Thursday, March 3, 2011Posted by Sandra Robbins at 12:00 AM
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss, celebrated his 107th birthday yesterday. The man who did so much for children’s literature was born on March 2, 1904. Each year educators hold celebrations in classrooms all across America to honor the renowned author. For years the National Education Association has been a sponsor of this event in hopes that every child on that day will be able to read in the presence of a caring adult.
As a former educator, I have always appreciated the influence that Dr. Seuss has had on children. If you are a mother as I am, however, I imagine you have had your moments that you dreaded reading a Dr. Seuss book to your child. His wacky characters and rhyming words that appeal to children can drive a parent to distraction because one read-through is never enough. Once through only brings a plea to read it “one more time.” How many times did I read Green Eggs and Ham or The Cat in the Hat only to find myself turning back to the beginning for another romp through Dr. Seuss’s book?
Horton Hatches the Egg, Yertle the Turtle, The Lorax, How the Grinch Stole Christmas—are just a few more of the marvelous books that have captivated generations of children. Not only do the stories appeal to children, but they deliver a message for adults as well.
Where else can we find such a lesson in dedication to duty as Horton the elephant who sits on the Mayzie bird’s nest while she flies off to parts unknown? Or the Grinch’s realization that Christmas is more than gifts? And who can disagree with Dr. Seuss’s reminder in Oh, The Places You’ll Go—“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
Yes, I love Dr. Seuss’s books, and I’m happy that his creative mind gave us characters that seem to grow better with age. The following are a few of his quotes. Although they were written years ago, they still serve as valuable lessons we can teach our children.
“A person's a person, no matter how small.”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.”
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.”
“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”
And then there’s my favorite:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Join me in wishing a happy 107th birthday to an author whose last book published in 1990 still sells over 300,000 copies a year.
I couldn't end this post without asking you about Dr. Seuss. What are your favorite Dr. Seuss books?