'If I Ran the Circus' is Published

Behind Mr. Sneelock's ramshackle store, there's an empty lot.

Little Morris McGurk is convinced that if he could just clear out the rusty cans, the dead tree, and the old cars, nothing would prevent him from using the lot for the amazing, world-beating, Circus McGurkus. The more elaborate Morris' dreams about the circus become, the more they depend on the sleepy-looking and innocent Sneelock, who stands outside his ramshackle store sucking on a pipe, oblivious to the fate that awaits him in the depths of Morris's imagination. He doesn't yet know that he'll have to dispense 500 gallons of lemonade, be lassoed by a Wily Walloo, wrestle a Grizzly-Ghastly, and ski down a slope dotted with giant cacti. But if his performance is up to McGurkian expectations, then "Why, ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters, your heads will quite likely spin right off your shouldsters!"

It had been six years since Dr. Seuss wrote "If I Ran the Zoo," but it was time for an even wilder sequel. The first book was only the runner-up for a Caldecott award, and I have two theories about "If I Ran the Circus." Dr. Seuss might have thought the excitement of a circus would endear himself to the selection committee. But more likely he'd decided to ignore the awards committee altogether, and let his crazy imagination run wild!