The Best Dr. Seuss Books, Ranked Worst to First
You’ve probably heard of “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” but you might not know that Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated more than 60 children's books over his lifetime. Born Theodor Seuss Geisel (he wasn’t a real doctor but believed his pen name would get people to take him more seriously in college), the author used wordplay, rhyme and charming characters to inspire millions of young readers, both at home in the U.S. and internationally.
Some of Seuss’s classic stories teach important lessons (“The Lorax,” “Yertle the Turtle”), while others have been adapted for big-screen success (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas," “The Cat in the Hat”). Every Seuss fan has their own personal favorite, but these 50 best Dr. Seuss books are ranked from worst to first, based on Goodreads ratings as well as our staff's personal opinion — which makes any of them a pretty good place to start your collection.
But don’t stop there. As Seuss wrote in “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
50. My Many Colored Days
"My Many Colored Days" took over two decades to materialize from the time Dr. Seuss first wrote it. He wanted to find an illustrator who could capture emotions and moods using color without being overly influenced by Seuss himself. The search went on for years until Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher took on the challenge.
Their expressive paintings are a departure from Seuss's usual illustrations, and the story makes a wonderful platform to help children learn to define and express their feelings.
49. Scrambled Eggs Super!
Peter T. Hooper has very specific taste when it comes to his scrambled eggs. Written in 1953, "Scrambled Eggs Super!" is about Peter T. Hooper, who travels around the world to find the absolute best eggs from a number of strange birds.
The story is silly, imaginative and very Seuss.
48. On Beyond Zebra!
The alphabet ends with Z, unless you're Dr. Seuss, of course. The young protagonist of "On Beyond Zebra," Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell, decides the alphabet should be even bigger, adding on a brand new alphabet that starts with Z.
To bring the new alphabet to life, Conrad invents new animals whose names are spelled with the new letters he's invented.
47. The King's Stilts
"The King's Stilts" is a classic fairytale with Dr. Seuss's signature flair. It was first published in 1939, and while it wasn't particularly well-received, it's still an interesting read for a devoted fan of his work. It's about a beloved king who loves to walk around on stilts and allows the kingdom to fall to pieces when his stilts are stolen.
The most interesting part is that it's written in prose instead of the sing-song rhyme scheme for which Seuss is known.
46. My Book About Me by Me, Myself
Keepsake books are usually for parents to record their child's major milestones, but Dr. Seuss doesn't write for parents, does he? This "about me" book is designed to be filled out by kids, answering biographical questions as ordinary as "how tall are you?" and as wacky as "what animal sounds can you make?"
There are also creative drawing prompts and checklists to explore. It makes a fantastic, interactive gift, and kids will love reading it together after they fill it out.
45. Oh Say Can You Say?
"Oh Say Can You Say?" is less a book to read and more a book to play with. It's a collection of hilarious tongue-twisters invented by Dr. Seuss.
Some of them are relatively easy, but others are tricky enough to give even grownups a challenge.
44. Daisy-Head Mayzie
What's more important: Fame and fortune, or family? "Daisy-Head Mayzie" challenges kids to explore this question when 12-year-old Mayzie sprouts a daisy on top of her head. Her friends and family are concerned, understandably, but a talent agent thinks it's fantastic.
She heads out of town to become a star, but the Cat in the Hat eventually reminds her of what's really important.
43. In a People House
If your goal is to trick your toddler into learning beginning phonics, "The People House" should be on your list. An enthusiastic mouse introduces a bird to the inside of a "people house," naming all of the items inside it.
With 65 different items listed, toddlers have a chance to get familiar with the names of common objects, and older kids can begin learning how to spell them.
42. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
Important lessons are best explained to little ones through story. In this case, it gives young readers an introduction to setting boundaries. Thidwick, a kindly moose, welcomes smaller creatures to take up residence in antlers. One by one, the guests keep coming, and Thidwick is too nice to say no.
Eventually, something's gotta give. It's funny and playfully told but also imparts an excellent message: Sometimes, saying no is the right thing to do.
41. Wacky Wednesday
Illustrated in full color, this Seuss tale is about a kid who wakes up to a world where everything seems to work differently than it usually does. But no one else seems to notice the difference.
It's a fun, easy read that engages kids by encouraging them to look through all the photos to spot all of the oddities. It's like a Seuss spin on "I, Spy," except with more reading practice sprinkled in.
40. Come Over to My House
Dr. Seuss's 1966 book is a warm introduction to the variety and uniqueness of homes and families around the world. The illustrations show examples of how people live around the world, including how they eat, sleep and play.
It was published as the 44th book in the Beginner Books series, and young children adore the rhyme scheme, repetition and relatability.
39. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
Some kids happily fall asleep right on time, but most of them fight it tooth and nail. Marvin K. Mooney falls in the latter category, stubbornly refusing to go to bed no matter what happens.
