For decades Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, has been a household name for millions of families. From books to modern movie adaptations – whether live or cartoon, old or new – Seuss’ works have touched the lives of millions.
Recently his estate has made the controversial decision to discontinue publishing six of Seuss’ books, namely: “If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”
This decision came after the estate concluded that the books contained racial and ethnic stereotypes and were deemed offensive by some.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises made a comment on this decision to The Associated Press.
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” the company said.
This led to many complaints, specifically on social media, claiming that the decision was the latest example of cancel culture and that the books should be preserved for culture record. Those against the decision argued that the books should serve to teach future generations why the stereotypes in the six books were wrong then and continue to be wrong.
The banning of the six titles caused many people to buy as many as they could on sites like Amazon.com so they could try to resell them or hold onto them as their value and rarity increase over time.
Before the estate’s announcement, these six books had a price tag of around 30 dollars.
Now, after the announcement, these books are being sold for anywhere between 295 dollars and 440 dollars on sites like Amazon and eBay.
This is an increase value of a minimum of 833.33% and maximum of 1366.67%.
According to fortune.com, shortly after the announcement and rise in resellers, eBay briefly delisted these sales stating, “The books, which contain racist imagery, now fall under eBay’s ‘offensive material policy.’”
Because of this decision, eBay received backlash from many of those who wanted to buy and sell the books.
The Journal and other publications such as Fortune also noted that the site allows sales of copies of “Mein Kampf” (the 1925 autobiographical manifesto by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler).
According to Fortune, listings of Disney’s “Song of the South,” can be found. In the same statement, Fortune revealed, “Even then-CEO [of the Walt Disney Company] Bob Iger called [Song of the South] ’antiquated’ and ‘fairly offensive’ in 2010.”
Other stores such as Barnes & Noble have also stopped selling the six aforementioned Seuss books. Also, some libraries have been removing the books from their shelves entirely while others have refused to do so.
Over 1.2 million Seuss books were sold in the first week of March alone after the news of removing the six books.
Many of the best-selling books at the time were not the books being discontinued from print, but 13 of Amazon’s list of top 20 best sellers were all Dr. Seuss books.
According to NPD BookScan, this list included “’The Cat in the Hat,’ [which] sold more than 100,000 copies, compared to just 17,000 in the previous week. ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ topped 90,000 copies and ‘One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish’ sold around 88,000.”
Seuss books typically sell well the week of the late author’s birthday, but sales this year were almost quadrupled compared to the week before.
Ending the printing of the six books and many news networks and newspapers speaking out about it has left many theme park fans and blogs worried about the future of a popular theme park at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure: Seuss Landing.
The six books have been removed from the stores in Seuss Landing – leaving many fans speculating about the future of the attraction and many hoping Seuss Landing will remain in the park.
Theodor Seuss Geisel published over 60 books and wrote his first book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” in 1937 under the name Dr. Seuss and had many bestsellers that remain beloved for generations of children, families and fans.
He was assisted by cartoonist Chuck Jones in creating an animated film based on “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” in 1966 which would later be made into a live action film in 2000 starring Jim Carey. After this, another animated version of “The Grinch” was made in 2018, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice actor for The Grinch. There were also many other animated films created over the years that Seuss fans enjoy. Namely, “The Lorax,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “The Cat in the Hat” and more.
Seuss earned many awards over the years; such as the Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, three Grammys and three Emmys. He died September 24, 1991 in California.
While many are sad to hear that some of his works are being discontinued, many have been finding comfort in the fact that his other works will continue to entertain families, children and fans. On top of this, Seuss fans can be glad that his still popular and not as controversial works will continue to serve as a means of helping children learn to read.