Whenever I see something that I would have done differently or wonder how something was done, I am reminded of the opening lines to this story. It is very unfortunate that an Asian reference, which I'm sure in 1950 was only meant to convey somewhere exotic among so many fictitious places, is uncomfortably close to a racist description today. I don't condone that, but I'd like to think this might lead to discussion about sensitivity and tolerance instead of censorship. My favourite Seuss story "What Was I Scared Of?" (1961) and several of his other stories do a good job approaching this subject directly. I'm reading a 1st edition Tom Swift novel published in 1910 at the moment because of its prophetic descriptions of electric cars and battery technology but am dismayed by its really cringe-worthy portrayal of hired-hand Eradicate Sampson. Baby and bath water. Thankfully times continue to change.
Dated in its visual sensitivity. Not one of the better stories.
A classic. A book of lists, imagination gone wild. Good for the under fives.
Oh what a wonderful place the zoo would bee if....
I'm sorry to see this book is available at the VPL. I recently purchased it at a gift shop at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Springs, CA when we were there on holidays as a way for my son and I to recall our visit there. I didn't have time to read it prior to purchase but we love other Dr. Seuss books so felt it was a safe bet.
This book has some seriously racist content. Perhaps when it was published in the 1950s it was acceptable but it's not anymore. I had to stop reading it and have a conversation with my son about why and how the book was wrong. To put a positive spin on it, it was a teaching moment. But I was shocked by it. Needless to say, if my son showed up at his school referring to his Asian friends as "slant eyes", there'd be trouble.
Don't read this book with your kids!
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