The book is upbeat and tons of fun to read aloud. Go over the top with theatrics, and your little one might get the message just like Marvin does.
38. The Tooth Book
One of Seuss's books written under the pen name "Theo LeSieg," this toothy tale is, not surprisingly, all about teeth. It's a bubbly introduction to the concept of losing baby teeth and being patient for them to fall out, plus reminders to take care of the ones you have.
If you have a toddler who's not a fan of brushing their teeth or a kindergartener spooked about losing a tooth, "The Tooth Book" is a great read.
37. I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew
Dr. Seuss is a master at hiding real-life lessons in simplistic text and bright, imaginative illustrations. A small, bear-like critter is happily living in a peaceful valley when unpleasant creatures come around and start giving him trouble. A fellow offers him a ride to the utopia of Solla Sollew, claiming it's trouble-free.
Needless to say, it isn't. The road there is long and hard, and in the end, the pair is forced to turn back and face their problems head-on. The takeaway? Instead of running away from your problems, just buckle down and deal with them.
36. Go, Dog, Go!
"Go, Dog, Go!" was actually edited by Dr. Seuss, not written fully by him, but his influence is apparent throughout. It's a timeless early reader that helps the tiny tots enjoy their first adventures in literature.
The repetition makes it easy for kids to practice familiar sentences, and Dr. Seuss's creative, silly questions keep readers laughing throughout.
35. If I Ran the Zoo
Entering the world of Gerald McGrew in "If I Ran the Zoo" is like walking into the inner workings of a child's imagination. Gerald is a young boy who imagines the local zoo like something from another planet.
Instead of just lions and tigers, his zoo would have a menagerie of mystical and nonsensical beasts to meet. The rhyme and whimsy is a hit with kids of all ages and might just remind grownups how important it is to exercise their imaginations.
34. What Was I Scared Of?
Dr. Seuss has caught a lot of flak in recent years for the racist undertones of some of his stories, but "What Was I Scared Of?" offers the exact opposite. While it's not about race directly, it sends a strong message about prejudice and tolerance. The narrator is initially terrified of a mysterious pair of green pants that he keeps running into.
Eventually, he finds himself hiding in a bush alongside the trousers, which are ever bit as afraid of him as he is of them. The lesson is clear: Just because something is unfamiliar or different doesn't mean it's bad.
33. McElligot's Pool
"McElligot's Pool" is unique in a few ways. The colorful book illustrates every other page in black and white, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality as the main character, Marco, tells his story. He sits and waits with his fishing rod at a pond called McElligot's Pool in hopes of catching fish, which the farmer claims is impossible.
Young Marco invents increasingly fantastical fish in his imagination that might turn up. His imaginings are so vivid that he has the farmer questioning himself by the end of it.
32. Bartholomew and the Oobleck
"Bartholomew and the Oobleck" is an underrated Seuss classic written back in 1949. While some of Seuss's books haven't aged well, this one's message holds up even after more than half a century. Young Bartholomew Cubbins serves as a pageboy to an arrogant king who wants more weather than nature can provide. His royal magicians attempt to make a new type of precipitation called "oobleck," a substance that's a mystery even to them.
The entire kingdom is entirely covered in green goo, and while poor Bartholomew does his best to help, in the end, it's all up to the king. He has to learn to admit he was wrong and apologize, a lesson that all of us would do well to remember.
31. What Pet Should I Get?
This Dr. Seuss book is a fun read for kids and parents alike. The "Make Up Your Mind" mantra throughout the book adds a sense of urgency to the ever-important decision of determining which household pet is the best for your family.
It's a wonderful introduction to animals and the idea of having a pet, in general. And for older children who are begging to get a pet, it can be a jumping-off point for conversations about how to care for pets and chores that would coincide with that responsibility.
30. If I Ran the Circus
What would you do if you ran the circus? It's a fun question that sparks creativity and imagination as you read this story that follows a young boy and his dreams of, yes, running a circus.
Step right up and enjoy the show that involves a wink-hooded Hoodwink and a daredevil Sneelock, all while enjoying the classic rhymes of Dr. Seuss.
29. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
Published in 1937, Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” remains one of his most popular of all time.
Despite the controversy around one of the book's illustrations stereotyping Chinese culture, the book can still teach younger generations about the power of imagination. Plus, it can be used as a tool to start a dialogue with children about racial stereotypes and how they've changed throughout history.
28. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
The huge success of “The Cat in the Hat” more or less guaranteed the return of the troublesome kitty. Published in 1958, the sequel, “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back,” is a fabulous story about what can go wrong when kids (and cats) are left to their own devices and how you can make things right again.
It ends on a high with a metrically perfect, rhymed quatrain that’s designed to teach young readers their ABCs.
27. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
Another one of Seuss's earlier and lesser-known works, "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" was first published in 1938. It follows a peasant who is mistreated by King Derwin, addressing one of the author's key themes — the abuse of power — that he uses throughout several of his stories.
And, of course, Seuss's clever humor makes it a classic you'll want to bring back.
26. Hop on Pop
“Hop on Pop” (the “simplest Seuss for youngest use”) was a hit when it was first published in 1963, and it remains a firm Dr. Seuss favorite.
The monosyllabic rhymes and brilliant illustrations work in perfect harmony. “THREE TREE/Three fish in a tree/Fish in a tree?/How can that be?” comes to life thanks to three well-fed, smug fish sitting on the branches of a tree, while two weird and wonderful creatures (are they dogs, rabbits or humans?) watch them with trepidation.
25. I Am Not Going to Get Up Today!
We get it. Who really wants to get out of bed in the morning?
No matter what noises or irritations this young boy encounters, nothing will get in his way of a solid rest — not even the U.S. Marines! This is a fun read from cover to cover, made even better if you read it in bed.
24. The Foot Book: Dr. Seuss's Wacky Book of Opposites
Dr. Seuss brings his trademark whimsy to the world of opposites in “The Foot Book,” which is a wonderful way to introduce little ones to the world of feet: “Wet feet/Dry feet/Low feet/High feet.”
It’s an entertaining book to share with young kids, who’ll get a kick (pun intended) out of the snappy rhymes — accompanied as ever by Seuss’s delightful illustrations. It’s super simple and completely brilliant.
23. There's a Wocket in My Pocket!
This book offers a great introduction to rhyming similarly spelled words through the use of tons of words that are completely made up by Dr. Seuss.
After all, what exactly is a wocket? Or a nooth grush? We don't know, but we like saying them out loud.
22. Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!
The world of books is awash with alphabet primers for babies and toddlers, but “Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!” is arguably the best out there. Aunt Annie’s alligator kicks off a cast of eccentric characters who keep little ones entertained right through Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz.
It’s the most fun a kid can have learning the letters and sounds of the alphabet — and a must for every family bookshelf.
21. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
It’s never too early to teach kids important lessons about how to be good people, and Dr. Seuss makes it easy. “Yertle the Turtle,” “Gertrude McFuzz” and “The Big Brag” — featuring foolish King Yertle and his loyal subjects, a wild-eyed worm, a boastful bear, a proud rabbit and a whining bird — are tales about greed, vanity and pride.
Seuss’s trademark rhythm and rhyme help those messages hit home: “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down on the bottom we, too, should have rights!”
20. Fox in Socks
Some of Dr. Seuss's books, like “Fox in Socks,” were written specifically to be read aloud. The crafty fox in socks likes to play games on his cross companion Mr. Knox with a series of tongue-twisters that get progressively trickier throughout the book.
For young readers, the funniest part of “Fox in Socks” is listening to adult readers trying to get their tongues around “a tweetle beetle noodle poodle bottled paddled muddled duddled fuddled wuddled fox in socks, sir!”
19. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff
The black silhouettes used throughout this book give young readers a wonderful introduction to shapes — specifically the fact that no two things are shaped alike.
Can your child guess the shape of a bug? How about a balloon or a bike? This one is particularly fun for toddlers.
18. Oh the Thinks You Can Think!
This book takes Dr. Seuss's creative spirit and runs with it by encouraging children to expand their imaginations and think about ... thinking.
By naming all the ways you can think, it's a quick read for kids ages 3-7.
17. Ten Apples Up on Top
Another one of Dr. Seuss's Beginner Books, "Ten Apples Up on Top" will have your kid counting to 10 in no time.
This tale of three animal friends who are determined to balance apples on their heads uses simple words that not only make reading but also counting fun.
16. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Who doesn't like to make animal sounds? Moooooooo!
Mr. Brown delights readers by making these noises all throughout the book. He will hoo hoo like an owl and buzz buzz like a bee and even pip like a goldfish kiss. Who knew that was a thing?
15. Happy Birthday to You!
Need a birthday tradition that rhymes? Dr. Seuss, of course, has you covered. It's the perfect birthday present that celebrates the reader, telling them that "There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"
Better yet, the message of being yourself is something that can be celebrated all year long.
14. The Butter Battle Book
Yes, everything's better with butter. But the Yooks and Zooks are quite divisive about how specifically buttered bread should be enjoyed.
It's a laughable concept, but the book provides a timeless message about tolerance and respecting each other's differences.
13. I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Can you read in purple? What about in a circle? Or upside down?
If Dr. Seuss didn't already make reading fun, this book takes it to the next level by listing off all the fun, goofy ways kids can read (and the importance of reading, in general).
12. Horton Hatches the Egg
Horton the elephant, one of Dr. Seuss’s most-loved characters, was first introduced to readers in the 1940 release “Horton Hatches the Egg.” Unfortunately, his kind-hearted, dependable nature (“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant … An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”) means he’s easy to take advantage of.
