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Literature / If I Ran the Circus

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If I Ran the Circus is a 1956 children's book by Dr. Seuss. A young boy named Morris McGurk dreams about the possibilities of having his own big top, showing off spectacular attractions and marvelous animals — with the assistance of his good friend Mr. Sneelock, of course.

This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Alliterative Name: The narrator is called Morris McGurk.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Spotted Atrocious eats sidewalks along with more natural things.
  • Funny Background Event: The end of the book has Sneelock standing off to the side as Morris finishes his musings about his circus, looking rather perturbed at what the boy expects him to do.
  • Imagine Spot: The entire book consists of Morris' imagination running wild as he thinks about all the things he could do if he had the room to set up a circus of his own.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The boy Morris is friends with local shopkeeper Mr. Sneelock.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Spotted Atrocious lives up to its name as a fearsome beast.
  • Running Gag:
    • Morris says repeatedly that of course Mr. Sneelock won't mind the circus coming together in the formerly vacant lot behind his store.
    • Morris refers to Mr. Sneelock as a friend and says that he is certain Sneelock will help out with his plans for the circus, and of course he won't mind doing some unpleasant or risky stuff.
  • Spiritual Successor: It resembles If I Ran the Zoo, both being about young boys contemplating having their own entertainment venues and what they would do with them.