10 Dr. Seuss Books that are Frightening to Kids

With over 60 books selling more than 222 million copies, Dr. Seuss was one of the most prolific and popular writers of children’s books ever. His fanciful imagination has entertained generations of young readers. Many of his books are educational and fun, but when you think about it, some of them are kind of scary. Here are 10 Dr. Seuss books that could be frightening to kids.

  1. The Cat in the Hat – The most popular and instantly recognizable Dr. Seuss book is The Cat in the Hat. It’s very entertaining, but could be a bit scary to young children. The two kids in the book have their house invaded by a naughty cat along with Thing One and Thing Two who proceed to wreck havoc. Even though the cat does manage to clean up his mess before their mother gets home, the situation gets pretty dicey.
  2. Green Eggs and Ham – The best selling Dr. Seuss book is Green Eggs and Ham. Although some kids like the absurdity of the story, some could be frightened by a guy named Sam-I-Am following them around insisting they eat green food.
  3. Hunches in Bunches – Strange creatures with huge gloved hats on their heads could give children nightmares. Parents may want to think twice before exposing their impressionable kids to a book like Hunches in Bunches.
  4. The Butter Battle Book – What could be more frightening to kids than a book about the nuclear arms race and mutually assured destruction? The Butter Battle Book has the Yooks and the Zooks building increasingly scary weapons to battle each other over which side of the bread should be buttered. Unlike other Seuss books, this one doesn’t even have a happy theme or ending.
  5. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins – Young children may find it a bit alarming that the poor boy named Bartholomew Cubbins is threatened with beheading because he’s unable to remove his hat for the king. The story does have a good ending when King Derwin pardons him and buys his 500th hat.
  6. Bartholomew and the Oobleck – The sequel to The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is Bartholomew and the Oobleck. This one isn’t that scary, but kids may find it a little creepy that the whole kingdom gets covered in green, gooey oobleck just because the king was bored.
  7. Horton Hears a Who – Parents should be cautioned before they read this book to their children. Once they get the idea that a tiny speck of dust could really be a planet inhabited by microscopic people, kids could use it as an excuse to quit cleaning their room.
  8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Any child would feel threatened by the thought that a nasty old Grinch living in a cave could come down and steal away their Christmas. Since human kids aren’t as happy and warm-hearted as the Whos, they wouldn’t take it as well if all their presents were stolen during the night.
  9. I’m NOT Going to Get Up Today – Using the typical rhyming theme, this Dr. Seuss book is about a young boy who decides to stay in bed for no apparent reason. Youngsters may be somewhat frightened to think that the news media and the marines would be summoned to make them get up.
  10. The Lorax – The obvious environmental terrorism in The Lorax is actually intended to frighten kids. The gloom and doom as the Truffula forest is decimated could all be avoided if the Once-ler had replanted the trees like most companies in the timber industry do.

Though most of these Dr. Seuss books are harmless enough, parents should be very diligent about what books their children are exposed to. Sometimes it not so much what is in the stories, but what is left out. Unfortunately, there are adults with nefarious agendas who like to use children’s books to influence impressionable minds and promote their misguided beliefs. Are there subliminal messages in all of Dr. Seuss’s books? Perhaps not, but parents should find out from their kids what they think of any books or stories they read to make sure they’re not getting the wrong message.

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