

If I Ran the Zoo


by Dr. Seuss

Home Dr Seuss If I Ran the Zoo Analysis What's Up With the Title?

What’s Up With the Title?

It's a book about a boy who imagines what he would do if he ran a zoo, so the book is titled If I Ran the Zoo.


Moving on to "What's Up with the Ending?"

What's with that look? Seriously. What are you still doing here, reading these words as they appear on the screen? You know if we stop writing these words you'll stop reading, right? Right?

Fine. We guess as long as we're both still here we can dive deeper into the title's meaning. But only because we like you for sticking it out this long.

Okay, so the title If I Ran the Zoo basically is what we said it was all those words ago. A boy imagines what it would be like to run his zoo, McGrew Zoo. The key words here are imagines and his. It's his zoo. Things will be going his way, the way he dreams they should go. And not just in the sense that he gets to decide where the popcorn stand will sit. Oh, no. He gets to imagine all the creatures he wants to put in the zoo and all the adventures he will go on in order to get them there.

In a way, the words are simple enough, "If I ran the zoo, I would." But most of us would end that sentence with something like "…maintain a proper cost-to-profit ratio." Ugh, how boring. Seuss shows everyone—children and parents alike—through the title that such words do not necessarily lead to boring results. Any "if" scenario can lead the imaginer on some pretty wild and crazy adventures to see some pretty wild and crazy things. The only limit is you.

In a way, you can fill in the word zoo with anything you'd like: if I ran a circus or an adventurers club or a deli in the Bronx. Mmm, salami.

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