Press Release

How The Grinch Stole Christmas And The Cat In The Hat Are Both In Latin - Imagine That!

(ARA) - If years were named after authors as they are named after animals in the Chinese calendar, 2000 could well be termed "The Year of Seuss."

Just before Thanksgiving, the malleable Jim Carrey will star in a Universal Studios movie adaptation of the beloved holiday tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and two weeks later, The Cat in the Hat will be joined by Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz and the Whos in Seussical, a new stage musical making its Broadway debut.

Earlier this year, Latin scholars Jennifer and Terence Tunberg released a Latin translation The Cat in the Hat (Cattus Petasatus), following their successful Latin rendition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas(Quomodo Invidiosulus nomine GRINCHUS Christi natalem Abrogaverit).

If you ask any child--from two to ninety-two---what his or her favorite Seuss character is, you'll no doubt receive one of two responses: the small-hearted Grinch or the larger-than-life Cat in the Hat. But how well do we really know them? Take the two tests below--you may learn a "Thing" or two!

  • What was the main reason the Grinch hated Christmas?
  • What would comprise the Whos' typical Christmas Day feast?
  • What were the "first things to go" when the Grinch reached the first Who house?
  • Who was the only Who who saw the Grinch on Christmas Eve? How old was she?
  • What did the reformed Grinch do at the Whos' Christmas feast?

  • What are the two items the Cat always wears?
  • Who was the "voice of reason" who urged the children not to let the Cat stay in the house while their mother was away?
  • While entertaining the children, the Cat balanced nine objects at one time while bouncing on a ball. Name four of them.
  • What came out of the big red wood box?
  • How was the mess cleaned up before the children's mother got home?

If you answered more than three questions correctly on each test, you're more than qualified to embark upon your next educational adventure: reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat . . . in Latin.

Capitalizing on the Latin revival sweeping the country, scholars and avid Seuss fans Dr. Jennifer Tunberg and Dr. Terence Tunberg embraced the challenge of translating the Grinch into Latin in 1998. "How The Grinch Stole Christmas had already been published in many modern languages," explained Jennifer, a specialist in the study of medieval manuscripts copied in Latin who teaches at the University of Kentucky with her husband. "With Latin being a 'hot' language once again, both Terence and I felt privileged to be able to render Theodor Geisel's marvelous classic tale into a contemporary Latin version."

Quomodo Invidiosulus nomine GRINCHUS Christi natalem Abrogaverit proceeded to sell more than 20,000 copies last year, with Latin-loving consumers clamoring for additional Seuss translations. The Cat in the Hat was the natural choice. 

"Rendering The Cat in the Hat into Latin was a challenge because the lines are so short and the rhythm so obvious," added Jennifer. "However, except for the odd new word to describe new things, the Latin of Cattus Petasatus is linguistically and syntactically the same as earlier Latin." 

"Many people think of Latin as the language of science, math, medicine and learning," said Terence, a specialist in medieval and neo-Latin literature who founded the electronic journal Retiarius and inaugurated Kentucky's annual "Summer Latin Workshop" five years ago. "What they often don't realize is that Latin is surprisingly easy to learn. With its simple Seussian rhyming scheme, Cattus Petasatus is ideal for first- and second-year Latin students. Once they've mastered the basics, the Latin rendition of the Grinch is the perfect 'next step'".

Steadily increasing since the 70s, Latin enrollment on all grade levels has boomed in the 90s. Studies have shown that Latin students' mean SAT score is 160 points higher than the national average of 505, and that elementary school Latin students in Washington, D.C. developed reading skills five months ahead of those who studied no foreign language. More than 65% of U.S. college admissions offices report that they consider applicants with over two years of Latin or ancient Greek as "much stronger" or "somewhat stronger" than other qualified candidates. Not only does this underscore the importance of Latin in children's school curriculums, it positions Latin teaching as one of the "hot" new career tracks.

The Latin versions of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat In The Hat can be found at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks and other major book retailers.


[ANSWERS: GRINCHUS QUIZUS 1) all the noise; 2) Who-pudding, rare Who-roast-beast; 3) Who stockings; 4) Little Cindy-Lou Who, not more than two; 5) carved the roast beast.
WHAT'S YOUR CAT I.Q.? 1) red and white striped hat, red bow tie; 2) the fish; 3) cup, milk, cake, books, fish, rake, toy ship, toy man, fan; 4) Thing One and Thing Two; 5) the Cat cleaned it up with a multi-armed machine.]

Courtesy of ARA Content