How the Grinch Stole Christmas! , the children’s story by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) written in rhymed verse with illustrations by the author was published as a book by Random House on November 24, 1957, and at approximately the same time in an issue of Redbook. The book criticizes the commercialization of Christmas. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”. It was one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal. In 2000 the book was turned into a film starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The Grinch is a bitter, grouchy, cave-dwelling creature with a heart “two sizes too small” who lives on snowy Mount Crumpit, a steep high mountain just north of Whoville, home of the merry and warm-hearted Whos. His only companion is his unloved, but loyal dog, Max.
From his perch high atop, the Grinch can hear the noisy Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville.
Annoyed, he decides to stop Christmas from coming by stealing their presents, trees, and food for their Christmas feast. He crudely disguises himself as Santa Claus, and forces poor Max, disguised as a reindeer by tying an antler from a deer plaque on his wall, to drag a sleigh to Whoville, where he slides down the chimney and steals all of the Whos’ Christmas presents, the Christmas tree, and the log of fire.
(He is briefly interrupted in his burglary by Cindy Lou, a little Who girl, but concocts a crafty lie to effect his escape from her home.) The Grinch then takes his sleigh to the top of Mount Crumpit, and prepares to dump all of the presents into the abyss. As dawn breaks, he expects to hear the Whos’ bitter and sorrowful cries, but is confused to hear them singing a joyous Christmas song instead.
He puzzles for a moment until it dawns upon him that perhaps Christmas is more than presents and feasting: “Maybe Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more.” The Grinch’s shrunken heart suddenly grows three sizes larger. The reformed Grinch returns all of the Whos’ presents and trimmings and is warmly invited to the Whos’ feast where he has the honor of carving the Roast Beast.
Chuck Jones famously adapted the story as an animated special in 1966, featuring narration by Boris Karloff, who also provided the Grinch’s voice, and songs with lyrics written by Geisel himself, set to music composed by Albert Hague, many of which were sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.