If I Ran the Circus

If I Ran the Circus

by Dr. Seuss


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Illus. in color. Young Morris McGurk lets his imagination run wild with his circus McGurkus. "Fun for the entire family."—Children's Book Center.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394845463
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/21/1980
Series: Classic Seuss Series
Pages: 64
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

About the Author

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL—aka Dr. Seuss—is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. From The Cat in the Hat to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his iconic characters, stories, and art style have been a lasting influence on generations of children and adults. The books he wrote and illustrated under the name Dr. Seuss (and others that he wrote but did not illustrate, including some under the pseudonyms Theo. LeSieg and Rosetta Stone) have been translated into thirty languages. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. Dr. Seuss’s long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys, and a Peabody.

Date of Birth:

March 2, 1904

Date of Death:

September 4, 1991

Place of Birth:

Springfield, Massachusetts

Place of Death:

La Jolla, California


B.A., Dartmouth College, 1925; Oxford University (no degree)

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If I Ran the Circus (Dr. Seuss Classics Series) 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the story to some preschoolers .and it held their attention. The characters were creative and I was pleased to add it to our choices of story series
srssrs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr. Seuss books can often be repetitive. However, "If I Ran the Circus," seemed different for a few reasons. First, I think it has great potential in the classroom. Students could imagine what they would want to run, if not a circus and develop a nonsensical plan like Morris McGurk of their own. Next, I liked how Dr. Seuss used language in this book. Dr. Seuss plays with words and patterns; the deeper he gets into the story, the grander the plan becomes, the more twisted the language becomes. This book would be a fun way to do a word study. For example, "Colossal, stupendous, astounding, fantastic, terrific, and tremendous" are all synonyms and "Odd jobs" is an idiom. Grammar is introduced with the juggler. I also enjoyed his over application of language components in this case the suffix -ster, with the words youngsters and oldsters. I could even see students playing Dr. Seuss Scrabble with this book! Dr. Seuss's theme my be subtle, but he does mention conservation, in regards to cleaning up the unused cluttered lot and putting it to good use. In another subtle way he is emphasizing being a good neighbor and helping out the community by cleaning up. The language in this book really enhances the illustrations. Text and graphics need to be together. The pictures would not make sense without it. This would be fun as a read aloud and also has a lot of teachable moments in it is as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was a little girl my Father would read this book to my brothers and I before bedtime. This book brings back SO many memories and fun times as a family. A MUST have for any child!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 3 year old daughter thinks this book is the funniest thing she's ever heard. I read it to her weeks ago and she's still saying 'Circus McGurkus'! The silly animals and their silly acts were even hard for me to read because I would start to giggle. This was excellent. I was hesitant to get it since it is longer than most of the books I get for her and I thought it was too long to hold her interest. But not so. She and I were both disappointed when it ended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book because it shows you that no matter what dreams you have, big or small you can acomplish anything. This book can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. you can really picture the characters in the book by Seuss's descriptions. There is a lot of excitement in the story. It shows you how a child thinks. When Morris McGurk thinks that old Sneelock will not mind having this circus behind,and helping out with little odds and ends. I am 17 and I still enjoy this book very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Young Morris McGurk is a conceptual thinker. He takes a look at the big vacant lot behind Sneelock's Store and sees the potential for the greatest circus ever. In fact, he sees roles for Mr. Sneelock to star and work in Circus McGurkus World's Greatest Show. The book is filled with imaginary Seuss creatures and unusual circus acts, far beyond what you'll ever see at the real thing. The marvelous imaginary story is told in rhyme, aided by being able to make up names for creatures to fit the scheme. The circus will have acrobats, jugglers and clowns from 1033 faraway towns. At first, Mr. Sneelock will sell balloons and pink lemonade (all 500 gallons of it). By the end, he does the greatest circus feat of all time, diving four thousand, six hundred, and ninety-two feet into a fish bowl. 'Don't ask me how he'll manage. That's his job. Not mine.' This last image to me is the most indelible of all the ones in all of the Dr. Seuss books I have read. At boring moments when I can think of nothing else to entertain me, I consider ways that Mr. Sneelock can pull off this trick. (Feel free to e-mail me your solutions.) What I love about the book is the cavalier way that Morris McGurk makes everything so simple. That's the beauty of being young and inexperienced. You don't know what you 'can't' do yet. As such, this book will dazzle and amaze youngsters who have it read to them and read it themselves. Actually, circuses operate on this principle. Those who wish to star in the circus dream up new and more amazing stunts, and audition to get starring roles. The job of the impressario is to simply choose amongst the best. The star has to figure out the illusion or feat. Although many Dr. Seuss books have unusual creatures, the ones in this book are more vivid to me for some reason. The Spotted Atrocious is especially menacing. The idea of a Bolster, Nolster who is a lion-trout combination intrigues me. And who could be more challenging than a Grizzly-Ghastly? As you can see, Dr. Seuss has slipped in a little normal language here into the names, which gives the images power that totally abstract names cannot evoke. As a selling point to Mr. Sneelock in young Morris's mind, I've always loved the final section: 'Why! He'll be a Hero! Of course he won't mind When he finds that he has A big circus behind.' How typical of a child's imagination to totally transform someone's space, work, and world, and then assume that the person will find it all to be to their liking! Another benefit of this book is that many young children find circuses a little scary. Although this circus is filled with fantastic-looking creatures, they are always perfectly well behaved. A parent can use the book to emphasize that the happy result is pretty certain. I can remember worrying as a four-year-old about whether the lions and tigers would get loose in the audience. I suggest that you do a little advance conditioning before a circus visit using this book to help evaporate such potential concerns . . . without providing your youngsters with any ideas they haven't already thought of. After you have enjoyed the book again, think about where your imagination could benefit from becoming less restrained. Where could you make big dreams that others would enjoy? Every great thing in life that benefits us today started as a dream in one person's mind. What's yours? Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution