Today is March 2nd, which for anyone with a school-aged child, we know is Dr. Seuss's birthday. I dare anyone who is a book lover to deny some love of early literacy as a result of Dr. Seuss. We, of course, had books in the house, and my grandfather belonged a book of the month club where he received pretty much the whole collection of Dr. Seuss and related books. I can still picture them on the bottom of the built-in bookcase in the TV room (FYI and totally unrelated, my grandparent's house is now a restaurant, and you can eat in that room with those bookcases still there). What a great gift for all the grandchildren (there were 24 of us, so it was probably a wise investment)!
As a child, my personal favorite Dr. Seuss stories were The Sneetches and What Was I Scared Of? They were both part of the collection, Sneetches and Other Stories, which overall, is fantastic. My other favorite was The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. I don't know why I liked this story, but I remember picking it to read to my third grade class.
As a parent, the Dr. Seuss books took on a whole new meaning and love. When my son was born and very young, we received as gifts (and then purchased) a whole bunch of the Dr. Seuss books in the little board book form. Often they were abridged from the regular form, but this is how I grew to love the stories. Jake loved to be read to. Oh the hours we spent reading The Foot Book, There's a Wocket in my Pocket, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and ABC's. Despite the fact that my son is now a teenager (weep), I can still recite sections of them. Big A, little a, what begins with A? Aunt Annie's Alligator ... a ... a ... a. My dad "adopted" the nickname "the bofa on the sofa" from Wocket, in reference to the only place he will sit in our house. I swear, the couch cushion is indented from him and his numerous hours of babysitting.
When Jake was about eleven months old, he was sitting on the floor of the living room. My dad had just arrived (and taken up his usual place on the couch, across the room). Jake was in a little footie-pajama outfit and playing with his foot. My dad looked at him and said, "Left foot, left foot, right foot, right. Feet in the day, feet in the night," which is the opening line from The Foot Book. Jake took off like a shot, crawling down the hall to his room. We didn't think anything of it until he came crawling back a few minutes later, The Foot Book in hand.
Then there was always the debate about who had to read Fox in Sox. It's a tongue-twister for most people, but my dad hated it especially. He used to tell the kids, "Grammy wants to read Fox in Sox to you." I don't think she appreciated it.
Now as an adult, I can see the allegorical messages in Dr. Seuss's books. I was in a classroom yesterday, waiting for a student, while the teacher began reading Sneetches. I couldn't help but think about the book I'm currently listening to, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and the topic of race relations.
If you haven't picked up a Dr. Seuss book recently, why not celebrate today by reading one? I guarantee you'll end with a smile on your face, especially if you're reading about a tweetle-beetle battle.
|My own Thing 1 and Thing 2|
Happy birthday Dr. Seuss!