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Watch as Danny DeVito reads Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
Danny DeVito reads Dr. Seuss' The Lorax on Earth Day 2020
Dr. Seuss Enterprises is addressing the racist and insensitive illustrations that pop up across the works of late children's author Theodor Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss.
The company announced on Tuesday, which would've been Seuss' 117th birthday, that six titles will be discontinued: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat's Quizzer.
"These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," a statement, published to the official Dr. Seuss website, reads. "Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises' catalog represents and supports all communities and families."
According to the statement, Dr. Seuss Enterprises made this decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the six books after consulting with a "panel of experts, including educators," who reviewed their entire catalog.
Random House Books for Young Readers (2) From left, "If I Ran The Zoo" and "The Cat's Quizzer" by Dr. Seuss.
Multiple Dr. Seuss works have long been criticized for their depictions of minorities. Just last month, Loudoun County schools in Virginia had to debunk speculation that they were banning Dr. Seuss entirely but stated that "Dr. Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of Read Across America Day in Loudoun County Public Schools," citing research that "revealed strong racial undertones in many books."
In September 2017, First Lady Melania Trump and the Trump White House sent a shipment of Dr. Seuss books to one school from each state as part of National Read a Book Day. The librarian at Cambridge Elementary, however, rejected the books and wrote an editorial online to explain why.
"You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children's literature," Liz Phipps Soeiro wrote.
Soeiro added later in the piece, "Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss' illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes."
The works of Dr. Seuss, who died of cancer in 1991, remain popular to this day. Forbes listed him as the second highest-paid dead celebrity of 2020 with a revenue that year of $33 million. Seuss book sales reached nearly 6 million units in 2020, and multiple titles are being adapted for the screen.