Several books penned by Dr. Seuss jumped onto Amazon’s best-sellers ranking after the company that oversees the estate of the iconic children’s book author said it decided to discontinue publication of six titles that ‘portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.’
As of Thursday morning, 9 of the top 10 and 23 of the top 50 best-selling books listed on Amazon in the United States were by Dr. Seuss. None of the six books that were pulled by Dr. Seuss Enterprises made the list.
DailyMail.com has sought comment from Amazon.
Earlier on Thursday, it was learned that eBay is not allowing the sale of the six banned books – If I Ran the Zoo; And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street; On Beyond Zebra!; Scrambled Eggs Super!; McElligot’s Pool; and The Cat’s Quizzer.
The prices of those books surged on the e-marketplace web site after Tuesday’s announcement. DailyMail.com has reached out to eBay for comment.
Of the top 100 bestselling books on Amazon, a total of 38 are by Dr. Seuss.
The top six slots are taken by The Cat in the Hat; One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish; Green Eggs and Ham; Oh, the Places You’ll Go!; Fox in Socks; and Dr. Seuss’ Beginner Book Collection which includes Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, Fox in Socks.
As of Thursday morning, 9 of the top 10 and 23 of the top 50 best-selling books listed on Amazon in the United States were by Dr. Seuss
The top six slots are taken by The Cat in the Hat; One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish; Green Eggs and Ham; Oh, the Places You’ll Go!; Fox in Socks; and Dr. Seuss’ Beginner Book Collection which includes Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, Fox in Socks
Of the top 100 bestselling books on Amazon, a total of 38 are by Dr. Seuss
The 99th most popular book on Amazon is Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, which is jsut ahead of Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird
Earlier this week, among the Amazon bestsellers were four of the books that Dr. Seuss Enterprises said it will stop publishing and licensing: If I Ran the Zoo (No. 9); And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (No. 15); On Beyond Zebra! (No. 19); and Scrambled Eggs Super! (No. 20).
But on Thursday, none of the six books whose publication was ceased was on the list of the top 100.
The surge in sales reflected a desire by fans to get copies of the now-blacklisted books before they’re unavailable.
Amid the widespread attention to Dr. Seuss and discussion of ‘cancel culture,’ other books by the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, most of which are not in danger of being pulled from publication, also saw big jumps in demand.
Also on the chart were What Pet Should I Get (No. 8); The Sneetches and Other Stories (No. 13); The Lorax (No. 14); There’s a Wocket In My Pocket (No. 23); and Happy Birthday To You! (No. 35).
The offensive depictions in the Dr. Seuss six books in question include two monkey-like characters from ‘the African island of Yerka’ in If I Ran the Zoo, and a Chinese character in And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street who is drawn with stereotypically racist characteristics including a pointed hat and lines for eyes.
The decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that preserves and protects the author’s legacy, to cease publication of the six titles has forced other institutions to answer questions about whether they will make the books available for reading.
Earlier this week, the New York Public Library said it will keep the six Dr. Seuss books on its shelves.
A spokeswoman for the library said it will keep the controversial titles in circulation as it does not censor books and will continue to lend them out until their condition deteriorates.
The children’s books by the late Theodor Seuss Geisel (pictured above in 1985) have drawn scrutiny in recent years due to what some say are racist portrayals of minorities
‘As with all public libraries the New York Public Library does not censor books,’ Angela Montefinise said.
‘In this case, the six titles in question are being pulled out of print by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, so the very few copies we have of these titles will continue to circulate until the are no longer in acceptable condition.
‘In the meantime, librarians, who care deeply about serving their communities and ensuring accurate and diverse representation in our collections – especially children’s books – will certainly strongly consider this information when planning storytimes, displays, and recommendations,’ she said, adding that the books are also part of the library’s historical research collection.
The New York Post reported that a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Public Library said the books also remain in circulation there.
At the Queens Public Library, officials said they were deciding whether to move the books to the reference section but added that they ‘stand firmly against censorship.’
News of the decision came just one day after President Biden omitted Dr. Seuss from Read Across America Day, which is held annually on the children’s author’s birthday on March 2.
Explaining the decision to stop the publication of the six books, the company said: ‘These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.’
Dr. Seuss Enterprises said the decision is a reflection of its desire to appeal to a broad range of modern audiences.
‘Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,’ the company said.
The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company said.
‘Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles.’
Random House Children Books, Dr. Seuss’ publisher, issued a brief statement on Tuesday: ‘We respect the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises and the work of the panel that reviewed this content last year, and their recommendation.’
The New York Public Library will keep six Dr. Seuss books on its shelves despite a decision to stop publishing them due to racist imagery. A spokeswoman for the historic library said it will keep the controversial titles in circulation as it does not censor books and will continue to lend them out until their condition deteriorates [Stock photo]
Earlier on Thursday, it was learned that eBay is not allowing the sale of the six banned books – If I Ran the Zoo; And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street; On Beyond Zebra!; Scrambled Eggs Super!; McElligot’s Pool; and The Cat’s Quizzer
As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way black people, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.
School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumors last month that they were banning the books entirely.
‘Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,’ the school district said in a statement.
In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticized a gift of 10 Seuss books from first lady Melania Trump, saying many of his works were ‘steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.’
In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype.
The Cat in the Hat, one of Seuss’ most popular books, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, however, said it is ‘committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio.’
Some fans were upset by the decision to stop publishing the six books, saying it constituted ‘cancel culture’.
Almost immediately after the announcement on Tuesday, the prices of those books surged hundreds of dollars on eBay as people placed dozens of bids for new and vintage copies.
If I Ran the Zoo, which was published in 1950, includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads
In And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl. Earlier editions of the book (right) showed the same character with yellow skin and a long ponytail
A vintage copy of ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ was priced at $510 after receiving 54 bids, while a copy of ‘Scrambled Eggs Super!’ was at $565 after 58 bids.
A copy of ‘The Cat’s Quizzer’, which the seller marketed as brand new, was going for $630 after receiving 48 bids.
Seuss’s step-daughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, said on Tuesday that the author and illustrator didn’t have ‘a racist bone’ in his body but that pulling the titles was the right decision.
‘There wasn’t a racist bone in that man’s body – he was so acutely aware of the world around him and cared so much,’ she told the New York Post, adding that she was told of the decision to pull the books a day earlier.
‘I think in this day and age it’s a wise decision,’ she said. ‘I think this is a world that right now is in pain, and we’ve all got to be very gentle and thoughtful and kind with each other.
‘We’re taking that into account and being thoughtful. We don’t want to upset anybody.’
She said she’s hopeful the books can one day go back into print.
Books by Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel, have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries.
Seuss died in 1991 but remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said.
Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson.
Racist drawings and shocking cartoons: Why Dr. Seuss’s legacy is in question
Dr. Seuss’s reputation has been called into question in recent years because of racist imagery in his children’s books, including stereotyped cartoons of Chinese and Japanese people that he drew in the 1930s and 1940s.
One such illustration appeared in the 1937 work And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, which includes a drawing of a ‘Chinaman who eats with sticks’ – a caricatured picture of an Asian man with slits for eyes carrying a bowl of rice for no apparent reason.
Drawings in If I Ran The Zoo, published in 1950, includes African characters resembling monkeys and an Arab chieftain on a camel with a caption suggesting he too should be in a zoo.
A so-called ‘Chinaman who eats with sticks’ in a 1937 work by Dr. Seuss
As well as children’s books, Dr. Seuss produced political cartoons and advertisements that contain controversial images.
A 1929 drawing showed black people for sale to whites and adapted a racially charged phrase to say: ‘Take home a high-grade [N-word] for your woodpile’.
During World War II, he drew cartoons of Japanese people, including one showing them queuing up for supplies of TNT and suggesting they were waiting for the ‘signal from home’.
The wartime cartoons, published in New York newspaper PM, are also credited with ‘railing against isolationism, racism and antisemitism’ as he urged people to help the effort.
This 1929 cartoon shows black people for sale and uses the N-word
A 2019 article called The Cat Is Out Of The Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss’s Children’s Books, said the author had published ‘hundreds’ of racist political cartoons, comics and advertisements.
A collection dedicated to Dr. Seuss’s art acknowledges that some of his early drawings ‘were hurtful then and are still hurtful today’.
However, it says that he later amended his works – for example changing ‘Chinaman’ to ‘Chinese man’ – and wrote about equality during the 1960s civil rights movements.
It also defends him by saying that his drawings reflected stereotypes which were widely held at the time.
Geisel himself is quoted as saying later in life that the cartoons were ‘just the way things were 50 years ago’.
The fresh scrutiny of his works has seen the Mulberry Street illustration removed from a Dr. Seuss museum in 2018 – a decision which his great-nephew said was ‘extreme’.
Last month a Virginia school district distanced itself from the author, saying his books would no longer be the ’emphasis’ of Read Across America Day.
‘Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,’ it said.
He has now also gone missing from the White House celebrations after Joe Biden broke with a tradition continued by both Barack Obama and Donald Trump.