How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is one of the best-known children's books by Dr. Seuss. It is written in rhymed verse, with illustrations by the author. The book has been adapted to other media, also discussed below. more...
Seuss completed How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. The mid-1950s were a fruitful period for Seuss, during which he wrote many of the stories for which he is most admired today, including The Cat in the Hat, If I Ran the Circus, and On Beyond Zebra.
The Grinch, a bitter, green-coated, cave-dwelling creature with a heart "two sizes too small," lives on snowy Mount Krumpet, a steep, 10,000 foot high mountain just north of Whoville. His only companion is Max, his faithful but dim dog. From his perch high atop Mount Krumpet, the Grinch can hear the noisy Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville. (These are not the same microscopic-sized Whos who appear in Horton Hears a Who; these Whos are visible to the naked eye, although the Grinch may just be their size, considering that the Whos all live on a snowflake in the film The Grinch, as opposed to living on a speck of dust in Horton Hears a Who.) Envious of the Whos' happiness, he makes plans to descend on the town and, by means of serial burglary, deprive them of their Christmas presents and decorations and thus prevent Christmas from coming. However, he learns in the end that despite his success in stealing all the Christmas presents and decorations from the Whos, Christmas comes just the same. He then realizes that Christmas is more than just gifts and presents. His heart grows three sizes larger, he returns all the presents and trimmings, and is warmly welcomed into the community of the Whos.
The book is one of the purest examples of Seuss's style. The ink-drawn illustrations make use of only black, red, and pink (the latter being the color of the Grinch's eyes), and the versification is strict and never skips a syllable. The purity of the verse is increased by the fact that Seuss avoided introducing made-up words intended to fit the meter (for example, "Jill-ikka-Jast" or "Sala-ma-goox", both from Scrambled Eggs Super).
Adaptations and translations
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was adapted to television in 1966 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as an animated TV special, directed by Seuss's friend and former colleague Chuck Jones, whom Seuss had known from their days of working on Private Snafu training cartoons for the U.S. Army during World War II. The show starred Boris Karloff as narrator and Grinch, and (unusually for adaptations) included the actual text of the book in spoken form.
Jones, who served as director, character designer, and character layout artist (as he had done for nearly all of his Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, and the latter-period MGM Tom and Jerry films he had done) modified the appearance of the Grinch somewhat to fit the medium, rendering him in green and with a more elongated, frog-like face. In his 1996 book Chuck Reducks, Jones later said that Seuss thought the animated Grinch looked more like Jones than it did the character in the original book, a fact Jones attributed to the use of his own facial expressions as a model for the Grinch's.
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