You have three choices to satisfy your Grinchy-urges. There is the classic cartoon, the more recent live action movie with Jim Carrey, and the start of it all, the book by Dr. Seuss. Why read the book when the movies are so good?
The issue here is the language and the illustrations. Dr. Seuss had a wonderful gift for rhyme and imagery. The words and pictures should be lingered over and pondered about for much longer than the few minutes of closing credits. I had the opportunity to read the book with my special ed kids this week, and they loved it. They sat and listened, when listening is not their best thing, and commented appropriately, when commenting on topic is not commonly their way either. It is one of the most joyful things I have done for Christmas since my own sons grew too big to be read to.
Let me give you the some of the lines so that you can see what I mean about lingering over the words:
“It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!”
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
And what happened then? Well…in Whoville they say,
That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day!
Do the kids understand about Christmas coming without “packages, boxes or bags?” They absolutely do. They get the joy, they get the excitement, and they get the fun. Christmas is a happy time when we sing songs and greet each other on the street. We get in touch with people we don’t talk to the rest of the year. We have our families together. We find that extra change, maybe even a dollar or two, in our pockets for the guys standing outside the stores with the red kettles. I was in a class yesterday where the kids were making reindeer faces with the outlines of their feet and antlers with the outlines of their hands. The crowning touch was the googly eyes and the pom-pom nose. Their joy over this activity was so overwhelming, you’d think the room couldn’t contain it!
Take some time with the book, even if you don’t have children with whom to share it. Dr. Seuss’ verse is contagious, and you’ll find yourself suddenly thinking all your thoughts in rhyme. If you are a Grinch, then that’s okay; you are certainly not alone. But if you open your heart to the joy of the season, you may find it “growing three sizes that day.”
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