Talking about favourite Christmas stories this week, one modern classic cannot be ignored. The story of a monstrous Grinch, his dislike of the holidays, and a town that shows him what the Christmas is truly about. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is considered one of Theodore Seuss Geisel’s greatest works and has warmed the hearts of young children for generations.
The grumpy, introverted, Grinch first appeared in 1955 as part of an illustrated poem titled, ‘The Hoobub and the Grinch’ published for Redbook magazine. After the rousing success of The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss was in the beginning stages of forming publication company Beginner Books. One of their first major releases was, of course, How the Grinch Stole Christmas in December 1957. The rhymed verse story gained instant critical praise, and 60 years later has become a staple for children at Christmas. Earning two successful film adaptations, the 1966 animated Christmas special and 2000’s live action film starring Jim Carrey as the notorious Grinch.
The story tells the tale of a miserable Scrooge, disgusted by the neighboring town of Whoville’s love for Christmas. In an attempt to ruin the festive holiday, the Grinch steals every Christmas themed decoration from Whoville on Christmas eve. When the townspeople continue to celebrate the Grinch understands the nature of the holiday. Thus, returning all of the stolen goods and celebrating with the inhabitants of Whoville for a wonderful feast of roast beast as their guest of honour.
The Grinch was not only the first adult to be cast as the main character in one of Dr. Seuss’s works, but also the first villain. The grumpy character was created from Dr. Seuss’s own feelings toward Christmas. In a Redbook magazine article about the poem he was quoted to say “I was brushing my teeth on the morning of the 26th of last December when I noticed a very Grinch-ish countenance in the mirror. It was Seuss! So I wrote about my sour friend, the Grinch, to see if I could rediscover something about Christmas that obviously I’d lost.” Further connections have been made that the Grinch was 53-years-old, the same age as Dr. Seuss while writing the story. And, Seuss’s own licence plate on his car was the word ‘GRINCH’.
The art, plot, and moral of the story are all in typical, magical, Seuss form. Highlighted by the use of Christmas colours and bringing this green monster into a cheerful world. The wonder of Dr. Seuss is something we have talked about many times on the Green Onion Blog with these articles here and here, and of course the great guest post from My Comic Relief and his insightful views on the timeless author. However, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is considered one of the top books from an author of over 40 published works. For good reason, with its humbling Christmas morals and some of his best pieces of art.
This holiday don’t forget to tuck your kids in with this classic. A winner for the whole family and a moral to warm your hearts on the cold nights. For being such a dastardly villain there is nothing to frightening or threatening about the Grinch himself. Especially since we all know he is a big softy on the inside.
Thanks booknerds, I am suddenly craving some who-roast-beast.