Mayor of Dr. Seuss’ hometown blasts librarian who rejected books

The places Melania Trump will go might include Springfield, Mass.

Domenic Sarno, mayor of Springfield, invited the first lady and the Trump family to visit the western Massachusetts city, home of Dr. Seuss and a museum honoring the children’s author.

“‘One fish - two fish - red fish - blue fish’ - I think her comments ‘stink’ and are ridiculous towards our beloved Dr. Seuss,” Sarno, a Democrat, said in a statement issued to local media Thursday night.

The full-throated rebuke was directed at the Cambridge Public Schools librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro who turned down Trump’s donation of 10 Dr. Seuss books.

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“You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliche, a tired and worn ambassador for children's literature,” Soeiro wrote on the Horn Book's Family Reading blog. “Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss's illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books and you'll see the racist mockery in his art.”

That didn’t sit too well with the mayor of Springfield, where Seuss was born in 1904. He called Phipps’ “ambassador” remarks as well as the allegation that Seuss was a racist “‘political correctness’ at its worst.”

Seiro has faced national backlash for her strongly worded rejection of the books. She also referred to the Cat in the Hat as being inspired by “blackface minstrelsy.”

Photos began circulating on social media showing her at school events in the cat’s famed hat, holding a doll of the well-known character.

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HAGERSTOWN, MD - FEBRUARY 26, 2015: Image of The Cat in the Hat book by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is widely know for his children's books.
American author and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991) sits at his drafting table in his home office with a copy of his book, 'The Cat in the Hat', La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957. (Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images)
HAGERSTOWN, MD - FEBRUARY 26, 2015: Image of Green Eggs and Ham book by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is widely know for his children's books.
HAGERSTOWN, MD - FEBRUARY 26, 2015: Image of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish book by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is widely know for his children's books.
HAGERSTOWN, MD - FEBRUARY 26, 2015: Image of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back book by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is widely know for his children's books.
HAGERSTOWN, MD - FEBRUARY 26, 2015: Image of On Beyond Zebra book by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is widely know for his children's books.
Theodor Seuss Geisel 1904 -– 1991, American writer, poet, and cartoonist at work on a drawing of a grinch, the hero of his forthcoming book, 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 18: ABC SPECIAL - 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!' - 12/18/66, A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville., (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
American author and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991) sits with pen and paper as he works on his book 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' by his pool in La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957. (Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images)
American author and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991), holds the head of one of his characters in his home work room, La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957. (Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images)
American author and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991) sits outdoors talking with a group of children, holding a copy of his book, 'The Cat in the Hat', La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957. (Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images)
American writer and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991) points towards something in the distance while his wife Helen prepares to take a picture outside their home in La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957. (Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images)
FEB 7 1976, FEB 9 1976, APR 1 1984; Geisel, Theodor Seuss - Individuals - Dr. Seuss; (Photo By Steve Larson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
YONKERS, NY - MARCH 1: Theodor Geisel attends Dr. Suess In-Store Appearance on March 1, 1986 at Caldor in Yonkers, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
TAYLOR MOMSEN with JIM CARREY.'Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas' .Supplied by ES-Globe Photos, inc..TV-Film-Still.K20375ES (Credit Image: © Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 11: ABC SPECIAL - 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!' - 12/18/66, A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville., (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
Theodor S Geisel, known to his millons of fans the world over as Dr. Seuss in a publicity portrait from the film biography 'In Search Of Dr. Seuss', 1994. (Photo by TNT/Getty Images)
Thing 1, The Cat in the Hat and Thing 2 during Theodor 'Dr. Seuss' Geisel Honored Posthumously with Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)
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The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden opened in Springfield 15 years ago, and the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum opened there this June.

Sarno, in his statement, invited the first lady and President Trump the city, where Seuss grew up as Theodor Geisel.

And since Soeiro would not accept the tomes, Sarno said he’d give them a home.

“By the way, kudos to First Lady Melania Trump for her generous offer to donate Dr. Seuss books to that Cambridge school library - they don't want them - we'll take them and would be honored to have the First Lady and President Trump to visit the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum too,” Sarno said.

Seuss’ political cartoons in the build up to and during World War II have been criticized for their anti-Japanese nature.

Soeiro suggested the first lady send the books to “underfunded and underprivileged communities that may continue to be marginalized and maligned by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.”

The first lady’s office is reportedly donated the books to one school in each of the 50 states.

Cambridge Public Schools told Masslive.com in a statement Soeiro wasn’t authorized to reject or accept the books.

“The employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district,” the statement read. “We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes.”

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