Someone highlighted this article on Facebook. It resonates far beyond the topic of books, but it also serves as a great lead in to the books I recently brought home from the branch library across the street. A few weeks ago, I selected some Seuss: Horton Hears a Who, The Cat in the Hat, Sneetches and Other Stories, and Yertle the Turtle and other Stories.
Horton Hears a Who mostly stands up to the passage of time. The violence that the kangaroos and monkeys attempt to perpetrate is shocking, but it is also very compelling. The kangaroos change their attitude in the end in ways we all wish bullies would. Horton’s unwavering belief in the who, his staunch defense of them, and his search for them in the clover field are very exaggerated examples of some good qualities. And the scenes in Whoville are permanently etched in my brain. I remembered them before I even turned the page this time around. My daughter asked for over and over, and we talked about different characters in the book and why they did what they did.
The Cat in the Hat, was only a slight disappointment. It is good, but it doesn’t live up to some of the other titles Seuss put out. My daughter didn’t ask for this one as much as the others.
Sneeches and Other Stories was a hit. The machines that take stars on and off mesmerized my daughter, and the dejected looks on the plain belly sneetches is something that all kids feel at some point. We read and talked about that story very often, and I love the message within. Even the monkey that takes advantage of the sneetches is fodder for thought. However, it was What Was I Scared Of? story that was the blast from the past. I had completely forgotten about this story with the empty green pants, but the second page illustration with empty pale green pants walking down the path in the moonlight opened up a synapse and released memories from their cage of time. Wow!
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories similarly captured my daughter’s imagination. My daughter often states she wants to be a princess, and my stock reply that goes into how royalty make their money in unfair ways just doesn’t make a dent in the billion dollar princess industry. Yertle, however, very eloquently shows how being king comes at the cost of all the others just like you. The turtles had to suffer greatly for Yertle to be great, and a burp dislodged him from his high seat.
As usual, my wife and I were asked to read and reread these books seemingly without break. Seuss rhymes are infectious, and soon I was just talking like that when emerging from a marathon reading session. Time to send them back to the library for a rest.