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Confession: When I was a little girl, I really wanted to be Dr. Seuss.
I dreamed of being a children’s book author, and I was especially intrigued in the way Dr. Seuss drew people in to a world we had never been to and made us all feel quite at home among his fantastical beasts. I wanted to write books that captured the imagination and opened minds to new worlds and new possibilities, while still feeling simple and familiar. I even imagined what I might call myself. If Theodore Geisel thought Dr. Seuss sounded better, maybe I needed a different name too. Still part of me says, “Someday.”
Dr. Seuss, Mr. Geisel, he’s taught me a lot of pretty important lessons. I learned to read over his whimsical illustrations. I learned about the foolishness of prejudice from The Sneetches. From the Grinch, I learned that the satisfaction of Christmas is more than the stuff. Yertle the Turtle taught me that power corrupts. Oh Say Can You Say taught me that words can be a lot fun!
Just this week, I was thinking about all the advice I hear online, the step-by-step rules for growing a blog or organizing your home or raising your kids. I sat in my favorite big chair looking at the bookshelf and noticed all his titles lined up and wondered:
What if Dr. Seuss had followed the pattern? What if he stuck to the script?
If he had never decided to stand out, do things differently, Dick and Jane might still be the way children learn.
Reading lessons in America changed with one little book: The Cat in the Hat. Proving that repetitive words and sounds did not have to mean boring literature, he broke open the mold and showed us a link between learning and fun, between phonics and literature!
None of that might have happened if Theo stuck to the status quo.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Invention and whimsy for its sake alone can be chaotic, but Dr. Seuss encourages us to think outside the box. Think and wonder! Wonder and Think!
“We’ve taught you that the world is round, that red and white make pink. And something else that matters more, we’ve taught you how to think!”
March 2 may not be a national holiday, but it is certainly a day worth celebrating: the birthday of this wonderful champion of wonder and thought. It’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday!
Share these crafts and activities with your kids and dream up your own! The library of Seussical titles is wide and varied. Use it! Explore and Create and celebrate the wonderful, wacky world of Dr. Seuss!