Most lovers of children books don’t have to be told that March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s (otherwise known as Theodor Seuss Geisel) birthday. For those of you who do not know; you have to get up and go; it is a day to definitely not stay in bed, so get that notion out of your silly head; go out and leave your house to a fiendish cat, or visit an elephant who can hear a gnat. Whatever you do it should be a cinch; just don’t ignore the day like a birthday Grinch.
Most children love Dr. Seuss books because of the sounds. The others fall in love with the illustrations (I still long for green eggs and ham for breakfast). Whatever tickled your fancy regarding Seuss’s books long ago, it is certain that kids are enjoying them that way too today. While no modern technology is evident in these books, the universality of the stories touches a chord with all generations, which is why Seuss’s books are the eternal bastion of childhood – and those who are young at heart.
My favorite Seuss books are as follows, with number 1 being my all-time favorite:
10. Oh, The Places You Will Go
9. The Lorax
8. Horton Hears a Who
7. Fox in Socks
6. There’s No Place Like Space
5. Green Eggs and Ham
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
3. The Cat in the Hat
2. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
1. You’re Only Old Once
Now, it is difficult choosing “favorites” among so many great books, and I think my choices are different now than they would have been when I was 5 or even 25, but that is the beauty of Dr. Seuss. You can read the books again and again, eventually to your own children as I have done countless times, and then you start finding new reasons to like them that are vastly different than they used to be, and I think that is the magic of these literary treasures.
Dr. Seuss books teach children appreciation of poetry, of the fun our language can be, and the way conflict can be resolved through creativity, wit, and lots of luck too. Until this day I still get extremely nervous when I see the mother’s foot in the window while reading The Cat in the Hat to my son. How are they ever going to clean up the mess before she walks in that door? It gets me every time.
Perhaps that’s the whole point. Dr. Seuss’s books are a celebration of children and their imaginations. The fantasy worlds established make us believe in them because they are like Santa Claus; only if you believe will you reap the rewards. With Seuss’s books we get to leave the everyday prose world behind and jump head first into a pool of delightful language and imagery. Indeed, they make the case for all the places we will go, and we never have to leave the comfort of our sofas sitting next to our children.
Hopefully, you can celebrate the good doctor’s birthday with a marathon of readings with your kids, or perhaps by watching the TV series or films that have come from them. No matter how you choose to do it, you will have fun and enjoy books that are still a joy for kids of all ages.
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Photo Credits: Cat in the Hat -vwcs.org; Dr. Seuss – thefw.com