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La Grincheuse, C’est Moi (or, I Am A She-Grinch)

By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department

grincheaux (French, noun, masculine) also: grincheuse (French, noun, feminine) crank; crab; curmudgeon; grouch; grump; shrew; sourpuss.

As I was driving to work on a frigid day about a fortnight before Christmas, thinking less-than-charitable thoughts about my fellow humans (and possibly hissing through clenched teeth some unprintable epithets about the ones who were allegedly sharing the road with me) it occurred to me that I might be exemplifying many of the Grinch’s personality traits. NO, not those sweet, shiny Christmas morning ones, where The Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day and he carved the roast beast from the head chair at the Who’s Who In Whoville dinner table, with his new best friend Cindy Lou Who by his side; but those dark, slithering, vile things that were rampaging through his Grinchy heart and mind as he stomped around his cave on Christmas Eve, plotting mayhem against all those insufferably cheery Whos down in Whoville.grinch1

A little background, for those of you who have no idea what I’m yammering on about: the Grinch that I speak of is a furry green reclusive character created by Dr. Seuss (aka Ted Geisel) in his 1957 Christmas classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Side note: the name of the character may or may not have been inspired by the French word grincheaux, which loosely translates to “grouch” in American English (or “misery guts” in British parlance—you’re welcome) and has evolved into an unflattering term for someone who embodies an anti-holiday spirit or has a mean, greedy attitude (like Scrooge).  The Grinch derives pleasure by destroying others’ happiness, and on Christmas Eve he hatches a diabolical plot to annihilate Christmas for the residents of Whoville. SPOILER ALERT: He drafts his little dog Max into service as a reindeer, fashions himself a jaunty tunic that echoes Santa’s traditional outfit (Grinch opts to go pantsless, but that is a conversation for another time) and descends from Mount Crumpit in his bootleg sleigh, into which he loads all the Whoville residents’ Christmas presents, decorations, and food.

His schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortune of others) is short-lived, however; he is at first infuriated to hear all the Whos singing and celebrating anyway, even though he just totally stole all their stuff, right down to the last can of Who-Hash, but then he begins to twig to the possibility that maybe Christmas isn’t just about the boxes and bows:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.

What if Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more?

The Grinch then experiences an epiphany (can you believe I made it this far into the blog without a pun? Neither can I! It’s a Christmas miracle!) and returns all the Whos’ purloined goods and joins them in their Christmas festivities.

So. Back to me cruising to work and thinking Grincheuse thoughts. If you are a sentient being (and since you’re reading this, presumably you are) then you may have noticed that it’s fairly common at this time of year to find oneself stomping around in one’s very own metaphorical Mount Crumpit cave of negative thoughts and emotional distress, feeling as isolated as the Grinch. Here’s my Christmas gift to you, Darling Reader: permission to turn loose a little. Let go of the reins of that sleigh full of pressures you put on yourself for the “perfect” holiday card photo/Christmas tree/present/six-course dinner/whatever. Because, as the Grinch learned that day, Christmas isn’t about the packages, boxes, or bags.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are, as always, solely those of the author and in no way representative of the employees of WCPL or of their families, friends, or pets masquerading as reindeer. Further, the author wishes everyone a safe, joyous, stress-free holiday season and hopes to see you back here in 2017 for more exhilarating blog installments.
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Say Hooray, Hooray For Dr. Seuss Today!

By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department

Would you read it in the car?

Would you read it over thar?

Everyone from near and far

Will enjoy Seuss’ latest star.

Although Theodor “Ted” Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, passed away more than two decades ago, his unique and enduring talent keeps yielding amazing treasures. According to the publisher Random House, Geisel’s widow Audrey was remodeling their home after his death in 1991 when she found a box filled with pages of his writing and sketches. It was set aside and rediscovered 22 years later, in the fall of 2013 by Audrey Geisel and Claudia Prescott, Ted’s longtime secretary and friend. Among other work, they found the complete text and illustrations for What Pet Should IGet?

Told in Dr. Seuss’ signature rhyming style and featuring the same brother and sister from his 1960 classic One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, the tale perfectly captures the childhood milestone of choosing a pet and also underscores a valuable life lesson: making a choice can be really hard, but sometimes you just have to persevere. An added bonus to What Pet Should I Get? is an epilogue by the editor that discusses Dr. Seuss’ creative process, his interest in animals, and the fabulous “Seussian” creatures throughout his work.

suessAfter Ted died of cancer at the age of 87, Audrey was placed in charge of all publishing and licensing matters, and she remains a fierce guardian of her late husband’s legacy. “While undeniably special, it is not surprising to me that we found this because Ted always worked on multiple projects and started new things all the time—he was constantly writing and drawing and coming up with ideas for new stories,” said Audrey in a statement on the website Seussville.com. “It is especially heartwarming for me as this year also marks twenty-five years since the publication of the last book of Ted’s career, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

What Pet Should I Get? will be published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015. Of course, you can celebrate this prolific and amazing author at any time by stopping in the Children’s Department at WCPL and checking out our selection of Dr. Seuss titles.

Read them, read them, you will see

They are fun as fun can be!

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