- Accidental Aesop: He rarely had an intended moral in mind while writing his books, and was always irritated at people insisting on reading one into them. His argument was that a moral could be read into any story with consistent characterization as naturally some characters are going to be more sympathetic than others, and Whats wrong with kids just having fun reading without having to learn something?
- Animation Age Ghetto: After the failure of his only venture into adult literature, The Seven Lady Godivas, Seuss became convinced that only children were able to appreciate his whimsical art and writing style, and that adults were simply "obsolete children" not worth his time. Considering he would become one of the most beloved children's authors in American history, this is one of the very rare instances of this trope turning out for the better.
- Later averted with some of his final books: You're Only Old Once! : A Book for Obsolete Children and Oh, The Places You'll Go! which were welcomed by older readers like retirees and post-secondary school graduates respectively.
- Anvilicious: Seuss's Aesops are not delivered gently.
- Interestingly, he usually didnt write his books with morals in mind. He preferred to let it grow out from the story, saying A kid can see a moral coming a mile away.
- Covered Up: The Red Hot Chili Peppers did an adaptation of "Yertle the Turtle".
- Crazy Awesome: The circus and zoo featured in If I Ran The Circus and If I Ran The Zoo.
- Also the thing that was "seen" on Mulberry Street.
- Fetish Retardant: The Seven Lady Godivas was intended to be racy, but, by Seuss's own admission, his art style made the nude characters look silly rather than sexy."I attempted to draw the sexiest babes I could, but they came out looking absurd."
- Heartwarming Moment: The Lorax originally had the fish, chased out of their lake by pollution, say that "I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie". But "People indeed cared a whole awful lot,/ And worked very hard, and better it got." (to paraphrase the book's ending) - and so Dr. Seuss removed the line.
God bless you, you're a human. Have an easy, breezy, fascinating time!
- The ending of Horton Hatches the Egg: "'And it should be, it should be, it should be like that / because Horton was faithful. He sat and he sat. / He meant what he said and he said what he meant...' / And they sent him home, happy one hundred percent."
- The Hoober Bloob Highway is all about an unborn baby trying to decide whether he wants to go to Earth as a human, or even at all. After much deliberation, he decides to do it, and Hoober Bloob shouts down the ramp that "Here comes a good one!"
- Hilarious in Hindsight
- In Hop on Pop, there are two dog characters accompanying the lines "Two dogs get wet. They yelp for help." Fifty years later, the phrase "yelp for help" became a staple for a certain other group of dogs. note
- The "bofa on the sofa" from There's A Wocket In My Pocket probably wouldn't appreciate how his name is being used now.
- Misaimed Fandom:
- Horton Hears a Who has been co-opted as support by many pro-life groups, who use the famous line: "A person's a person, no matter how small" as their rallying cry. In truth, Seuss was commenting on how America was basically ignoring the rebuilding needs of post-WWII Japan, and that line in particular was intended to send the message that regardless of the fact that we had just fought a war against them, treating them that way was simply not right, and would probably engender further resentment against the United States. The man himself wasn't pro-life and sued a pro-life organization for using the phrase on their stationary.
- At least one right-winger has compared liberals to the mooching animals in Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, which invokes Death of the Author in light of Seuss' progressive political beliefs.
- Never Live It Down: He wasn't proud of himself for cheating on his first wife, which indirectly led to her committing suicide, and when asked about it said "I didn't know whether to kill myself, burn the house down, or just go away and get lost."
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Zig-zagged. To a kid, the star-bellied Sneeches and Yertle The Turtle aren't racists or Nazis, respectively, so much as jerks. With the exception of The Lorax and The Butter Battle Book, whose messages are Ripped from the Headlines, the message is only really unsubtle to those who can read the symbolism.
- Tear Jerker: The Lorax is a good contender for the saddest Dr. Seuss book of all time. It proves that, indeed, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
- Values Resonance: His political cartoons mocking the fascist "America First" movement of the 1940s found new popularity after a rise in white nationalism in the 2010s.
- The Woobie: Horton and Thidwick, Oh so very much.
- The Lorax, poor soul.
- While the aesop of The Sneetches is supposed to apply to all of them, one can't help but feel sorry for the original plain-bellied Sneetches for how they were discriminated against.
- Mack the turtle.
- The Sad Dad from Hop on Pop.
- The forest creatures from The Lorax.
YMMV / Dr. Seuss