List of Dr. Seuss Most Memorable Characters

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dr. seuss most memorable characters

Theodor Seuss Geisel, the man most of us know as Dr. Seuss came up with oodles of characters, most of whom are the greatest of all time.

He created characters like Bartholomew Cubbins, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, The Grinch, The Lorax, and countless others.

Dr. Seuss was, undoubtedly, one of the greatest character creators and constructed his characters whose names typified not only their behaviors or attitudes but their physical appearance. The way you illustrated the characters made you agree that their given name was truly theirs.

Hats off!

I found it befitting to honor such a genius by coming up with a Dr. Seuss character list, a list that has his most memorable characters.

He wrote dozens of books and I assure you, you won’t know all these characters, but if you’re a super fan, you might know more than half.

Table Of Contents show

Let’s start by looking at Dr. Seuss’ 5 most memorable characters and the man who created them:

Dr. Seuss’ 5 Most Memorable Characters

  1. The Grinch
  2. Cat in the Hat
  3. The Lorax
  4. Horton
  5. Sam-I-Am

Who Was Dr. Seuss?

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S. His father’s name is Theodor Robert Geisel and his mother was Henrietta Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss was his pen name and it’s way more famous than his real name. Throughout his career, Dr. Seuss published over 60 books, the first of which was a children’s book called And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which was published in 1937.

As a young man, Geisel’s life had already started following a trajectory that’d eventually lead him to fame as a writer. While at Dartmouth College, he became the editor-in-chief of its humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern which later dropped him after a drinking misdemeanor but managed to contribute to the magazine using the pseudonym “Seuss.”

dr seuss cartoon
Dr Seuss cartoon. (Image credit: Greg Williams on Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5)

Geisel later attended the University of Oxford in England but he dropped out. Geisel married Helen Palmer, a lady he met while studying at Oxford.

The couple later returned to America and Geisel decided to become a full-time writer and cartoonist, working for several institutions including LIFE and Vanity Fair, Saturday Evening Post, the New York Weekly Judge, Standard Oil, and Viking Press, among others.

Several of Geisel’s books were adapted into animated films during his lifetime and posthumously. His works also won Geisel numerous awards, including a Pulitzer in 1984, three Emmys, three Grammys, and an Academy Award.

Geisel’s and Palmer’s story wasn’t a ‘happy ever after’ because by October 1967, Geisel was having an affair with the couple’s longtime friend Audrey Stone Dimond, and cancer-stricken Palmer decided to end the emotional pain caused by an affair by committing suicide.

40 Most Memorable Dr. Seuss Characters

1. The Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

The Grinch

Do you hate Christmas? Not as much as the Grinch!

2. Horton the elephant (Horton Hears a Who, Horton Hatches an Egg)

Horton Hears a Who

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. . . . An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”

3. The Cat in the Hat (The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back)

The Cat in the Hat

A cat with house-wrecking tricks up his sleeves.

“Now! Now! Have no fear. Have no fear!” said the cat. “My tricks are not bad,” said the Cat in the Hat.

4. The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax speaks for the tree and the message is, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

5. Thidwick (Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose)


A bighearted moose who—at last—decides to put himself first.

6. Sam-I-Am (Green Eggs and Ham)

Green Eggs and Ham

Sam-I-Am persists and succeeds in convincing an unwilling and unnamed character to eat green eggs and ham.

“I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am.” Says the character after trying out the food.

7. Yertle the Turtle King (Yertle the Turtle)

Yertle the Turtle King

“On the far-away Island of Sala-ma-Sond, Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.”

8. The Once-ler (The Lorax)

The Once-ler (The Lorax)

He didn’t—initially—take heed of the Lorax’s advice and lived to suffer the consequences.

9. Mack (Yertle the Turtle)

It was his burp that shook up Yertle’s throne, made him “King of the Mud,” and freed other turtles on the stack.

10. Sneetches (The Sneetches)


Sneetches represent the discrimination that existed then and persists now in our society.

“Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches
had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches
had none upon thars.”

11. Bartholomew Cubbins (The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Bartholomew Cubbins and the Oobleck)

Bartholomew Cubbins

A poor boy who couldn’t take off his hats and eventually saved the kingdom from the “Oobleck.”

12. Sylvester McMonkey McBean (The Sneetches)

The “Fix-It-Up Chappie” is a villain and hero in one character. He plans to con the Sneetches out of all their money but ends up ending the racism between the Sneetches.

13. Hunches (Hunches in Bunches)


Hunches are creatures that are symbolic of indecisiveness. With their gloved hats, they provide a bunch of contradicting possible courses of action to a boy who, before encountering them, had wonderful ideas.

