As we near Dr. Seuss’ birthday which is March 2, I thought it would be interested to do a little research into his life and learn more about the man who has shaped my life and whose beloved stories are now shaping my kids lives. Each Dr. Seuss story holds a special place in my heart for various reasons. Dr. Seuss’ ABC book is the first book I read to my oldest when she was only a few days old. We would read it every night until she was about 2. She had heard it so much that she begin to recite it as I read it aloud to her. Green eggs and ham reminds me of being a kid and hanging out with my cousins who insisted over a sleep over that we eat green eggs and ham and I remember thinking “how is my aunt going to pull this one off”. Well thankfully for food coloring none of us got sick from moldy eggs (that was the only green I could think of at the time) and that memory has stuck with me to this day. I think though out of all his children’s books, Horton Hears a Who! has to be my favorite. I hadn’t read it until I was quite a bit older-maybe a preteen but I remember I couldn’t get through it without tearing up. That is the magic of Dr. Seuss. He was able to convey deep meaning through his silly rhymes and images. I think that is the talent of any good comedienne. I was amazed to learn through reading about him that Dr. Seuss actually drew many racist cartoons representing Japanese people in an unsavory way. It was actually Horton Hears a Who! which he wrote to reflect his change of heart about the Japanese. In fact, in the book there are many references to World War 2:
“This,” cried the Mayor, “is your town’s darkest hour!
The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
To come to the aid of their country!” he said.
We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”
So fascinating to learn about the deeper meaning behind a book I know I have read over 100 times. I don’t think I will ever read it the same way after learning about how even Dr. Seuss could be taught a lesson in human kindness.
Some interesting facts about Dr. Seuss I also learned:
- We’ve all been mispronoucing his name for years! It actually rhymes with ‘voice’, so ‘Zoyce’ rather than ‘Zeus’ Okay this is bigger than the Bernstein/Bernstain Bears scandal.
- He collected hats and when he had writers block he would often go into his closet full of hats and put them on to help him think. So he really did have a thinking cap-or 100!
- His first Book Green Eggs and Ham was banned in China because it portrayed early Marxism. This boy just couldn’t stay away from politics huh?
Well that’s it for now. How will you celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday? My daughter will be celebrating at school tomorrow with a “Wacky Day” where they get to dress up all fun and crazy.