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How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - Dr. Seuss

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Author: Dr. Seuss / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 06 October 2003 / Genre: Character Books / Subcategory: Picture Books / Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers / Title: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! / ISBN 13: 9780007170241 / ISBN 10: 0007170241 / Alternative EAN: 9780007258604

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      02.12.2011 10:34
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      A timeless classic

      Published in 1957, this is the story of a mythical creature called the Grinch. From the charming illustrations, which appear on each page, the Grinch looks to me like a cross between a giant bird, a cat and a reptile, with a rather human-looking face. Despite its grumpy expression, the Grinch looks more comical than scary. I don't think it would frighten young children, although of course all children are different and you never quite know how they will react. For 53 years the Grinch has lived in a cave on top of Mount Crumpit with only his dog, Max, for a companion. He can hear the Christmas festivities coming from the town of Whoville and it gets on his nerves. The Grinch really hates Christmas. Nobody really knows why. We are told that it may be because "his heart was two sizes too small." The Grinch hates Christmas so much that he hatches a plan. Dressing up in a bizarre Santa Claus outfit he heads down the mountain to Whoville, not to deliver presents but to steal them. But is it really possible to 'steal' Christmas? Is there more to Christmas than the material trappings, the things that can be bought in a store?

      A Moral Tale

      Moral tales are always popular at this time of year and in this classic book Dr Seuss conveys a simple message about the true meaning of Christmas in a zany, whimsical style, which is certain to appeal to young children. The book's message is similar to that of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and enables parents to encourage their children to think about the spiritual, non-commercialised aspects of Christmas. However, the dark, sinister tone of A Christmas Carol is replaced by a mood of mischief in Dr Seuss's tale, which is much more suitable for the very young. The Grinch's antics are so outrageous and silly that the story never becomes overly sentimental or preachy. A reading of this story could lead to some interesting discussions, getting children to think about the ways people choose to celebrate Christmas, what it means to different people, and how to bring more joy into the community at this time of year. You might be able to encourage children to consider why the Grinch behaves as he does and to think about why some people feel lonely and sad over Christmas, whilst others have a wonderful time.

      An Interactive Story experience

      This is a perfect festive book for parents and teachers to read to children. The story of the Grinch is told entirely in rhyming verse, which makes it great fun to read aloud and the author's use of italics and block capitals in the print to emphasise certain words and phrases makes it easier to read with expression and drama. In my experience, rhyme and rhythm often holds children's attention in a way that mere prose cannot. The educational advantages are numerous. Listening to rhymes helps children to think about the patterns and rules of language and the way new words can be created. Reading and saying rhyming words is an excellent way for children to practice their pronunciation and they learn about word structure, how the sound at the start of a word can change but the sound at the end remains the same. When I used to read this book to my children, they very much enjoyed filling in the last word at the end of each line. The rhyme would provide a clue but they would also be thinking about the meanings of words and the importance of context.

      Dr Seuss also makes use of repetition. For instance, we have phrases like, "oh, the noise! Oh the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!" and "They'd sing! And they'd sing! And they'd SING! SING! SING! SING!" which again can be helpful to young readers as it means that the child learns to recognise certain words due to their frequency.

      There are lots of wonderful pictures throughout the book, which just add to its amusing quality. I love the part where the Grinch cannot find a reindeer so he has to make do with his dog.

      "So he called his dog, Max. Then he took some red thread
      And he tied a big horn on the top of his head."

      There is a great picture of a very puzzled looking sausage dog having an antler tied to his head. The dog is a brilliant creation! It has this look of uncertainty on its face as it starts to pull the Grinch's sleigh down the hill and, on arrival at the town, it looks utterly knackered!

      Perhaps my favourite line of the whole book is when the Grinch takes all the food from the house:

      "And the one speck of food
      that he left in the house
      was a crumb that was even too small for
      a mouse."

