Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. Grinch

You really are a heel.
You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
You’re as charming as an eel.

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch
Your heart’s an empty hole.
Your brain is full spiders,
You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch.

Next to the Heat and Snow Misers, my favorite negative holiday character is Mr. Grinch. And guess what? He hit the big 5-0 this year! Making his debut in Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s book, Mr. Grinch has been trying to steal Christmas now from the Who’s in Who-ville since 1957. Originally black and white with beady pink eyes, the Grinch perhaps had more of an effect on television in his sickly shade of green. The popular 1966 television episode that we still see today popularized the humorously descriptive song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Director Ron Howard brought the Grinch to Hollywood (unfortunately with bad reviews) in 2000.

Why does this slinking and slithering dog-abusing emancipated green guy capture our hearts? Probably for the same reasons we love Scrooge, Charles Dickens’ protagonist in A Christmas Carol. Ultimately, we recognize that these characters, in their determination to give away only misery for the holidays, are themselves miserable. We especially love that they recognize this and then admit freely to the errors of their evil ways. We identify with the happy people who joyously accept them nonetheless, and we feel compassionate. And then, of course, we just love happy endings!

So Happy Birthday, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS, Mr. Grinch. ~jami, ys librarian

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