If you have school-aged children under the age of 7 or so, you probably already know that today is Theodore Geisel’s birthday. That, of course, would be Dr. Seuss, who would turn 107 today — just 105 years older than Cindy Lou Who. The National Education Association has built its Read Across America campaign around Seuss’ birthday, which explained my daughter strutting about in her classroom-made Cat in the Hat hat.
By now, everyone of every age has grown up with Seuss’ sadistic rhyming characters, from the mischievous Cat in the Hat to the incorrigible Sam-I-Am. (As a kid, I was especially fond of Fox in Socks.) Once you have children, though, your relationship with these beloved classics will be severely tested — or at least redefined. One Fish, Two Fish is not without its charms, but how does that nostalgia hold up after you’ve read it aloud 4,210 times in a single afternoon to a princess who doesn’t even seem to be paying attention except when you attempt to skip a page? I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Perhaps my shoes are simply too tight.
I do love the Seuss. I do. I do. I just wish I could put the books down after reading a few. My children are ruthless, they insist to hear more. For once, I’d like to rest before my throat becomes sore. I just want them to learn to read it themselves, so they can think of another word that rhymes with … themselves. Maybe then I’ll recall the magic of Seuss, and the children won’t think their pop’s so obtuse. Until that day, I promise to persevere, and continue to read them all to the tot’s great cheer. I may sound like a Grinch, but in truth, I’m a buff, it’s just that sometimes these tales — over and over — can be tough.
I wish Dr. Seuss a happy 107th birthday, and I hope that his stories continue to encourage every young student to read. Most especially my own. What was your favorite Dr. Seuss book as a child? Have you revisited it lately, as a parent or a babysitter? What’s the one Seuss book your kid keeps bringing back — no matter where in the shed you hide it?