Books & Art

Six Dr. Seuss Books Will No Longer Be Published Over 'Offensive Images'

The books contained racist depictions of people.
IMAGE Dr. Seuss Enterprises
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Six classic books from the Dr. Seuss collection will no longer be published. Theodor Seuss Geisel, the author of the books, is famous for his whimsical stories and illustrations that have been part of the lives of generations of children worldwide. Geisel died in 1991.

In a statement released on March 2, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the publisher of the Dr. Seuss books, explained why it decided to discontinue the publishing of the six books: 

Today, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship. We are committed to action.

To that end, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles:  And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street; If I Ran the Zoo; McElligot’s Pool; On Beyond Zebra!; Scrambled Eggs Super!; and The Cat’s Quizzer

These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong. Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”

Photo by Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
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The move to discontinue the books is widely seen as a reaction to critics who slammed some of the author’s books for their alleged racism and bigotry

For example, in “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950), there are two characters from “the African island of Yerka.” Geisel depicted them as savages resembling monkeys. 

In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937), a character described as “a Chinaman” has squinty eyes and carries chopsticks with a bowl of rice. “Mulberry Street” is the first book published by Geisel.

Nevertheless, the majority of Dr. Seuss's books are considered helpful in fostering creativity and improving literacy among children. They also promote environmentalism (The Lorax) and good behavior (The Cat in the Hat”).

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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