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Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss: New generations of kids still love the whimsical rhymes

Danielle Cossar is the owner of Gingersnap General Store in St. John's, NL. Cossar says that Dr. Suess books remain popular.
Danielle Cossar is the owner of Gingersnap General Store in St. John's, NL. Cossar says that Dr. Suess books remain popular. — Contributed

Atlantic Canada toy store owners say the children's author has enduring appeal

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

“That Sam-I-Am, that Sam-I-Am, I do not like green eggs and ham.”

For young and old alike, lines from Dr. Seuss’s classic books are known by heart around the world. On March 2 – on what would be his 117th birthday – worldwide celebrations for the author are happening for Suess Day.

What is it about Dr. Seuss that has made him one of the most enduring and influential writers of children’s books in history?

Dr. Seuss was born Theodore Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His first children’s book, And To Think I Saw It All On Mulberry Street, was finally published in 1937, after being rejected by publishers 27 times. Both a writer and illustrator, he created over 60 books in his lifetime as Dr. Suess and under other pen names. Dr. Seuss passed away in 1991 at age 87.


Further reading

It is important to acknowledge the harmful racist stereotypes that Dr. Seuss upheld within his artwork. Throughout his career he grew to regret these racist depictions, and chose to move forward by centering his books around themes of kindness and inclusion. Learn more about his past here.


Danielle Cossar is the owner of Gingersnap General Store, a children’s store in downtown St. John’s, N.L. Cossar took over the store from previous owner Janet Murphy at the end of 2020.

“It’s been quite a whirlwind,” she says.

Coming off the Christmas season, Cossar says the Grinch continues to be a hugely popular character in both books and toys. A 2018 animated Grinch movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the Grinch, recently reintroduced the character to a whole new generation of children.

Dr. Suess, she says, has enduring appeal.


“The style and the art of it is really absorbing — there’s so much to take in and it’s so unusual, especially when you’re little." — Danielle Cossar


At the same time, the unusual art and characters also bring children to reflect and imagine.

“It’s sort of creepy in a way. And as a kid, that really grips you,” says Cossar. “It really brings you back to it again and again as you think, Do I like this or do I not?”

As for favourite Suess titles, Cossar has a special relationship with a particular title.

“I love all of them, but actually, my personal favourite is not a popular one – it’s the Happy Birthday to You book,” she says. "I have a copy that my mom gave me when I was 17, and she actually passed away later that year.”



The book was inscribed by Cossar's mother, and once her son was born, she found herself revisiting it again and again.

“We’ve been reading it every year. It’s such a pleasure to read. It’s become a real tradition every birthday now for the last several years.”

As far as her other personal favourites in Suess books, Cossar is a lover of Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish, Two Fish.

"I like the ones that are just super silly and fun to read out loud,” she says.

With her ownership of Gingersnap still being relatively recent, Cossar is taking the time during the current COVID closures to reorganize and restock shelves. Most of her current Suess titles, like Dr. Suess’s ABC, are aimed at the youngest readers, but she plans to add more books for readers of all ages.

Inspiring imagination

Nicole Balderston of Owls Hollow, a book and toy store in Charlottetown that has been operating for close to 20 years, is a Dr. Seuss fan and can rhyme off a number Suess of titles that she enjoys.

“He’s one of my favourite authors,” says Balderston. “My favourite is probably Horton Hears a Who. Another one I used to read to my daughter is Oh, The Things You Can Think. It really inspires imagination and potential.”

Balderston says Dr. Suess’s Sleep Book from 1962 is one title that consistently sells well.



For Balderston, part of Dr. Seuss’s lasting appeal is the themes he explores – ideas that even grown-ups question.

“There’s really interesting questions behind the rhythm and the rhyme and the silliness,” she says. “He's talking about deep meaning – the things adults think about and question. Even as an adult, you can not only be entertained but there’s always something to think about.”

With its themes of bravery and facing fears, I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today is another favourite Seuss book that Balderston shared with her daughter.

“We sing it as a country song and the pictures are hilarious,” she says.


Today, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children...

Posted by Dr. Seuss on Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Pandemic celebrations

Owls Hollow and Gingersnap General Store are both currently serving the public by phone and online orders. Gingersnaps has added delivery service, even offering gift-wrapping as an additional service to help customers during the current COVID protocols.

“We’re just trying to be helpful to folks in any way we can. We’ve been doing a lot of dropping gifts off – a lot of people are missing out on nieces and nephews and grandkids' birthdays because people are in isolation,” says Cossar.

That customers are making shop local a priority during the current pandemic is something that Balderston says she is grateful for.

“We’re so thankful that last fall and even in 2021 so far that we’re noticing people are shopping locally,” she says.

Looking ahead to 2022, we can all hope next year’s Suess Day will see rhymes and silliness return in full. In the meantime, you can always enjoy your favourite Dr. Suess title in the comforts of home.


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