Dr. Seuss. The Sneetches and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1989. 65 pages. Seuss.
The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss is a picture book about made-up creatures called sneetches. Two kinds of sneetches exist: ones with stars on their bellies and ones with plain bellies. Those with stars on their bellies felt superior to those without. They would not talk to or even play with the plain-bellied sneetches. Because they felt left out, the plain ones were sad and upset until one day Sylvester McMonkey McBean came to save the day. He created a machine that would print stars on their bellies for three dollars. The sneetches gratefully agreed and hopped in the machine. Soon all of the sneetches on the beaches had stars on their bellies and could not be told apart. Now that everyone looked the same, the original star-bellied sneetches became upset so McBean created a new machine that would remove the stars from their bellies for only three more dollars. The sneetches happily agreed, hopped in the machine, and had their stars removed. Wanting to look the same as the plain sneetches, the other star-bellied ones paid three dollars and had their stars removed again. This cycle continued: adding stars, removing stars, adding stars, and so on. Eventually, the sneetches finally agreed that regardless of what their bellies looked like, they were all sneetches nonetheless. They accepted each other and lived peacefully in unity from then on.
“The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.”
The illustrations in this book are a helpful aid to the child’s imagination. The story focuses on made-up creatures that the child has never seen before so without the visuals, the children would not be able to grasp the concept and difference between the two types of sneetches. The pictures are colorful and engaging especially to young children. This, in addition to the repeated rhyme scheme, maintains the focus of the young children in a fun and effortless manner.
This book has philosophical undertones in addition to being highly entertaining for young children. It discusses the issue of discrimination and importance of individuality. Although children just see the story as a tale of adorbale, little creatures with shapes on their stomachs, the lesson runs deeper and emphasizes the acceptance of all races, religions, ethnicities, etc.