This book clearly deserves more than five stars. It has become an important Christmas classic that will probably increase its influence on generations to come.
Psychologists have told us for years that many people are depressed by the thought of another Christmas coming. The more laughter, entertaining, and gifts, the more depressed they get. For some this may relate to the darkness of the season as we approach the Winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. For others, it's related to a sense of inadequacy, a gap between how they would like their life to be and how it actually is. From the first time I ever heard this story as a youngster, I've always thought that Dr. Seuss must have known a few such people.
The story opens with a classic statement of contrast.
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot . . ."
"But the Grinch,
Who lived just north of Who-ville,
We don't know why he didn't like Christmas, just the things he didn't like about it, such as noise, feasting, and singing. The only glimpse we get as to causation for those reactions is a speculation that his heart is two sizes too small.
Unfortunately, his dislike for Christmas carried over to bad feelings towards the Whos.
The primary action in the story is built around the antihero concept of Santa Claus. It makes for good fun, and certainly exercises the reader's imagination in all kinds of humorous ways.
The Whos respond to the Grinch in the true Christmas spirit, which evokes a loving vision of caring that will impress all who read about it.
Then the Grinch has his epiphany that there's spiritual element to Christmas.
If you don't know how the story ends, I'll leave it to you to read it for yourself or to see the movie.
The great strength of this story is that it is aimed at the child reader or listener. At a young age, it is very easy to be overwhelmed by all of the fuss and potential for receiving gifts . . . and not receive much impression of the spiritual meaning of Christmas. When the Whos wake up on Christmas Day and act as they do, you can ask your child why she or he thinks that the Whos did that. Your child may not know. Then you can take the time to explain what you feel their reaction means in terms of your own beliefs. It's a remarkable way to be sure that the true spirit of Christmas is continually reintroduced to the next group of youngsters.
It is inevitable that people compare this story to Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Scrooge and the Grinch each have their new visions of Christmas. When we read Dickens, we read it as a cautionary tale for adults. When we read the Grinch, we read it as a cautionary tale for children and adults. In the long run, the Grinch may be more influential as a result. But you don't have to choose one or the other. You can read and enjoy both each Christmas.
If you cannot afford to spend this much for the book now, you can buy the coloring book version at a much smaller price. It contains the same text.
How do you plan to tell children about Christmas this year? What do you have planned for the holidays that is in the true spirit of Christmas? How can you ease the psychological burden on someone who does not care for the holiday? How will you give the gift of human warmth?
May your heart be filled with love and kindness for all!