14. Marvin K. Mooney (Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!)

Marvin K. Mooney

“You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now!”

15. Thing One and Thing Two (The Cat in the Hat)

Thing One and Thing Two are The Cat in the Hat’s companions who cause mischief in Conrad’s house before Conrad stops them with a net and puts them back in the box by the Cat.

16. Gerald McGrew (If I Ran the Zoo)

Gerald is an imaginative kid—adorned in a white shirt, black coat, red tie, pair of pinstriped trousers, and a red zookeeper hat—who dreams of owning the zoo and doing things a bit differently, with a touch of bizarreness and exoticness.

Gerald McGrew

17. Old Man From the Desert of Drize (Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?)

Old Man From the Desert of Drize

An old man sitting on a prickly cactus tells Duckie, a boy who found him in the desert, to appreciate what he has and not worry about what he doesn’t have.

18. Family from Hop on Pop

18. Family from Hop on Pop

“We like to hop.
We like to hop
on top of Pop.
You must not
hop on Pop.”

19. Mayzie (Horton Hatches the Egg)

Horton Hatches the Egg

Mayzie is a lazy bird who tricks Horton the Elephant into sitting on her egg while she takes a permanent vacation to Palm Beach.

20. Yooks and Zooks (The Butter Battle Book)

Yooks and Zooks

The Yooks and Zooks are two different cultures that live on the opposite side of a long curving wall. The Yooks eat their bread with the butter side up while the Zooks eat their bread with the butter side down.

21. VanItch (The Butter Battle Book)

A trigger-happy Zook who is trying to outwit the Yooks by building more and more complex weaponry. 

22. King Looie Katz (King Looie Katz)

King Looie Katz

“King Looie was a proud cat, mighty proud of his royal tail.”

So proud that he had it washed in a ten-gallon Golden pail. Every morning.

23. King Birtram (The King’s Stilts)

King Birtram

In search of a role model?

You found one!

King Birtram has a great work ethic and some quirky interests and hobbies, and… he is great with animals.

24. Lord Droon (The King’s Stilts)

The ultimate vibe killer, an evil plotter who is ultimately stopped and imprisoned after he moves to steal the King’s set of stilts.

25. Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell (On Beyond Zebra)

On Beyond Zebra

You’ve got to like the name! It’s an uncommon name and so is his imagination. This imaginative boy is going to create an entirely new alphabet beginning with Z.

26. Eric (The King’s Stilts)

This is another Bartholomew Cubbins here, a loyal and brave pageboy.

27. Max the Dog (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A loyal and adorable dog… owned by the worst character in the story.

28. King Derwin (The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins)

A king who is—ultimately—taught a lesson on humility and simple solutions by Bartholomew Cubbins.

29. Grand Duke Wilfred (The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins)

King Derwin’s nephew of the king, who also happens to be an entitled jerk.

30. The Who’s

The inhabitants of Whoville—creatures with warm hearts and welcoming spirits.

31. Van Vleck (Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book)

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book

He has a contagious yawn, a yawn that continues to spread today.

32. Mrs. McCave (Too Many Daves)

Too Many Daves

Mrs. McCave had 23 sons, every one of those sons was named Dave.

33. Chief Yookero (The Butter Battle Book)

Chief of the Yooks, who plays a big role in the arms between the Yooks and Zooks.

34. Nizzards (The King’s Stilts)

Are Dike Trees on the menu?

Yes? Then the Nizzards are coming over for dinner!

35. Captain of the Guards (Bartholomew Cubbins and the Oobleck)

A half-wit who eats the Oobleck, thinking that this green stuff is “rather pretty.”

36. Willy Waterloo (Dr. Seuss’s ABC)

Dr. Seuss's ABC

“Willy Waterloo
washes Warren Wiggins
who is
washing Waldo Woo.”

37. The Foot Guy (The Foot Book)

The Foot Book

“Left foot
left foot
right foot
right, feet in the morning, feet at night.”

38. Butter-Up Band (The Butter Battle Book)

We need a band for the Seuss party! Enter the Butter-Up band!

“When I heard a Boom-Bah! And a Diddle-dee-Dill!
And our Butter-Up Band marched up over the hill!
The Chief Yookeroo had sent them to meet me
Along with the Right-side-Up song Girls to greet me.”

39. Umbus (On Beyond Zebra)

Apparently, Umbus is a cow with 98 teats.

40. The Wickersham Brothers (Horton Hears a Who)

A trio of malevolent monkeys— Sour Kangaroo’s henchmen—who, on Sour Kangaroo’s orders, seize the clover from Horton and put Horton in a cage.

Most famous Dr. Seuss Animated Characters

Dr. Seuss’s characters are loved by many all over the world, and it’s usually exciting when they escape the lines, pages, and chapters of Dr. Seuss’ books to star in animated cartoons. Dr. Seuss characters having been stars of some of the most popular TV cartoons since the 60s, and these are the most memorable:

The Grinch

the grinch
A graphic illustration of Grinch.

The Grinch is one of the best gifts that Dr. Seuss’ left for both movie and book lovers. During the festive season, How the Grinch Stole Christmas becomes one of the most-watched movies and it leaves its audience gleeful, again and again.

The Grinch, who lives with Max (his pooch), tries to steal all the Christmas presents and treats in Whoville just to stop Christmas from coming. But… The Grinch’s evil plans are unsuccessful, The Whos still join together to celebrate, something which makes The Grinch realize that Christmas isn’t just the material things he’s stolen from the Whos. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas made its debut on CBS on December 18, 1966.

The Cat in the Hat

the cat in the hat
The Cat in the Hat. (Image credit: “First Edition – Inside Front Cover” by Daniel X. O’Neil on Flickr CC BY 2.0)

The Cat in the Hat is an iconic character in the Dr. Seuss series. He is dressed to match; he puts on a red and white striped hat, a red bow tie, and embellishes his image with a smug grin. Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat made its debut on CBS back in 1971. The story is about two children who are bored at home and are visited by The Cat who nearly destroys their whole house. The Cat is accompanied by two mischievous buddies namely, Thing 1 and Thing 2.


a horton balloon in the street
A horton balloon in the street. (Image credit: “Horton Hears a Who” by Traci Lawson on Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Horton the elephant is a playful elephant who has been the main character in two of Dr. Seuss’ stories: Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who.

In both stories, Horton has exhibited some favorable traits, he’s loyal and protective. In the animated adventure comedy, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who Horton hears a tiny voice coming from a dust speck and he vows to keep it safe because. For him, “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” so he’s ready to defend all the Whos when the other animals want to destroy the dust speck because they believe that the microscopic community doesn’t exist. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who first aired on CBS on March 19, 1970.  

The 2008 animated adventure comedy was a success, scoring a cool 80% on rotten tomatoes and grossing $297 million on an $85 million budget.

Dr. Seuss FAQs

Did Dr. Seuss Illustrate his books?

Dr. Seuss was both a prolific writer and a cartoonist. He imagined every single one of his published characters and drew them. His characters are so unique that you can identify them as soon as you see them. This uniqueness also made it impossible for other artists to recreate these characters.

Are Dr. Seuss’s books public domain?

No, Dr. Seuss’s books are legally not public domain. According to the copyright laws in the US, Dr. Seuss’s books are copyright property and not free to the public.

However, these copyright laws also stipulate that the books have to become public domain after 95 years of publication.

Did Dr. Seuss win any awards?

Dr. Seuss won many awards in his lifetime and posthumously. He won a Pulitzer for his contribution to children’s literature.

Other awards came because of Dr. Seuss’ contribution to the making of a ton of films and television shows—an Oscar, 2 Emmys, and 2 Peabody Awards.

Did Dr. Seuss get married?

Yes, Theodor Geisel was married to Helen Palmer in 1927. She was also a writer, and she said to have been a great influence on her husband’s writing and illustrating career. However, their story wasn’t the happily ever after type and—after a string of illnesses—committed suicide in 1967.

Did Dr. Seuss have any pets?

It is expected for a writer who wrote the famous “Cat in the Hat” to have a pet. However, Dr. Seuss was more of a dog person.

He had dogs throughout his life—a Boston Terrier named Rex being his first childhood pet and an Irish setter named Cluny being his close companion later in his life.

Did Dr. Seuss have any other jobs?

Yes, He worked with/for a couple of publications before writing his famous books. Early in his career, Dr. Seuss worked as a cartoonist for a magazine called Judge and made illustrations for advertising companies including NBC and General Electric.

Interesting info about Dr Seuss.

The Magical Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss managed to publish 44 books and a truckload of magical and amusing characters. Most of his books are bestsellers, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks, Hop on Pop, The Lorax, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, The King’s Stilts, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

His characters were justifiably the stars of the show and are always among the best characters of all time. They have the power to leap out of the book into your life, and you can be sure they’re staying.

This post only has forty of Dr. Seuss’ characters, but there is a wagon load of other memorable characters that this genius created!

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.