      We then have a picture of a totally disgruntled rodent looking down at the pathetic morsel on the floor in front of it!

      Many of the illustrations are so rich in detail that you don't spot everything straightaway. You could ask children many questions about the pictures, for instance get them to count the number of presents they can see in the picture, or the number of stockings hanging up on the fireplace. You could get them to play a kind of 'I spy' game with the things in the pictures. It is a fun way to practice observational skills.

      One of the things that my children seemed to enjoy most about this book is the combination of the absurd and the familiar. For example, children will be familiar with the idea of a Christmas tree but not with the idea of it being shoved up a chimney! They are familiar with dogs, but not dogs with antlers sewn on their heads with red string! In my experience, children love and hate the Grinch at the same time. They recognise that he is very naughty, yet they are somewhat in awe of his naughtiness! He's something of an antihero. A character who starts off bad and redeems himself by the end of the book is often more likeable than one who remains boringly good throughout, and it is surely positive for children to realise that even the naughtiest people can change their ways!

      Do I recommend it?

      Absolutely! My children are much too old for this now, but we still have a dog-eared copy in our house and it comes out each year as a coffee table book, as much a part of Christmas as the tree. For youngsters it makes a wonderful festive bedtime story as it doesn't take too long to read and the rhyming verse means that it really trips off your tongue effortlessly, which is good when you feel rather tired and are struggling to put the necessary oomph into your story-telling. In short, it is an enjoyable, wacky tale, which conveys an important message about love, family, friends and the true spirit of Christmas. You're never too young or too old to appreciate that.

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        06.01.2011 01:10
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        A lovely story to share with children while making you think twice yourself about Christmas

        Oh I just love Dr Seuss! I bought one of his books for my son before he was even born, and keep buying the odd one here and there and we have never been disappointed.
        Having never read this one or seen the film I decided to get both for my son as part of his birthday present (November 29th, a good date for having them to enjoy over Christmas) and he loved them, especially the book.

        This book has played a big part in getting my son tucked up in bed easily throughout December! As it was his top pick of bedtime story. It tells the story of the bitter & miserable Grinch who lives up on a mountain alone with his dog, looking down on the people in the town below. They love Christmas and he hates it so tries to steal it but learns a valuable lesson in the process. Thats a slimmed down version of the story, I won't go into a very lengthy review as it's not a very complex story and is very well known. The illustrations are simple but colourful and lovable. It does have the usual meaningful ending that Dr Seuss books usually deliver and is told in the usual catchy rhyming style that makes my son love these books. Oh ok and makes me love them too!

        It really is a must own Christmas book if you have children, helping to teach them that maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more... :)
        I can't wait to get it out again next year!

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        16.11.2010 15:51
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        The Grinch is as much a part of Christmas as Santa - this should be on every family bookshelf!

        It seems as if something would be missing from the Christmas season, if this book were left out. I remember it from my own childhood, and I suspect most people reading this will as well. To me, reading this story is as much a part of preparing for Christmas as decorating the tree, baking Christmas cookies or hanging stockings. It wouldn't quite be Christmas without it.

        The illustrations are simple, as was the norm at the time this was first printed (1957 ). The only colours of ink used are black and red, and the illustrations are simple pen and ink drawings. The story however, is magical. Told in rhyming verse, the story tells about the Grinch, who despises Christmas, and his quest to put an end to the whole celebration. I will not spend a lot of time detailing this story, as I can not believe any readers here are completely unfamiliar with it. In short, the Grinch is sad and miserable and lonely, although he has a faithful companion he fails to appreciate, his dog. Unable to partake in the joy of Christmas he tries to take it from others, but learns that Christmas is not something you can pack up and take away. As he finds the meaning of Christmas, and shows kindness to others, he finds happiness himself.

