Mystic.Magic.Fantastic Pants — Kidlit Trivia

Short version: Which kidlit superstar wrote and illustrated a story about haunted pants? Answer at end of post.

Long Version and answer:
Cece is reading Joe Hill’s “Heart-Shaped Box” which is apparently about a haunted suit.

That reminded me of a rather lame Victorian-ish short story about a haunted suit which I have for some reason read twice. (Yet can recall neither author nor name.)

This reminded me of a Kidlit picture book about haunted pants. It’s written by one of the BIG names, but it is one of their most overlooked stories — even though it is quite nice. Can you recall it?

Can you think of other stories about Magic Pants? It seems like an unlikely subject, yet it keeps popping up.

It shows up in all sorts of genres:
Fantasy (or is it magical realism): “The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit.”
mid-grade: “Dear Dumb Diary #2: My Pants are Haunted.”
YA : “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”
Sci-Fi/Crime Caper: “The Wrong Trousers”
Kid TV: Arthur has a run in with haunted pants at some point apparently.
Classic movies: “Life With Father.”

I particularly like the pants from “Life With Father,” which are not supernaturally haunted, but psychologically so.
A teenager is given his father’s old suit. It’s his only suit to wear when courting a young lady. But when the teenage Liz Taylor sits on his lap he finds that he cannot do anything in that line whilst in his father’s pants.

And so we come to the answer. It is:
“What was I so Scared Of?” by Dr. Seuss, which I believe you’ll find in Sneetches and Other Stories.

Here’s a sample:
“Now bicycles were never made/
For pale green pants to ride ’em,
Especially sppoky pale green pants/
With nobody inside ’em!”


2 Responses

  1. You know what’s funny? My wife was just talking about that story with her brother over the weekend. We all thought that the story was called “The Pale Green Pants” or “Pale Green Pants With Nobody Inside Them.” But there was my brother-in-law, holding a copy of “Sneeches” and setting us straight.

    Wow …

  2. Wow oh wow, have you ever touched on something that scared the Sneetches out of me when I was a kid! And even when I was little I got the whole point of the story… facing your fears and finding out that they’re not that scary after all, but seriously…. pants that walked around in the middle of the night all by themselves? Terrifying!

    Dr. Seuss was just too effective with his illustrations in this story. The sight of those glowing green pants strolling down a dark, tree-lined path in the dead of night brought on a level of unsettling creepiness that I’ve not felt anywhere outside of The Haunting of Hill House! I think the Dr. should have dabbled in some adult horror-story writing in his off hours!

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