10 Best Dr. Seuss Books Everyone Must Read

If you’re buying a gift for a kid, or fancy a fun read, consider one of the top 10 best Dr. Seuss books to build a fun library.

You can’t spend much time talking to parents or teachers of young children without discovering the wonder of Dr. Seuss’s books. Dr. Seuss was the pen name for Theodor Geisel, author of 48 books, many of which were for children. His whimsical rhyme schemes and fanciful characters, combined with his unique style of art, continue to be beloved by children long after he died in 1991.

After establishing himself as a children’s author, Seuss was given a task by Houghton Mifflin. After learning that children were struggling with literacy because their books were boring, the publishing company gave Seuss a list of 250 words first graders should know and asked him to write a book using only those words. The result was a bestseller, his first, and a book that inspired young children to read.

While Dr. Seuss has many works under his pen name, a few are distinctive and remain classics that even modern children read and enjoy. So if you want to add some books to your children’s library, these are the best Dr. Seuss books to consider.

Here Are The 10 Best Dr. Seuss Books

1. The Cat in the Hat

Best Dr. Seuss Books
Dr. Seuss via Wikipedia, Public Domain

The Cat in the Har resulted from Houghton Mifflin’s request for an easy reader. It has a simplified vocabulary that beginning readers can tackle, opening up Seuss to the world of easy reader books. To date, The Cat in the Hat has sold over 10 million copies, and most years, it outsells new children’s books. 

The Cat in the Hat tops the list of the best Dr. Seuss books because of its enduring appeal. The characters, including the cat and Thing 1 and Thing 2, have loyal followings, and there have been television and movie spin-offs based on these characters. Want to read more children’s books? Discover our list of best books for Kindergarten.

“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”

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The Cat in the Hat
  • A classic by Dr. Seuss
  • Easy to read, prefect for beginners
  • For ages 3-7
  • Written by Dr. Seuss in 1957
  • Hardcover Book

2. Green Eggs and Ham

Another of the top books by Dr. Seuss is Green Eggs and Ham. Interestingly, this book came to be because of a bet between Dr. Seuss and Bennett Cerf, founder of Random House, that the author couldn’t write a book using only 50 unique words. However, he did, and Green Eggs and Ham was the result. This book is the subject of many Dr. Seuss-themed parties. It’s a fun early reader, too. Parents appreciate the lesson that maybe the child would like the unwanted food if they just tasted it.

“I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”

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Green Eggs and Ham
  • Sam-I-Am mounts a determined campaign to convince another Seuss character to eat a plate of green eggs and ham
  • Illustrated in color
  • By Dr. Seuss
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dr.Seuss (Author)

3. Horton Hears a Who

One of the most famous lines in Dr. Seuss’s books comes from Horton Hears a Who. This tale speaks of an elephant who hears a tiny cry from a dust speck, only to discover that the speck is a tiny planet with tiny people who need help. No one believes Horton, and the story tells what happens when he stands up for what he believes, even in spite of many of his fellow animals opposing him.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

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Horton Hears a Who!
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box.
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 72 Pages - 08/12/1954 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Grinch is almost a part of Christmas traditions like St. Nick himself, and much of that reality comes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. From the adorable Cindy Lou Who to the Grinch’s faithful dog-turned-reindeer, there is much to love about this classic tale. Within the verse and drawings of this classic, Seuss shows how the Grinch goes from being the destroyer of Christmas to the one who cuts the “roast beast.” Like many Seuss classics, this book has several movie and play adaptations. Yet nothing is quite as good as sitting down with the book to enjoy the story from its very source.

“And what happened then? Well, in Whoville, they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!”

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Full Color Jacketed Edition (Classic Seuss)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 09/21/2021 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

5. The Butter Battle Book

Written during World War II to show the follies of the war, The Butter Battle Book uses children’s literature to show just how silly the fight can be and how quickly it escalates. When two kingdoms, the Yooks and Zooks, battle over whether to eat bread butter side up or butter side down, the fight quickly escalates into a full-on arms race. Seuss used this book to talk about nuclear war and the follies of these weapons of mass destruction. It was not unusual for him to go into political themes in his books, and today The Butter Battle Book is an interesting look at an important political topic.

“Our slingshots have failed. That was old-fashioned stuff. Slingshots, dear boy, are not modern enough.”

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The Butter Battle Book: (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) (Classic Seuss)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 56 Pages - 01/12/1984 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

6. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Often given as a graduation gift, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was the last book Seuss published before his book. It follows the main character through various worlds until he lands at “The Waiting Place.” The book, like the life of a new graduate, is left open-ended, with only the world of possibility waiting. Though this one is not read aloud to young children as often as some of his other works, it remains popular because of its sentiment.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

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Oh, the Places You'll Go!  
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  • Hardcover Book
  • Seuss, Dr. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 56 Pages - 01/22/1990 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

7. Bartholomew and the Oobleck

Bartholomew and the Oobleck is one of the few books on this list that was not written in verse. Though it is prose, it is a fascinating story that makes an excellent read-aloud for children. In the story, Bartholomew, the main character, is serving the king of the Kingdom of Didd. The king gets angry at the sky and summons his magicians to make something new. Unfortunately, something new they make is Oobleck, and Oobleck quickly takes over the kingdom. The sticky goo only goes away when the king takes Bartholomew’s suggestion to apologize for his attitude toward the sky. The book won the Caldecott award.

“So don’t waste your time saying foolish magic words. YOU ought to be saying some plain simple words!”

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Bartholomew and the Oobleck: (Caldecott Honor Book) (Classic Seuss)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 56 Pages - 10/12/1949 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

8. The Lorax

What happens when a swindling salesperson comes to town and cuts down all the truffula trees? The Lorax is a fun, colorful, and whimsical tale that takes on the subject of environmentalism. It was named one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Children’s Books. Like many of Seuss’s books, the story is a great story, but it also teaches an important lesson. In this case, the lesson is environmental responsibility. The Lorax is also a major motion picture. You might be interested in exploring other children’s books, such as these best Astrid Lindgren books.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

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The Lorax (Classic Seuss)
  • The Lorax
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 72 Pages - 08/12/1971 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

9. Dr. Seuss’s ABC

Most parents can remember reading ABC books to their toddlers, but Dr. Seuss’s ABC takes it up a notch. Not only does A stand for Aunt Annie’s Alligator, but Z stands for Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz. Each page has a memorable and zany creature, and it has plenty of Seuss’s signature rhyme. Each page of the book shows the capital and lower case letter, then has a sentence that uses many words starting with that letter.

“Big B, Little B, What begins with B? Barber baby bubbles on a bumblebee.”

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Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!
  • 20 Pages..
  • Seuss, Dr. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 11/26/1996 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

10. The Sneetches and Other Stories

The Sneetches is the most famous tale in this collection of Dr. Seuss’s stories. It tells of a land of bird-like creatures. Some have green stars on their bellies, and some do not. A caste system sets apart those with stars and those without until a scammer comes to town and puts stars on and off of bellies at will. Ultimately, the town gets so mixed up that no one knows who has stars and who does not, and all become friends. It teaches an important lesson on prejudice.

“. . . until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew whether this one was that one, or that one was this one, or which one was what one, or what one was who.”

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The Sneetches and Other Stories
  • Hard cover
  • Bedtime story
  • English Language
  • Acid Free text block
  • Hardcover Book

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the 10 best children’s book authors!

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  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.