        This story is absolutely timeless. Over 60 years old, it does not seem dated in any way. My sons both enjoy it, and I do as well. Of course my children, like all children place great value on toys and gifts for Christmas, but I think this helps them see that there is more to Christmas than that. It can also help them understand the real gr inches in life - and sooner or later we all meet a few. I like to explain that some people are crabby because they are sad. Some people just don't understand the joy of the season, and we should be kind , not judging. I think it also shows that we make a lot of our own misfortune. By sitting alone and hating others, the Grinch only made himself miserable. True happiness comes from kindness and giving.

        But if all that is just to warm and Christmassy for you - you still have to love the Grinch. He is drawn perfectly to convey his wickedness, and even peacefulness at the end. There is of course a new and more colourful version, based on the Jim Carrey movie, with bright colour photos from the movie and glossy pages. While the movie may have its merits - this is the real Grinch in my book!

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          04.11.2009 16:03
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          This classic tale explodes with colour and rhyme to delight

          How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr.Seuss

          This book is part of the Dr Seuss 'The Classic Collection' that HarperCollins Children's Books published in 1997.

          ~~~ Who is Dr Seuss? ~~~

          For those who haven't heard of this wonderful author a quick bit of info about the author and why this may help you to understand the book and many others produced by him.

          *** Name ; Theodor Seuss Geisel
          *** DoB : 2.3.04 - Sept 1991
          *** Ed : Dartmouth College - Oxford University
          *** Status: Married Helen Palmer 1927
          *** Employment : Judge Magazine and various American Publishers
          producing cartoons and humorous articles.
          *** What inspired Geisel to produce children's books - After reading a report on the illiteracy amongst school children - it was mentioned that children's books were so boring that they were not encouraging children to read. The findings of this lead Geisel to thinking about important words when publishing a children's book. This lead to one of the best selling and most popular children's books 'The Cat in The Hat'

          Dr Seuss as he then become used his understanding of children's passion for rhyming to produce some of the most well read books.

          The education value that his works contain are priceless. I know from first hand experience that How the Grinch Stole Christmas certainly got my son interested in reading, through the wonderful rhyming, simple use of child-friendly language and wonderful cartoon-like illustrations.

          Other titles in the series include;

          * The Cat in the Hat
          * The Cat in the Hat comes back
          * Fox in Socks
          * Dr.Seuss ABC
          * Green Eggs and Ham
          * Oh. The Places you'll go
          * The Lorax
          * One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
          * The Sneetches and Other Stories
          * There's a Wocket in my pocket
          * Hop on Pop

          Many of these titles have now become films.

          I have been collecting this series since first spotting them on the shelves of Waterstones. They were always (and still are) great favourites of my daughters and son. My series now sit in my classroom for my pupil's to read and they really love them.

          How The Grinch Stole Christmas is well read and I always make a point of reading it to the whole class just before they break up for Christmas - we even try a little role play based on the character's various facial expressions and actions.

          ~~~ So what makes this one a particular favourite? ~~~

          This story is a fable for children based around a Christmas story.
          The Grinch is the main character who lives in a cave on a mountain overlooking a place called Who-ville.

          He is hates Christmas and everything about it including the inhabitats of Who-ville - the Whos.

          The wonderful cartoon sketches of the Grinch standing in his cave overlooking the little, snow-covered homes below makes all children giggle and gasp. I believe it's the way the picture is completely black & white apart from his glowing eyes.

          This is a complete contrast to the next page that explodes into reds and pinks showing the Who girls and boys making lots of noise, around the Christmas tree and playing so free - oh god - I've got the Seuss rhyming bug!!!

          The following part of the story shows the Whos and their feast (the colour explosion still with this busy scene) but the ending sentence letting us now the Grinch couldn't stand the feast in the least.

          As the story progresses we find out about the lives of the Who and how happy and caring they are. The supportive family and friends is reflected so well through the language, rhyme and illustrations that who can't help but get into the Christmas mood.

