During your umpteenth reading of "The Sneetches," you can always move on to capitalism and communism in relation to the commodities we buy. Whoa, what?
We know. Communism is a dirty, filthy word in certain circles, and some parents would rather hand their children a dangerous weapon than The Communist Manifesto. But we aren't suggesting you discuss Karl Marx or even use the words capitalism, communism, or commodity (oh my). We want the kids to enjoy chatting about Sneetches, not give you that adorable, bewildered stare.
Thankfully, the magic up Seuss's sleeves means you don't have to do any fancy talkin'. You can simply ask your child why they think the Star-Belly Sneetches value those stars upon thar bellies. Why do the Plain-Belly Sneetches think buying stars will make them happy? And of course, you can always bring Sylvester McMonkey McBean into the mix. Why does he sell the Sneetches the stars, how does he sell them, and what does he get out of it? Simple as that.
These questions can lead to a discussion about the things we buy in our own life. Do we buy the clothes we do because they serve a purpose or because they help fit us into certain social groups? How do companies get us to buy the things we do, and why do these tactics work on us? Why do some groups exclude others who can't buy the same things they can? Hey, did we just loop the conversation back to prejudice? We're pretty snazzy like that.
All these questions may take a while, but we're pretty sure that what Dr. Seuss is truly, really, finally, indubitably, without question, and ultimately about is helping children question their world to reach their own conclusions. Who knows? They may even teach you something about communism, capitalism, and prejudice.