It’s been 21 years since we lost the late, great Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, but thankfully the author’s fanciful stories and rhyming style has never gone out of fashion. The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas got the live-action treatment starring Mike Meyers and Jim Carrey respectively, while Horton Hears a Who! and The Lorax have lately gone the animation route. Four big screen adaptations is a darn good track record for any author, but when you think of Seuss’s vast library of worthy stories, what else could see the celluloid light of day?
Book: Green Eggs and Ham
This one screams “odd couple, buddy movie” just waiting to happen, a live-action take where Sam I. Am and his forced friend setting up a new venture together (maybe a restaurant?) where they don’t see eye to eye. The charm lies in the green eggs and ham of course (who hasn’t experimented with their scrambled eggs and some food coloring in real life?) but also in Sam winning over his dismissive buddy.
Book: The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
One of the only Seuss books not written in rhyme, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins also has one of the strongest narrative structures in all of Geisel’s books and could be set as a period piece or contemporized to explore honesty, the perils of excess, and handling something overwhelming. We see the King and Bart coming together for a darkly comedic and thrilling climax involving Bart’s magical 500th hat (the kid is almost executed for his trick).
Book: Yertle the Turtle
Yup, this is the book that Geisel did about Hitler and his rise to power and what that does to a person and his country—Yertle is a power-hungry turtle who puts his own kind at risk. Dark, yes but some of the best animated films in the last 40 years have been born out of very dark stories like Animal Farm and Watership Down. Yertle the Turtle could be a brilliant adaptation, though not a light-hearted one. What director and studio combo would make it a feasible prospect?
Book: The Butter Battle Book
The Yooks and the Zooks eat their buttered bread on opposite sides of a wall, like a Seuss version of the Hatfields & McCoys. Tensions escalate as each side invents odder and more potent guns like the "Kick-A-Poo Kid" or the "Eight-Nozzled Elephant-Toted Boom Blitz." It all comes to a finger-on-the-trigger moment…with no resolution. Hollywood would normally reject that kind of script but who says a great screenwriter couldn’t flesh out Geisel’s take on the futility of an arms race?
Book: Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
Thidwick is a moose whose antlers become home to a bug. It’s a nice place, so the bug invites a spider to join him, then a bird, a woodpecker, 4 squirrels, 3 mice, a fox, a bear, and 362 bees! It’s a veritable zoo on poor sweet Thidwick’s noggin, which then attracts the attention of some hunters. Things are looking bleak until Thidwick remembers he can shed his darn antlers and let them all sort it out for themselves. There’s plenty of comedy to mine and a whole head full of supporting characters to play with.
Book: There’s a Wocket in My Pocket
A little boy catalogs all the weird and wondrous creatures, such as yeps, nooth grushes, yottles and Nureaus in the bureaus, in his house. A rhyming sensation that was pretty scary when it first came out, this one resonates with kids long into adulthood and could make a creepy adventure tale like Monster House or The Goonies. We see this one open for a little Del Toro-style flavor.
Book: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
Young Marco weaves a fantastical story to tell his father about all the crazy things he experiences on his walk down Mulberry Street. We see the potential for a heartwarming father/son story played out against Marco’s fanciful adventures, with Marco looking for dad’s time and attention. When Mulberry threatens to sweep Marco into the crazy, it’s dad who plays the hero.
Book: Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
Marvin K. Mooney is a fuzzy, stubborn youngster who just won’t move. He’s suggested every mode of transportation known to the universe, and then some, to no avail. We see this one as a bizarre road movie with Marvin being obnoxiously adamant about staying in one place and then being forcibly relocated to his new home. Essentially a younger-skewing Planes, Trains and Automobiles, this could be an existential delight.
Book: Daisy-Head Mayzie
Mayzie suddenly sprouts a daisy on her head. At first, her peers deride and distrust her, until an agent comes to town and makes Mayzie a star. Talk about resonant--the idea of "celebrity" is particularly messed up nowadays and this could be a spectacularly funny and bizarre exploration of everything out of whack with our culture. It’s got to be live-action, with lots of color.
What Seuss book would you like to see made? Comment below!