          I love the use of bold. Capital letters Seuss uses when an important part of the plot is mentioned. As a teacher and parent, I've overly used expression in my voice to build up the tension - children really pick up on this and it really helps them to see how punctuation can develop a great reading voice and fluency.

          Children really love the way the Grinch uses his dog Max to help with his plan to ruin the Whos Christmas. The poor little side kick is put in a silly reindeer disguise as the Grinch pretends to be Father Christmas and heads off to Who-ville - TO STEAL CHRISTMAS.

          Many girls will also love the character of Cindy-Lou - who in the final picture is sat with the Grinch and his dog enjoying a feast.

          I not going to tell you the whole story as it will spoil it for those of you who haven't read it. But the moral and whole unfolding of this wonderful book is an enjoyable learning journey for all ages.

          ~~~ Price and availability~~~

          As I mentioned earlier I had brought this book several years ago for £4.99 - however, with Amazon and ebay so can now buy this copy and many others from this range for as little as £0.01 !!

          ~~~Conclusion~~~

          I do thoroughly recommend it as a stocking filler for Christmas. Keep Christmas alive. The enjoyment factor compliments the learning that children of all ages will gain.

          Thanks for reading - I hope this review has given you a good insight into the book and how invaluable it is.

          x hev
          (also on Ciao)

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            19.11.2008 22:28
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            Young or Old you will love this book, Dr Seuss is a classic!!

            Well with the festive season approaching us I though I would write a review on Dr Seuss's classic book "How the Grinch stole Christmas", I think this is probably one of his most well known books mainly due to it being adapted into cartoons and films but also because it's a brilliant book and has been loved by many children for many years, especially around the Christmas period I know my parents would read it to myself and my sister and brothers, but we all read it to our children, has turned into a kind of tradition.

            The Grinch is a horrible miserable creature, who lives on a mountain called mount Crumpit; he is all green and furry and has no friends or family apart from his dog Max. He can see a village from his home called Whoville and he absolutely hates the "Who's" who occupy this town, and most of all he hates Christmas. In the book it tells you that it's because his heart is too small, but he hates the songs, the food, the noise basically the spirit of Christmas very much and would love it all to just stop.

            He decides he will dress up as Santa and go down his mountain with his dog Max, who he makes a honouree reindeer, and steal all the Who's Christmas presents, decorations and "roast beast" and he thinks that this will make them unhappy and hopefully Christmas will not come. But Christmas does come and the Who's still sing their carols and are happy because Christmas to them is not about presents and roast beast etc, its about them being together and the spirit of Christmas, this then makes the Grinch understand the true meaning of Christmas and not only does he return the presents but his heart grows bigger.

            This book is in the usual Dr Seuss fashion and rhymes throughout, with great lines such as

            Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot but the Grinch who lived just North of Whoville did not

            Maybe Christmas he thought does not come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.

            And he brought back the toys and the food for their feast and he, he himself, the Grinch carved the roast beast.

            I think this is a lovely story and is a nice lesson to learn children that although at christmas you may not have lots of presents and toys some years, (especially with the credit crunch!!) that this is not the true meaning of Christmas and it's the fun and time you have with your family and friends that really matters (along with the religious meaning to those of you whom are are religious) although no matter if your children are getting not many toys and presents or getting loads, its still important for this lesson to be taught to your children i feel.

            I highly reccommend this book to anyone with children over the christmas period, or for any of you grinches out there!!!!

            amazon sell for 4.84

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              06.11.2008 20:03
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              Well respected book suitable for all ages

              Xmas is fast approaching, and as such it's time to think about what gifts to buy for your loved ones. If you're looking for a good idea for a book for kids, then this is a very good option. Dr Seuss books are well known for being a bit whacky, a bit strange and different, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas is no different.

