dr seuss, the pseudonym of Theodor Seuss Geisel, has written more than 60 children’s books. His works are known for their clever rhymes, tongue-twisting words and whimsical illustrations. They were educational and fun, but also held many deeper meanings presented in a way that children and adults could understand. By the time he died in 1991, he had sold more than 600 million copies of his books. 30 years later he is still one of the most popular children’s book authors of all time. His books have inspired movies, TV shows, musicals and even a theme park. Here is our ranking of the best movies based on his books.

6 The Cat in the Hat (2003)

The cat in the hat is an adaptation of the 2003 classic book. Directed by Bo Welch, Mike Myers plays the cat who wreaks havoc with two siblings. While it’s fun, the film’s downfall lies in its plot. The book is short and goes beyond a cat wreaking havoc with two children; it doesn’t have much of a plot. Because of this, the film added various subplots to lengthen it, but they weren’t particularly good, which brought the film negative critical reviews. However, the film does a great job with its casting and visuals. Myers’ extensive makeup is almost frighteningly realistic, and he brings a lot of life to the cat’s character. The visuals of the film are also fun and capture the whimsical spirit of the book.

Related: Will These Children’s Books Ever Get the Adjustments They Deserve?


5 The Grinch (2018)

The third adaptation of the book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!the animated feature of 2018 Spoilsport Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the Grinch stealing Christmas from the merry Whos of Whoville. The digital animation – the first Grinch adaptation in this medium – is bright and colorful, even making the Grinch seem cute, though he still has his miserable mind that changes at the end. This version takes the familiar and does it well, even becoming the highest-grossing Christmas film after its release. It doesn’t add much to the story, but it’s a solid approach, with light-hearted humor and a strong Christmas spirit.

4 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the 2000 adaptation of the Grinch story, is directed by Ron Howard. Playing a live-action version of the character, Jim Carrey gives an excellent performance as the mean, nice Grinch. He’s equally funny and scary, has impressive make-up and is the highlight of the film. This version also brings more backstory and characterization to the classic story, along with the Grinch and Cindy Lou having a greater relationship, which helps him see the good things about Christmas. It received mostly positive reviews, although some felt the film was getting too dark. It remains one of the highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time, and one of the most heartwarming.

See also: Best Christmas Movies of the 2000s

3 The Lorax (2012)

The Lorax is a 2012 film directed by Chris Renaud. It stars Zac Efron as Ted, a boy in a world of fake trees who goes in search of a real one to impress his crush. On his journey, he meets the Once-ler, who recounts his own experience of chopping down trees for money, drawing the Lorax’s wrath. The Once-ler gives Ted his final seed, which Ted plants in hopes of restoring the trees. The colors and animations are playful and capture Seuss’ whimsical spirit. The subject of deforestation is handled well for a children’s film, although some critics felt that the film did not go deep enough and that the addition of traditional romantic film tropes detracted from the book’s message.

2 Horton hears a who! (2008)

This adaptation from 2008 Horton hears a who! is the first feature-length Seuss adaptation to be fully and digitally animated. Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino direct Jim Carrey as Horton, an elephant who discovers a village full of people living in a speck of dust. He embarks on a journey to protect the Spot while the audience learns about the Spot’s inhabitants. As the first digitally animated feature film, Horton’s graphics are worthy of praise. Both the animal and human characters have that classic Seuss feel, and the setting is equally colorful and magical. It’s also one of the funnier adaptations, and one that’s heavily faithful to its source material.

1 How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

While not technically a movie, the 1966 TV special is from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is just too good not to record. Directed by Chuck Jones and Ben Washam and starring the legendary Boris Karloff as narrator and Grinch, it establishes the Grinch as he is known today. Seuss was reluctant to make the adaptation but agreed because he had previously worked with Jones on cartoons for Warner Brothers. Jones, a popular cartoonist who also served as the film’s animation director, added color to the book’s simple palette, creating the green Grinch and the colorful world of Whoville. The film looks like the pages of the book come to life and tells a simple yet heartwarming story about Christmas. Although it wasn’t a huge hit when it aired, its popularity has only increased. It not only remains the definitive Grinch adaptation, but also the definitive Seuss adaptation.

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