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How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
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How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is one of the best known of Dr. Seuss's children's books. It is written in rhymed verse, with illustrations by the author. The book has been subjected to two adaptations in other media, also discussed below.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss completed How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. The mid 1950's was a very successful time for Seuss, a time when he wrote many of the stories for which he is most admired today, including The Cat in the Hat, If I Ran the Circus, and On Beyond Zebra.

Synopsis: The Grinch, a bitter creature with a heart "two sizes too small," lives on a snowy hilltop above Whoville with his faithful dog Max. Envious of the Whos' happiness, he makes plans to descend on the town and, by means of serial burglary, deprive them of their Christmas presents and decorations and thus prevent Christmas from coming. However, he learns in the end that despite his success in stealing all the Christmas presents and decorations from the Whos, Christmas comes just the same. He than realizes that Christmas is more than just gifts and presents. His heart grows three sizes larger, he returns all the presents and trimmings, and is warmly welcomed into the community of the Whos.

The book is one of the purest examples of Dr. Seuss's style. The ink-drawn illustrations make use of only black, red, and pink (the latter being the color of the Grinch's eyes), and the versification is strict and never skips a syllable. The purity of the verse is increased by the fact that Seuss avoided introducing made-up words intended to fit the meter (for example, "Jill-ikka-Jast" or "Sala-ma-goox", both from Scrambled Eggs Super).

Television version

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was adapted to television in 1966 as an animated TV special, directed by Seuss's friend and former army colleague Chuck Jones, who did much of the animation himself. The show starred Boris Karloff as narrator and Grinch, and (unusually for adaptations) included the actual text of the book in spoken form. Jones modified the appearance of the Grinch somewhat to fit the medium, rendering him in green and with a more elongated, frog-like face. Jones remarked in an interview that he had made the Grinch look like himself, so he could use his own facial expressions as a model for the Grinch's.

The songs, which helped fill out the story to the length of a television program, had music written by Albert Hague, with lyrics by Dr. Seuss. The best remembered of them, You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch was sung by Thurl Ravenscroft. The cartoon is typically found on the Internet Movie Database's list of the top 250 films.

Filmed version

After Dr. Seuss's death the book was also made into a live-action film (2000), considerably less faithful to the original. The film was directed by Ron Howard and starred Jim Carrey as the Grinch.

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