              The book has been made into a film starring Jim Carrey as The Grinch, and is worth a look - it's highly amusing. The book itself is very well written and animated, featuring a number of imaginatively created creatures and some clever rhyming as well. The story tells of a grinch who can't stand Xmas. He decides to dress up as Santa and steal everything from the creatures of Who-ville. As Xmas grows nearer, will Xmas still go ahead or will the Grinch get his way?

              This is a very cleverly written book. It will probably be suitable more for slightly older kids, and is intended for those who can already read fluently. However, I find my 4 year old enjoys it just as much if you read it to him and he can see the pictures at the same time. Either way, it's highly recommended book, even if it is a little strange. The illustrations are very clever and instantly recognisable as Dr Seuss' work, and the rhyming style is very catchy and individual.

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              27.01.2008 16:08
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              Classic Dr Seuss

              Dr Seuss books are full of strange and wonderful creatures, drawn in his inimitable style and named thus. Cat in the Hat, Fox in Socks and Yertle the Turtle are all up there in the front or back benches of the children's Hall of Fame and Grinch is another of the Seussian amazing beasts worth knowing.

              I have to say I was rather reluctant at the first sight of the book: I had a vague memory of a long, boring and a rather terrible movie I was made to half-watch on the television during one family visit. But I needn't have worried: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a great book and if your child doesn't yet know it, this 50th birthday edition would make a great pre-Christmas present.

              Part of the "yellow back" Seuss series, designed for fluent readers, but also eminently suitable for reading aloud to younger children, Grinch has all the Seuss signature features: illustrations for which the word quirky must have been invented and the wonderful, energetic, confident, anarchic rhyme. I often feel Seuss is going to fail and fall off a rhyme and consonance tower of verse, but he somehow always pulls it off - sometimes just by inventing a word.

              Grinch is actually, and I suppose inevitably, less anarchic and more conventional tale as it delves into the "true meaning of Christmas" land. A grumpy Grinch hates Christmas - possibly because his heart is too small - and is desperate to stop it from coming. He gets a wonderful, awful idea and decides to dress up as Santa and steal it from the happy little creatures of Who-ville: the food, the presents, the stockings and even the trees! To his dismay, Christmas still comes and the Whos sing loudly and joyfully. What will Grinch do?

              I think we all know, and those who don't can get the book and find out. The moral is there, perfectly: it's got nothing to do with the external trappings, the joy is in the people and presents or no presents, feast or no feast, Christmas will come regardless and all in the right frame of mind can celebrate. And if it's done in good spirit, Who-knows, maybe the transformed Grinch himself will whizzz down to distribute the stolen presents back and carve the roast beast.

              Highly recommended for all that like Seuss aged 3 and above, and if you have to have one positive Christmas tale you can as well make it this one (though, as now commonplace, the Christian part is non-existent).

              And remember, Grinch , as all Seuss, is meant to be read aloud, with expression, oomph and as much hype and histrionics as possible. You could even make a family performance!

              Picture Lions; (6 Oct 2003), 64 pages

              This review was originally written for www.thebookbag.co.uk.

              The review copy was sent by the publisher - thank you!

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                22.09.2000 22:05
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                Dr Seuss is one those author's you either love or you hate. If you like the others you'll like this one. It follows the same format of nice little rhyming verses to make it easy to read with kids, and as always the story has the happy ending and moral message that you expect from the doctor. The Grinch is a green thing with very large ears - something like a cross between Mr Spock and a cucumber. He's kind of sad and lonely and this makes him hate seeing the others having fun, especially at christmas when they're all being jolly and singing and he isn't. So he decides to steal christmas so that they'll be as miserable as he is. Naturally it doesn't quite work like that, but I'll leave you to read the story rather than tell you all the details. The main thing that makes this one stand out from the others is that any time now Universal Studios will be releasing the film based on this book. The film stars Jim Carrey and is likely to bring with it as much merchandising as the Mask did - Only the Grinch is much cuter! Before Christmas you'll be seeing the Grinch everywhere. So why not impress the kids by buying the book now and knowing the story before they do :o)

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