Even in the year 2016, Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, still delights young children and adults with titles such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), The Cat in the Hat (1957) and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990). You yourself may confirm this with a gleam in your eye, a smile on your face, and by immediately reciting a favorite line that, more than likely, will rhyme. Dr. Seuss’ colorful characters and worlds, creative phrasing, and important life lessons are worthy of celebration through the educational medium of the following books. “So call a big meeting. Get everyone out. Make every Who holler! Make every Who shout!”
In A People House
“Come inside, Mr. Bird,” said the mouse. “I’ll show you what there is in a People House.” Great colorful pictures of familiar household objects will entice preschoolers to become readers. Since color fosters memory, each name is presented in a large, bold, pink font.
Take this book one step further, and write five kitchen-related words on index cards. You can use examples from the book, such as a table, chair, banana, sink, and bread. Introducing pre-readers to letters, sounds and spellings (finger spelling) will give children a start in recognizing words.
Go Dog Go!
Young readers cannot help but love Go Dog Go! By pointing up and then down, you can give children the chance to use picture clues while learning about directional and descriptive words, greetings and salutations, and colors. Read slowly. Ask questions along the way. Interpret the “action” of the dogs. By the climatic ending, a dog party, your child will be laughing out loud and asking to have it read again.
The Cat in the Hat
Dr. Seuss was given the challenge to write a book with two requirements:
- It could only include 225 words from a list of 400.
- Children must want and love to read it.
Of course, generations of children love the story of the mischievous Cat, who visited two well-behaved and orderly children on a winter day. Surprisingly, the task took nine months to complete. We can interpret that each of Dr. Seuss’ word choices and sentence constructions was an important part of the overall message. He believed in perfection and not rushing the writing process. Just think, Green Eggs and Ham used only 50 words; so, extend the “word limit” challenge to your children and see how their creativity and imagination are expressed (without a rhyme scheme).
And To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street
“I swung ‘round the corner and dashed through the gate. I ran up the steps, and I felt simply great! For I had a story that no one could beat! And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.”
A Dr. Seuss story usually begins with a “normal” day, and then, extraordinary, unexpected and zany events start happening. The term is called “escalating action.” When pandemonium has finally reached its climatic point, the story resolves in a state of reality and calm. Creating “escalating” events takes imagination and practice. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if you only try.”
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Dr. Seuss wrote hundreds of stories that never filled our bookshelves or our hearts. He chose only particular messages or characters worthy of publication. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” was a final tribute to inspire “YOU” throughout life’s “Great Balancing Act” of overcoming obstacles and soaring to great heights.
In celebration of Seuss Geisel’s birthday and legacy, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is offering a nationwide contest, for children ages 5 to 18, who are “moving mountains,” asking questions, and using their imaginations to excel in the areas of S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.) From March 2nd through the 29th, children and teens are invited to participate in the “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains” campaign. Scholarships and travel will be awarded to the top students. Go to www.kidsmovingmountains.com for more information. “Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting; so, get on your way.”