No American childhood would be complete without reading Dr. Seuss’s famous book The Cat in the Hat. Hollywood has taken to turning Dr. Seuss’s simple children’s books into movies – but as with most movies, the books are better.
The Cat in the Hat tells the story of a boy and his sister, left alone at home while their mother runs errands. It’s raining, they’re bored, until suddenly the Cat in the Hat bursts into their house. He thinks of all sorts of good games they can play and even brings playmates, Thing One and Thing Two. The children are horrified by what the Cat in the Hat is doing to their house, and finally the boy captures the Things and kicks them out. As the children survey the mess, they’re shocked again when the Cat in the Hat waltzes back in the door to help clean it up.
I particularly love the ending of the book, when their mother comes in and asks, “What did you do today?”
Dr. Suess (pen name for Theodor Geisel) was a prolific author, writing dozens of rhyming books. Some are for young readers/listeners, like Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss’s ABC, even The Cat in the Hat. Others he wrote specifically for adults to read aloud to children, such as The Lorax, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. His titles are so numerous, I cannot include them all here.
Parents and children alike will enjoy reading these books aloud, whatever the title. Dr. Seuss excelled in rhyming and rhythm, and in creating fantastical words and creatures. And most of his stories teach lessons in a fun way – try new foods, you might like them (Green Eggs and Ham); Christmas is not about the presents (How the Grinch Stole Christmas); always keep your word, no matter what (Horton Hatches an Egg).
You may wonder why I include Dr. Seuss’s books as good books for high school age. These books help people of all ages develop an ear for rhythm and rhyming. They are also a great example of creativity and imagination, plus the messages of his books speak to older children (and adults) as well as younger children. I received Oh, The Places You’ll Go as a gift when I graduated from college – and greatly enjoyed it.