Tag Archives: Dr. Seuss
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Last week was the 111th birthday of Dr. Seuss, probably the most beloved and easily identified of all American picture book creators. Educators and librarians everywhere go crazy for Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Out come those gigantic Cat in the Hat red and white hats. Off the shelves come all the Seuss books; I believe there are at least 60. I’ll bet a few Dr. Seuss look-alikes get pulled as well. There are a bunch of those. At my son’s school, he got to dress in pajamas and a robe, and carry around a stuffed animal. Or in his case, a stuffed robot. Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas are all top contenders for top Seuss books. Though in our family, we have our own favorites. The kids in class had the option to bring their favorite Dr. Seuss book, which in our case was a toss-up between The Sneetches and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? The latter won in the end, even though the other stories in The Sneetches are amazing. Included are “Too Many Daves” in which the woman with a ton of sons regrets naming them all Dave. Seuss offers some names she could have chosen instead. My favorite is Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face. My son’s favorite is Oliver Tolliver Butt. No mystery why.
Also included is “What Was I Scared Of?” I’ll tell you what he was scared of: a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them! I would be too. Even if it turns out that they are as scared of you as you are of them. Dr. Seuss’s birthday may have already passed, but there’s no reason you can’t go check out all 60+ of his books and bring them all into bed with you tonight to cover you in a big, heavy blanket of Seuss-y goodness.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.
Did you know there was a doctor before Dr. Who? That’s right. He was named Dr. Seuss. Perhaps you have heard of him. He recently got lots of coverage for his book Green Eggs and Ham being read on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Well before that day, he wrote this Christmas book which I’ll bet everyone but me read long, long ago. It has been turned into both a live-action and an animated movie. It’s got a soundtrack whose songs appear on occasional Christmas mixes and it is firmly embedded in our culture. Verily, anyone who vocalizes a dislike for the season is promptly labeled either a Scrooge or a Grinch.
I, on the other hand, only read it for the first time last week. My kid has seen the animated movie numerous times, regardless of whether is Christmas or Flag Day or Arbor Day. Who can blame him? There are precious few Flag Day movies for kids. Always interested in raising a well-rounded child, I grabbed the book when I saw it on the shelf. Doubtless all copies will have been snatched up by now. (Yup, 21 holds!)
I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m going to assume the book is better. Full of that holiday redemption that people just eat up this time of year, what better moment than the Grinch’s realization that Christmas isn’t just about getting stuff? (Well, in theory, at least) Watch his heart grow three sizes! Watch him join the Whoville inhabitants for roast beast! Fun for all ages.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.” Those are the famous words uttered by the squat mustachioed thing in the beloved and at times controversial book, The Lorax. Believe it or not, despite my identity as a father and a children’s librarian (at heart, if no longer in practice), I only read this for the first time last week.
SPOILER ALERT: It’s kind of depressing! This greedy guy with a desire to build useless junk nobody needs cuts down every darned tree in the land. All the birds fish and bears who relied on the trees must necessarily leave and find somewhere with a more suitable habitat, leaving this land drab and dead. And not even economically sound in the end!
It’s a pretty straightforward moral lesson about our role as stewards of the earth, and about greed, and about money before the health of the environment. I appreciate the importance of teaching kids the importance of the world around us. It was clearly an important theme to Dr. Seuss. This book has none of the joy, silliness, and oddity for which he is so well known. It’s just dark, and upsetting, and sad. It ends, of course, with the single seed from the last Truffula tree, which is supposed to mean hope for recovering from all of man’s destruction. It would have been nice to maybe show the trees growing back, the fish returning, something like that. That’s my favorite part about watching nature recover from disaster.
Anyways, I think it’s a good lesson to share, but I’m not reading this one every night for days on end!