What would childhood be without Dr. Seuss? As an adult, when I come across Dr. Seuss books I find myself clutching them to my chest and instantly feeling nostalgic for the days when Green Eggs and Ham and The Sneetches and Other Stories were the most well worn books on my shelf at home.
As a teacher I am forever grateful to Dr. Seuss for the genius of books, such as The Lorax, which finds a way to send a profound message about environmentalism to the reader in a light, whimsical style.
In honor of Dr. Seuss, who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904, and would have turned 107 this year, the National Education Association has designated March 2 “Read Across America,” a day devoted to encouraging everyone to pick up a book.
To celebrate, the second graders this week are listening to a read aloud of a book that I just discovered on the SPA library shelves last week: Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, and Lane Smith.
This book was new to me when I found it, but it has already become one of my favorites for its incredible back story. You see, before Theodor Geisel passed away he had spent several years sketching and writing a story about a teacher named Miss Bonkers but it was never completed before his death in 1991.
After Seuss died, his editor took the sketches and verses Seuss had been working on to Jack Prelutsky, the famous children’s poet, to see if he might be interested in finishing what Seuss had started. Prelutsky joined forces with Lane Smith, the illustrator of The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and what came to be is an amazing compilation by three incredible talents.
With Hooray for Diiffendoofer Day! Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith do indeed pay homage to Dr. Seuss, but in their own distinctive way. The result is the union of three one-of-a-kind voices. While reading it with the second graders today they were delighted to identify cameos of Seuss’s beloved characters within the pages. Can you spot some of Seuss’s characters in this illustration?