From Yertle the Turtle to Horton the Elephant, Dr. Seuss brought alive splendid characters, vivid imagination and delightful words through his books.
Chip away at the madness and you will discover a genius writer and wordsmith in the world of Dr. Seuss books.
My daughter and I discovered Dr. Seuss when she was old enough to have people tell me that I am not doing a great job unless I am reading a hundred books a day to her. To a parent who faces enormous pressure to raise the perfect child, reading Dr. Seuss is a breath of fresh air because he is fun, is masterful at satire and helps us to not take things too seriously because it is all bunkum anyway.
Dr. Seuss’s books are silly personas with delightfully wicked souls and that it is pretty amazing in an age when we want to bubble wrap children’s literary experiences.
Here are 5 things Dr. Seuss can do for kids in a world that takes itself too seriously.
1. Unleash their imagination
When we started reading Dr. Seuss at home, people in the family who are generally a little reserved or inhibited were commanded by my daughter to read books like ABC and Happy Birthday to You to her. “What on earth is a hippo heimer?” they would ask indignantly. In a few weeks, they had normalized these experiences and had loosened up considerably, even saying “Ah yes the katroo, he was hereabouts.” Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for giving the world a Leviathan imagination!
Personal favorite: Dr. Seuss’s ABC
2. Introduce them to the rhythm of language
There is much more to Dr. Seuss than just the tomfoolery. Seuss wrote most of his books in anapestic tetrameter, a metre used by famous British poets. The pattern of rhyming words and the specific arrangement of weak and strong syllables make Seuss’s books so much fun to read out or recite. Bet you thought he was just unraveling at his typewriter, didn’t you?
Personal favorites: Bartholomew and The Oobleck, If I Ran the Circus
3. Expose them to the bizarre and expand their range
Dr. Seuss books are fun, daft, and sneakily subversive, filled with snatches of dark humor and skepticism. The Cat’s Quizzer, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, And to Think That I saw it On Mulberry Street, these are books that are funny, silly, engrossing and yet wild-hearted in a way that gets kids thinking beyond their filters.
Personal favorite: Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat’s Quizzer
4. Cultivate their sense of humor
When everyone is eulogizing reading (which is a pretty great thing, let me be clear), Seuss is not taking it too seriously at all. I Can Read With My Eyes Shut is a fun look at reading and The Cat’s Quizzer is a lighthearted dig at organized thought and knowledge.
Personal favorite: I Can Read With My Eyes Shut
5. Teach them original word play
Yertle the Turtle, Circus McGurkus, the Glunk that Got Thunk. This is creativity and original word play at its best, much like Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and other great poets. Seuss writes verses and books that produce snorts and growls of laughter that seem like they are originating from the stomach. And that’s why he is special.
Personal favorite: Happy Birthday to You, Yertle the Turtle
Do you like Dr. Seuss too? Tell us which books are your favorites!