The Sneetches and Other Stories

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The Sneetches
The Sneetches and Other Stories.png
Author Dr. Seuss
Cover artist Dr. Seuss
Country USA
Language English
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Random House
Publication date
August 28, 1961 (renewed 1989)
Media type Print (Hardcover and paperback)
OCLC 470409
Preceded by Green Eggs and Ham
Followed by Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book

The Sneetches and Other Stories is a collection of stories by American author Dr. Seuss, published in 1961. It is composed of four separate stories, "The Sneetches", "The Zax", "Too Many Daves", and "What Was I Scared Of?". Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[1] It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[2]

The first two stories in the book ("The Sneetches" and "The Zax") were later adapted, along with Green Eggs and Ham, into 1973's animated TV musical special Dr. Seuss on the Loose: The Sneetches, The Zax, Green Eggs and Ham with Hans Conried voicing both Zaxes and Paul Winchell and Bob Holt voicing the Sneetches and Sylvester McMonkey McBean respectively.

Two stories ("The Sneetches" and "The Zax") were featured in Storybook Weaver and Storybook Weaver Deluxe.


"The Sneetches"[edit]

The first story in the collection tells of a group of yellow creatures called Sneetches, some of whom have a green star on their bellies. At the beginning of the story, Sneetches with stars discriminate against and shun those without. A mischievously scheming salesman named Sylvester McMonkey McBean (calling himself the Fix-It-Up Chappie) appears and offers the Sneetches without stars the chance to get them with his Star-On machine, for three dollars. The treatment is instantly popular, but this upsets the original star-bellied Sneetches, as they are in danger of losing their special status. McBean then tells them about his Star-Off machine, costing ten dollars, and the Sneetches who originally had stars happily pay the money to have them removed in order to remain special. However, McBean does not share the prejudices of the Sneetches, and allows the recently starred Sneetches through this machine as well. Ultimately this escalates, with the Sneetches running from one machine to the next….

"...until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
whether this one was that one... or that one was this one...
or which one was what one... or what one was who."

This continues until the Sneetches are penniless and McBean departs as a rich man, amused by their folly. Despite his assertion that "you can't teach a Sneetch", the Sneetches learn from this experience that neither plain-belly nor star-belly Sneetches are superior, and they are able to get along and become friends.

"The Sneetches" was intended by Seuss as a satire of discrimination between races and cultures, and was specifically inspired by his opposition to antisemitism.[3]

"The Zax"[edit]

In The Zax, a north-going Zax and a south-going Zax meet face to face. Because they stubbornly refuse to move (east, west, or any direction except their respective headings) to get past each other, the two Zax become stuck. The Zax stand so long that eventually a highway overpass is built around them, and the story ends with the Zax still standing there "unbudged in their tracks."

"Too Many Daves"[edit]

"Too Many Daves" is a very short story about a mother, Mrs. McCave, who named all 23 of her sons Dave. This causes minor problems in the family, and the majority of the story lists unusual and amusing names she wishes she had given them, such as "Bodkin Van Horn," "Hoos Foos," "Snimm," "Shadrach", "Stuffy," "Stinky," "Putt-Putt", "Buffalo Bill," "Oliver Boliver Butt," "Biffalo Buff," or "Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate". The story ends with the statement that "she didn't do it, and now it's too late."

"What Was I Scared Of?"[edit]

"What Was I Scared Of?" tells the tale of a character who frequently meets up with an empty pair of pale-green pants in dark and spooky locations. The character, who is the narrator, is initially afraid of the pants, which are able to stand freely despite the lack of a wearer. However when he screams for help, the pants also start to cry and he realizes that "they were just as scared as I!" The empty pants and the narrator become friends.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ Jonathan Cott (1983). "The Good Dr. Seuss". Pipers at the Gates of Dawn: The Wisdom of Children's Literature (Reprint). New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-50464-3. OCLC 8728388. ...children's literature as I write it and as I see it is satire to a great extent ... there's The Sneetches ... which was inspired by my opposition to anti-Semitism