SILVER SPRING, Md, March 1, 2013 – Dr. Seuss is considered one of the greatest children’s book writers and illustrators of all time. Having published 46 picture books, The National Educational Association adopted his birthday, March 2, as National Read Across America Day.
To celebrate Seuss’s birthday and to help support the Read Across America effort, here is a list of the top 5 Dr. Seuss books.
The Cat in the Hat
The story of two children who are left at home all alone on a rainy day when they receive a visit from a cat wearing a top hat. The cat’s wacky tricks and efforts to entertain the bored children wind up wrecking the house. The children have to capture the cat’s raucous playmates, and herd the cat out of the house. Luckily, he cleans it up as he leaves. It ends with children who are relieved to have nothing to do when their mother returns home. This is the book that introduced us to Thing One and Thing Two and spawned, not only a sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, but an animated series and a major motion picture starring Mike Myers.
The Lorax is a wizened character who “speaks for the trees.” Published in 1971, this was one of the first lessons in the harm of deforestation and the importance to care for nature that many children for decades received. The story follows the fate of a forest that is cut down when industry moves in to create thneeds to meet the high demand, because “everyone needs a thneed.” But the drive to produce more and more leads to the last tree being cut down and the world becoming filled with bottled air, fake trees and a completely manufactured life. In the end, one young boy plants the last seed which recalls the spirit of the Lorax and the forest.
The books popularity led to an animated movie in 1972, and a computer animated film in 2012.
Green Eggs and Ham
The classic story of a boy who is offered a new food insists, as many a child does, that he does not like it and will not eat it whatever the circumstance is a popular favorite. After repeating over and over, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I will not eat them, Sam I Am,” winds up giving in to Sam. The boy tries the green eggs and ham, and does in fact like them. Aside from the fact that it rings true to parents with picky eaters for children, the words are so skillfully crafted that the catchy rhyming couplets stick in your head for years after you have read the book. Perhaps the message of the book may just pay off for parents hoping to get kids to clean their plate.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
This is a lesson in counting and colors, opposites and fun. The story is loosely assembled around a pair of siblings and their weird pet fish. While the story starts with fish, it moves into the wacky world of Seuss quickly and passes from fish to body parts, and then straight into tongue twisting hilarity.
Horton Hears a Who
Horton, an elephant, is the only creature in the jungle who can hear the Whos who live on what looks like a speck of dust. When all the rest of the jungle inhabitants do not believe him, Whoville is in danger unless the Whos can make their presence known to the other animals. The Whos try with all their might to make as much noice as possible, but it is not until the smallest Who of all adds her own sound to the clamor that the animals realize Whoville, even though only the size of a speck of dust, does exist.
Like The Lorax, this is another one of Dr. Seuss’s parable stories. The message that “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” resonates especially with children because they relate to the concept of being small, and just like the people living on the tiny speck of dust that is Whoville, they sometimes can feel like they are not heard.
So grab your favorite Dr. Seuss book and celebrate, even if you are not a kid anymore.
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