March 2 would’ve been the 117th birthday of children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. On that same day, the company that keeps his characters and books circulating announced that six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published due to racist images.
The six books are 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 representative of Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
“In And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example, a character described as Chinese has two lines for eyes, carries chopsticks and a bowl of rice, and wears traditional Japanese-style shoes,” NPR reported in 2019. “In If I Ran the Zoo, two men said to be from Africa are shown shirtless, shoeless and wearing grass skirts as they carry an exotic animal.”
Also, in If I Ran The Zoo, “a white man says he is going to put a person of color wearing a turban on display in his zoo,” MarketWatch reports.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that online marketplace eBay was pulling the six Seuss titles from sale on its site. “EBay is currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items,” the company told the newspaper in an email.
Dr. Seuss’ estate nearly doubled its income in 2020, according to Forbes, thanks to a Netflix series based on 50-word book Green Eggs and Ham, as well as a three-movie deal with Warner Bros.