In this case, poor Horton is persuaded to sit on an egg while the lazy bird Maysie takes a very extended break. The verse is inspiring, the illustrations are charming, and the message is clear: Patience pays off.
11. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
A child’s imagination can go anywhere, and the classic “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” is a celebration of that. Questions like “Did you ever fly a kite in bed?” and “Did you ever walk with 10 cats on your head?” are exactly the kind of things kids want to ask — and are always ready to answer.
It’s yet another example of Dr. Seuss’s entertaining approach to education — one that never dates, because what kid isn’t enthralled by a winking Yink who drinks pink ink or a yellow Zed with one hair on its head?
10. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
Kids don't always understand their place in the world, which is why a wise old man in the desert is the perfect person to help them figure it out.
"Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" reminds young readers, especially ones who are feeling particularly sorry for themselves, to count their blessings and try to appreciate the small things. (Parents, you might just need this lesson, too!)
9. Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book
Does your child claim they're never sleepy? Try reading them this book.
After adding up 99 zillion creatures who are sleeping and yawning throughout the world, your little one will be rubbing their eyes in no time.
8. I Wish That I Had Duck Feet
Duck feet. Really?
This hilarious story about a boy who weighs the pros and cons of whether or not he would want to look like other animals will teach your child that it's actually OK to be themselves (although having duck feet might have its perks in the swimming pool).
7. The Cat in the Hat
If a giant cat in a giant hat doesn’t turn up to relieve your kids of boredom, at least they can read about what happens when Dick and Sally’s rainy day indoors turns into a crazy adventure with a frivolous feline at its helm.
Dr. Seuss wrote “The Cat in the Hat” as a response to the concern that “pallid primers [with] abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls” were leading to growing illiteracy among children, and it transformed the way kids learned to read. It was goodbye Dick and Jane, and hello Dick, Sally and the inimitable Cat in the Hat.
6. Horton Hears a Who!
The second story featuring everyone’s favorite elephant came in 1954 with “Horton Hears a Who!” Deep in the multicolored Jungle of Nool, Horton stumbles across the miniature, magical world of Whoville and takes it upon himself to stand up for the Whos.
The lesson at the heart of this timeless tale is that anybody, of any size, can choose to stand up for what is right, as captured in the famous Seuss quote, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
5. The Sneetches and Other Stories
Published in 1961, “The Sneetches and Other Stories” consists of “The Sneetches,” “The Zax,” “Too Many Daves” and “What Was I Scared Of?” They’re all easy-to-read, they all teach subtle yet important moral lessons, and they’re all guaranteed to give young readers the giggles.
Mrs. McCave is particularly silly after having 23 sons and naming them all Dave. She even acknowledges that life would be far easier if she’d given them different names, like Bodkin Van Horn, Hot-Shot or Sunny Jim.
4. Green Eggs and Ham
According to legend, Dr. Seuss's best-selling “Green Eggs and Ham” was originally created when Bennett Cerf, the co-founder of Random House, bet the author $50 that he couldn't write a book using only 50 unique words or less. Seuss not only rose to the challenge (the book uses exactly 50 words), he surpassed it, producing one of the most instantly recognizable children's books of all time.
Persistent question-asker Sam-I-Am asks all kinds of questions — “Do you like green eggs and ham? In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree?” — eventually winning over the reluctant narrator, who ends up loving the curious meal.
3. The Lorax
A tale of caution long before we realized how much damage our behavior was doing to the planet, “The Lorax” and its eco-warrior protagonist who “speaks for the trees” warns about the dangers of destroying our forests.
The book’s message — “UNLESS someone like you … cares a whole awful lot … nothing is going to get better … It’s not” — is one everyone needs to hear, not just the youngest generation. It even manages to get that message across without preaching.
2. Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” was the last Dr. Seuss book to be published before his death in 1991, and it’s widely considered to be one of his best. As an inspirational expression of how life can be wonderful one day and challenging the next, it’s the perfect gift for anyone going through a life transition, whatever their age or stage.
Not surprisingly, it sells like hotcakes around graduation time every year and remains Seuss’s top-selling book. Some of the author’s most quoted words are found here, such as “You have brains in your head/You have feet in your shoes/You can steer yourself/Any direction you choose.”
1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” was a festive classic long before it was adapted for the big screen in 2000 with Jim Carrey playing the role of the small-hearted, long-legged green holiday grouch.
The Whos of Whoville, last seen in “Horton Hears a Who!” return to remind readers that kindness, compassion and a large dose of Christmas cheer can warm even a heart that’s “two sizes too small.” As well as the Grinch himself, his loyal dog Max and unlikely friend Cindy Lou Who have become some of Dr. Seuss’s most iconic characters, earning it a top spot on our list.