I've known there was more to Dr. Seuss ever since I read through his collection of World War II-era cartoons: "Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor (Seuss) Geisel." His strong social conscience was obvious as he skewered the dangers of the Nazi thugs extending their grasp across Europe. Some of his cartoons were even razor-sharp darts at the handful of Americans who were sympathetic to the Fascists.
Now, Robert Short has turned to a theological study of Seuss' dozens of children's books. This is not as crazy as it may sound to Baby Boomers reared on "Cat in the Hat." Short has a sharp eye and mind for these things. After all, he's the "godfather" of the "Gospel According to ..." genre. In the 1960s, Short wrote the original "Gospel According to Peanuts" book that sold millions and millions of copies. Digging into Seuss' early life, Short points out that -- while studying at Oxford University in the mid 1920s -- Seuss' greatest desire was to illustrate a new edition of "Pilgrim's Progress." The fact that Oxford scholars blocked his plan eventually led to his departure from Britain -- and, Short argues, his later strategy of submerging spiritual themes beneath the surface of his book projects.
Short doesn't completely prove that Seuss deliberately placed Christian themes in his children's books -- but Short does convincingly demonstrate that these themes must have been a part of the spiritual fabric of Seuss' creative life.
You'll have to read the book to decide for yourself, but after examining 11 of Seuss' most popular books -- Short makes a mighty convincing case that Seuss has been passing powerful messages along to us through the years with equal doses of joy and laughter!
Members of small groups, looking for intriguing books to study, will thoroughly enjoy this journey with Short and Seuss.