How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, a children’s book written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss, a pen name of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, was published in 1957 by Random House. It was his thirteenth children’s book. The Grinch was later included in two other Seuss books, Halloween is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat.
The book tells the story of how the Grinch, an odd green loner with a heart that is "two sizes too small" tries to prevent the customary bustle and noise of Christmas in the nearby town of Whoville from disturbing his peace by stealing all of the Who’s presents. Forcing his devoted dog, Max, into service, he makes himself into an anti-Santa Claus, with a sleigh and a dog-cum-reindeer, which is really Max with a sawed off antler tied to his head.
Making his way down to the village on Christmas Eve, he steals not only all of the Christmas decorations, presents, and food, but all the food in their houses, leaving only a crumb so small that it wouldn’t interest a mouse. A small Who wakes up and confronts him, but he lies to her, gives her some water, and sends her back to bed.
Having loaded his sleigh with everything that—in his view—makes Christmas, Christmas, and so having stolen Christmas, as he sees it, he has Max drag the sleigh up to the top of Mount Crumpit, and is just about to dump the entire cargo when he hears the sound of the Whos singing the same song they always sing on Christmas.
This causes the Grinch to undergo an epiphany. He realizes that he hasn’t kept Christmas from coming, and he suddenly gains insight into the true meaning of Christmas, only to be faced with the tottering load of possessions that is about to fall off the mountain. With a heroic effort—either made possible by or causing his hear to enlarge by three sizes—he rescues the sled, returns the presents, trimmings, and food, and presides over the Christmas feast, having been befriended by the Whos.
Several adaptations have followed. The book was adapted into an animated film by Chuck Jones in 1966. Boris Karloff narrated the story, which is often broadcast on network television several weeks before Christmas in the United States. A long-playing record version in 1975 was narrated by Zero Mostel. In 1998 a musical version opened in San Diego and also appeared on Broadway. The year 2001 saw a live-action film adaptation with Jim Carrey starring as the Grinch.