Friday, March 1, 2013


The Cat in the Hat

My first book.

Not the first book I ever owned. Not the first book  I ever read or had read to me. (See previous post, Love and Poetry)

The Cat in the Hat was the first book I personally bought with my own money

I must have been about 6 years old and my allowance at the time was $2.00 a month, which I received each time my mother got paid. This was enough to buy this coveted book.

Soon after this initial purchase I realized that every book that I might ever want was available for purchase.

This was the beginning of my penchant for buying books. This was the origin of maintaining a must-have list of books.   And this was the start of my personal investment and support of the publishing houses of the world. 

Every bit of my allowance for a number of years went to books.

And now-- not much is different.

This first purchase eventually  led  to overflowing bookshelves and piles of books in every room.

The Cat in the Hat eventually became part of an early reading series, which included a number of early reader picture books by Dr. Seuss, as well as other authors. I remember reading many of these.

Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, also wrote under the name Theo LeSieg,and those books were included in this easy reading series, as well.

 Dr. Seuss, however, like many of the writers I love best, wrote for a variety of purposes at a range of levels. You could literally grow up with his ever higher offerings of wisdom and life lessons. 

As a novelty Christmas gift about 10 years ago, my parents bought me How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Latin.

And many of us have given Oh the Places You Will Go to our favorite graduate.

Several of his books deal with social justice issues such as racism, (Sneeches)  the environment, (The Lorax )  compassion and activism ( Horton Hears a Who)   and more and more.   

And for you big kids who are not yet willing or ready to give up childhood or Dr. Seuss, there are some distinctly grownup offerings available.

Dr. Seuss joined the war effort during World War II, in a way that  only he could, working as a political cartoonist for a New York newspape. Richard H. Minear has collected over 200 of these subtle Seuss cartoons in Dr. Seuss Goes to War.

Dr. Seuss also created art solely for himself—now available for us in a fantastic, sophisticated, coffee-table collection of 65 never published cartoons, sketches and oil paintings.

TheSecret Art of Dr. Seuss, delights our thirst for the imaginary, other worldly creatures and lands that we grew to love in the Seuss we read as children.

And for those desiring a more risqué experience, Seuss even published a delightful “adult” book, The Seven Lady Godivas. including nudes in classic Seuss style.

Today, March 1, is NEA’s Read Across America Day (or Dr. Seuss Day), the largest reading event in the United States.

In its 16th year, NEA’s Read Across America is not only this one day of celebrating--reading, reading-aloud, and reading marathons and other such activities-- but an integral component of a year-long effort dedicated to motivating children and teens to read, through programs, partnerships and  resources.  You may want to visit their Facebook page and join the effort.

What will you do today  to remember the Cat?

What will you do today to motivate someone to read?
What will you do to motivate someone to read---not just today, but regularly?

Today’s Deeper Writing Possibilities
People either love Dr. Seuss or totally dislike his work.  Which are you? 

What do you remember about Dr. Seuss books from your childhood?   Which one was your favorite?  You may enjoy revisiting some of his books this week.  What points and perspectives did you miss as a child that you noticed as an adult?

What have you learned from his wisdom and the political stances portrayed in his books?

Write a tribute to Dr. Seuss.  You may want to write a speech that could be presented at  Read Across Amerca Event.

What motivates you to read?  Write about ways you can inspire a reluctant or disengaged reader?


  1. Sophie has really started to love Dr. Seuss lately and I just found several titles of his on Amazon that I didn't know about. I think I'll put them in her Easter basket instead of candy!

  2. I love how there are many levels of Seuss books ---Sophie will be able to indulge in her love for a long time to come. My fifth graders were enthralled with how serious issues could be dealt with in classic Seuss style. I used several titles in Social Studies, along side more "serious texts." Lots to compare and consider.

    Horton Hatches An Egg?