I'm on a Dr. Seuss kick and loving it. I'm really enjoying these audiobooks as I firmly believe Seuss texts can only truly be enjoyed when read out loud. That's why I read his books out loud, if only to myself.
This has quite a few stories, most I know well but a few I'm not well-versed in. I'll deal with each separately and then look at this set as a whole.
The Cat in the Hat - read by Kelsey Grammer: The ubiquitious story, basially everyone knows this one. While i certainly enjoy this book, it's not one of my top favorites of Seuss' stories. The main element I enjoy are the Thing 1 & 2, even while the whole mess the Cat makes freaks me out every time. I don't really find it funny. However, I do actually like the Cat as a character, just not in this book. The performance was quite good.
Horton Hears a Who - read by Dustin Hoffman: I love this story, partially from the animated (pre - Jim Carey) version, and love the Whos as much as Horton. However, despite many great vocals and effects - such as the squeaky voice of the Who, there was one sticking point that held this section's score before a four. And it was a "large" one. Hoffman's voice for Horton was slow and stupid-sounding, as so many people do for elephants. However, I don't see elephants as stupid and frankly hate that characterization. Sheep are stupid but you don't see that kind of voice used for them! Horton himself is not stupid but knows his own mind and is kind hearted; not something I like seeing characterize as dumb.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - read by Walter Matthau: For me, thanks to the TV special, it's not the Grinch unless Boris Karloff narrates it. Even I don't like my own voice! But I'll give Matthau credit, he made it his own and did it quite well. His voices were good and I enjoyed this. All in all, not bad.
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? - read by John Cleese: I've never read this book before but I've got to after hearing Cleese's fun rendition of it. Hearing his voice say Seuss' nonsense words was perfect. Also, I couldn't help but connect this with Always Look On the Bright Side of Life! It played in my head while listening to this.
The Lorax - read by Ted Danson: Review found here.
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories - read by John Lithgow: The tale of Yertle the Turtle has never been for kids. Even as a child, I realized the true meaning and felt it was more for the adults then for us; though there are plenty of kids willing and able to climb to the top of the pile. Lithgow, however, captured the child-like frame work of the story. Gertrude McFuzz - Not one of my favorite stories as I never understood Gertrude. I get the message but even then I didn't try to be someone I wasn't. Now that I love Seussical the Musical, I like her a bit more. Again, good use of voices...though the complete opposite of what I was expecting. The Big Brag - Go Worm! Man, I can't stand the Rabbit and Bear in this and totally cheer for the worm every time. Again, good voices and well read.
Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose - read by Mercedes McCambridge: Another story that is not my favorite. The narration was...okay but all in all I found this the weakest of the performances.
Horton Hatches The Egg - read by Billy Crystal: One of my favorite stories and told quite competently with interesting voices.
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back - read by Kelsey Grammer: I don't remember this as ell as other books until I see/hear about the dress with the stain on it from the ring in the tub. Something about that has always stuck with me, maybe because a stain on my mother's dress would probably have bothered me more then her!
Green Eggs of Ham - read by Jim Dale: They knew what they were doing here. I'm not a huge fan of this book - one of my least favorite books actually - but I'd love Dale reading the phone book or a book on computer coding! He did his usual perfect job and I greatly enjoyed this short book tacked on at the end.
All in all, this was a great set of books read by famous people and generally competent book readers. The two are not mutually exclusive, I've sadly found out. And while nothing beats seeing the pictures and reading the words yourself, it never gets old to hear Seuss' nonsense words spoken aloud - particularly by voices you recognize.