What could be scarier than walking deep in the woods in the middle of a dark night? Running smack dab into a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside ’em, that’s what! And what if those pants seemed to be tailing you, nearly running you down with their bicycle as you fetched some spinach in Grin-itch, then catching you unawares while fishing for Doubt-trout on Roover River, and finally cornering you in a spooky Snide-field as you were picking your peck of Snide. Yes, a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside is pretty terrifying, but sometimes you find that the people who seem the most terrifying are actually just as intimidated by you as you are of them. And when that happens, what you need to do is sit right down beside those pants, put your arm around their waste, and begin a beautiful friendship.
Happy birthday in a few days, Dr. Seuss! This is for sure, my favorite Dr. Seuss story ever, and I have never met another person who has read it. I got it in a book called “The Sneetches and Other Stories.” Dr. Seuss has such a knack for bringing the “other” into perspective, making big scary issues feel silly and manageable. Who else would have written a story like this? He embraces all social barriers and causes for prejudice that you could possibly imagine, but he doesn’t have to mention a single one by name. He doesn’t have to talk about race or class, or any of those things that might put ideas into kids’ heads if they haven’t thought of them before, he just has to make up something crazy and ridiculous like a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside ’em, and all inhibitions that anyone could ever have about befriending another person are covered. This is such a universal issue for kids and adults, and the message is so clear and universal- just stop stressing out and be friends already! Dr. Seuss, you were a genius who will never ever be replaced. He has no equal as an author, illustrator, and all-around unique, creative gem of a man. We all miss you.
To find out if this book is at your public library, go to World Cat.
Visit this website to learn more about Dr. Seuss and his books.