With many thanks to our friend Kim, we happen to own a fantastic Dr. Seuss collection. We read a story every night with the kids as part of the bedtime preparedness plan, so we’ve made good progress reading through them all.
I’m amazed at the older stuff he wrote – much of it under the name Theodore LeSeig. Some of the stories make me uncomfortable. I know they are classics, but they contain things that we just don’t accept anymore. Reading those books is like listening to my Grandma Lang talk over family dinners.
There’s racism in If I Ran The Zoo, sexism in And a To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, but the topper for me is poor Hooper Humperdink? Not Him!
The setup is supposed to be clever — an alphabetical romp through all the kids that the narrator will invite to the party. But his insistence on not inviting this one kid just gets under my skin! If you’re not going to invite him, do you really have to rub it in? And it’s not like the narrator redeems himself by the end — sure, he invites Hooper after all, but for no good reason!!
And for sure Hooper is the coolest kid in the book. I mean, he’s hanging out, playing his trumpet, reading about Dizzy Gillespie, chilling with his dog… He seems like an interesting guy!! And at the end, when the rude narrator DOES invite him, you know what he does?!?!?
He brings his trumpet as a GIFT to the jerk!!
Dr. Seuss got a lot of things right. The tongue twister books rock my world. And Warren loves “Oh The Places You’ll Go” right now. But Hooper Humperdink? Not it.