Dr. Seuss fans might find their hearts growing three sizes this coming holiday season with the release of a sequel to the 1957 classic children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
The new book picks up one year after the original, and like the first, teaches a valuable lesson about the true spirit of the holiday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Random House Children’s Books announced Thursday.
The sequel entitled “How the Grinch Lost Christmas!” is not based on a newly discovered manuscript by Seuss — whose real name was Theodor Geisel — but was written and illustrated by an author and artist with previous experience in the Dr. Seuss universe.
“One of the most asked questions we receive from Seuss fans of all ages is ‘What do you think happened to the Grinch after he stole Christmas?” said Alice Jonaitis, executive editor at Random House Children’s Books, in a statement.
The original Grinch book has sold nearly 10 million copies in North America alone and like other Seuss books has been translated into multiple languages. It was made into a 1966 animated TV special narrated by Boris Karloff, a 2000 live-action movie starring Jim Carrey and a computer-animated film in 2018 with Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the Grinch.
The new book, scheduled for release Sept. 5, is written by Alastair Heim and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz. Heim has written Seuss-themed books like “If I Ran Your School” and “I Am the Cat in the Hat.” Ruiz has illustrated the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library books for more than two decades.
“All throughout writing the story, I couldn’t fully believe that I was actually getting to play in the amazing creative sandbox Dr. Seuss created all those decades ago,” Heim said in an email.
Working on the Grinch sequel was an awesome responsibility, Ruiz said via email.
“When I heard of the opportunity to be a part of this project, I jumped at the chance only to find that it was difficult and daunting to approach adding to or expanding such an esteemed and treasured part of the American Christmas canon,” he said.
In the original, the Grinch tries to ruin Christmas for the people of Who-ville by making off in the middle of the night with all the material trappings and sumptuous food of the holiday.
When the Whos gather to sing on Christmas morning, the Grinch realizes that the holiday is not about toys and feasting, but about joyously celebrating with family and neighbors and as Seuss wrote, the Grinch’s “heart grew three sizes that day.”
In the sequel, the Grinch wants to show how much he loves the holiday by winning Who-ville’s Christmas Crown with the most spectacular Christmas tree ever seen, according to Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
But when his plan goes awry, the Grinch turns into his old, cold-hearted self, until his friend Cindy-Lou Who, reminds him that Christmas is not all about winning.
Geisel, who died in 1991 at age 87, authored dozens of books, including “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat.”
Some of his work has been criticized in recent years because of racist imagery that in 2021 prompted Dr. Seuss Enterprises to cease publication of six books, including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo.”
But his work remains popular. Forbes magazine ranked him eighth on a 2022 list of the highest-paid dead celebrities, with $32 million in earnings.
—Mark Pratt, The Associated Press