Wow. It’s Thursday already, huh? How’d your week go?
In celebration of his upcoming birthday (Monday), this week’s illustrator is Dr. Seuss. I have to assume that you have read some of his books or, at the very least, seen some of the movies made from his stories. So instead of reviewing a bunch of his books, I’m going to tell you a few fun facts about him, and then say a little about two books that will be used for the projects I’ll post tomorrow.
Dr. Seuss wasn’t always Dr. Seuss. He was born Theodor Seuss Geisel. In 1921 he went to Dartmouth College, where he wrote for the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern, the College’s humor magazine. He got into some trouble and, as punishment, the school told him that he could no longer work on the magazine. Well, Theodor didn’t like that option. He continued to write for the magazine under a new pen name—Seuss. The “Dr.” was added after he graduated.
In 1954, a study showed that children weren’t learning to read in school because they thought the books they were reading were boring. Dr. Seuss and his editor came up with a list of the most important words for kids to know how to read and Dr. Seuss wrote a rhyming story using only those words. He had written quite a few books that were well-liked and popular before this, but The Cat in the Hat was special. And kids liked it. It was a book they wanted to read again and again.
Interestingly, Dr. Seuss, though one of the most-beloved and well-known children’s book authors, never won a Caldecott Medal. Three of his books—McElligot’s Pool, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and If I Ran the Zoo—were runners up, what we now call Caldecott Honor books.
Since Monday is Dr. Seuss’ birthday, is there really a better book to read than his Happy Birthday to You!? This is the story of a place called Katroo where people can do as they wish on their birthdays. The Great Birthday Bird swoops into your home and takes you on a full-day birthday adventure. In Katroo, on your birthday, you can do anything you want. You can eat any food, make a mess, take home an exotic pet, and stay up all night at your birthday party where there are fireworks and a boat-sized birthday cake. Sounds like a great birthday to me!
The second project tomorrow will feature The Cat in the Hat. The story begins with two bored children on a rainy day. When the Cat in the Hat strolls into their home, he turns a boring day into a fun-filled adventure. But the cat’s antics create a huge mess that the children worry will never be cleaned up before their mom gets home.
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