How the Grinch Stole Christmas was written in 1957 by Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), and the Grinch has joined Ebeneezer Scrooge in the pantheon of seasonal bad guys — transformed, of couse, by the power of Christmas. The Grinch hates Christmas — the noise, the singing, the presents. He finds it all very irritating, so he decides to end it by taking all the material evidences of the celebration. He steals the presents and trees and food, but Christmas comes anyway. Astonished, the Grinch suddenly sees that Christmas “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Chistmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.” He returns the trappings of Christmas and joins his completely forgiving victims in the revelry.
Boris Karloff read it for a cartoon version that is readily available on DVD, and it’s hard to imagine anyone reading it better, but you can try.
- Seussville.com has a page to go with this book.
- NPR has an essay by an elementary school student on the subject.
- Ironically enough, this anti-materialism story has spawned a huge quantity of consumer goods. Practice research skills by trying to compile an exhaustive list of the stuff being sold.
- The Economist reports on Joel Waldfogel’s studies on the value of Christmas gifts. Waldfogel concluded that buying Christmas gifts results in a net loss: it would be more efficient for people to buy things for themselves. However, he also found that people value things given to them more highly than they value things they buy for themselves, and also that buying gifts brings people more pleasure than buying for themselves — something the Grinch had trouble grasping. This is a very good example of a response to text essay. Have students read it, do online research to find more about the original data, and write their own response to it.
- Many Americans, especially those who observe Christmas as a religious holiday, deplore the materialism of the modern consumer Christmas. The Ayn Rand institute has an essay on “Why Christmas Should be More Commercial.” Have older students read and discuss the essay, and then have students write their own opinions.
- The Whos down in Whoville have who-pudding and who-hash, following the same wordmaking trick that gave us e-mail and the iPhone. Challenge students to find more examples of this phenomenon, and to come up with a rule explaining how it’s done.
- This tale is full of blends: Grinch, slithered, slunk, smile, stuffed, grabbed, climbed… Make a list for your pocket chart or word wall.
- List all the rhyming words.
- Use a Venn diagram to compare the Grinch with Ebeneezer Scrooge. Beacon has a step by step plan for this idea.
- Many people don’t observe Christmas and don’t think much about it, but the Grinch hated Christmas. Why didn’t he just ignore it? Use this question as a writing prompt. For older students, add in the question of whether it would be difficult to ignore Christmas in your neighborhood. Do those students who don’t celebrate Christmas get sick of it?