Is there any wrong age for enjoying Dr. Seuss? We sure don’t think so. His humor and musicality captivates babies. His gentle encouragement to reach for the stars is just what graduates need. And his book for seniors (“obsolete children,” in Seuss-ese) tackles old age with wry wisdom.
Seuss’s recently discovered manuscript, What Pet Should I Get?, is out on July 28, and you can buy it here. It’s an essential addition to every library—along with these Seuss classics, perfect for readers of every age.
If you’re a baby, try: Hop on Pop
As a baby, you don’t get much say about what books you read, but we bet you’ll want your parents to keep coming back to this sweet, simple exploration of rhyming words. Like any Seuss book, it features bright colors and fun illustrations, along with a singsongy cadence you’ll enjoy. And the title celebrates jumping all over your dad, which we bet is one of your favorite things to do. Keep this one around for a few more years, to help you learn to read.
If you’re a toddler, try: Green Eggs and Ham
At this stage in life, you encounter new things all the time. And it’s always best to keep an open mind. Even though the protagonist of this book is an adult (or at least looks like one, next to Sam-I-Am), he’s got a toddler’s approach to food. And as with any toddler, someone has to put the dish in front of him many times before he tries it and realizes he loves it. You may need some encouragement to try that next dinner, but we think you’ll love this book right away.
If you’re a kindergartner, try: The Sneeches and Other Stories
As you start going to school full time, your social circle broadens to include not just your parents, but your peers. And that’s when it’s time to read about The Sneeches. Some Sneeches have stars on their bellies, and some don’t—which leads to all sorts of prejudice and trouble. This story will remind you that physical differences don’t really matter, and anyone who says they do is just being silly.
If you’re a big kid, try: What Pet Should I Get?
If you’re like most kids, you love, love, love animals of all kinds. The only question is, which pet is the perfect one for you? Should you ask your parents for a playful puppy, a snuggly kitty—maybe a beautiful fish? This never-before-published Dr. Seuss book, starring the kids from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, will help you work through that tough question.
If you’re a bigger kid, try: My Book About Me
Finally old enough to read, write, and obsess over yourself? Get a copy of this book. It lets you fill in blanks about every detail of your life, from your foot size, to your least-favorite food, to what you want to be when you grow up. There’s a prompt to write an original story, and a prompt to draw a very Seussian bird. You’ll have fun co-authoring it—and even more fun as you return to it in later years, to see how cute you were.
If you’re a recent grad, try: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Any time you’ve just graduated to the next stage in your life—whether you’re leaving behind your high school, college, or first job—you’ve got to reach for this classic to give you the right kind of confidence to move ahead. No one besides Dr. Seuss is going to tell you that your chances of reaching your dreams are 98 ¾ percent.
If you’re a 20-something, try: Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
At this stage in life, you may start to feel discouraged. Maybe you don’t have the relationships or bank account you want, and a lot of that old confidence (forgive us, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!) is starting to fade. Time to put things into perspective. This book reminds you of all the poor folks who have it worse, from a Poogle-Horn Player (who has to play his horn down the stairs, on a unicycle), to a man who must endlessly dot his i’s and cross his t’s. Their awful plights make futons and roommate troubles look downright cushy.
If you’re an adult, try: Dr. Seuss and Philosophy: Oh The Thinks You Can Think!, edited by Jacob M. Held
You’ve been a fan of Dr. Seuss your whole life—and you’re finally old enough to go a little deeper. In this collection of essays, philosophers connect Seuss’s seemingly simple rhymes to history’s greatest thinkers and movements. Never thought of On Beyond Zebra as postmodern art? Can’t make the connection between Horton and Immanuel Kant? Prepare to see all your favorite Seuss moments in a whole new light.
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If you’re a senior, try: You’re Only Old Once!: A Book for Obsolete Children
At 82 years old, Dr. Seuss knew a thing or two about senior-hood. So he wrote this book—his only one not intended primarily for children—to make light of this stage in life. The protagonist attends a checkup at the “Golden Years Clinic on Century Square for Spleen Readjustment and Muffler Repair,” where he’s put through a series of bizarre and expensive tests. At the end, he’s told, “you’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.” And coming from Dr. Seuss, that’s pretty reassuring to read at any age.