Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Posted Feb 26, 2020

Shorewood Library’s annual Seuss Celebration returns Saturday February 29.  Festivities kick off at 10:30 a.m. with a Celebrity Read-In.  This year’s Celebrity cast includes Author/Illustrator Andy Rash, ComedySportz’s Amanda Stellberg and Michael Kittelson, and ComedySportz and Brew City Wrestler David Wortz. Then we will enjoy Seuss-tastical snacks, crafts, and games like Pin the Mustache on the Lorax and Green Egg Golf.  Balloons, tattoos and a prize drawing will add to the fun.

Why such a big bash? Generations of young readers have grown up with his work. Dr. Seuss has done more to promote the love of reading than any other author of children’s books. The man was as colorful as the characters he created. Theodore Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. During his lifetime he worked in film, advertising, as a cartoonist, and finally as a children’s book author. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was published in 1937 after being rejected more than 25 times.  Altogether, he wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books.  His books have been translated into more than 20 languages and turned into hit movies. He won the Caldecott Honor medal, Pulitzer Prize, three Academy Awards, and the adoration of generations of young readers.

Some of Dr. Seuss’s most popular books were written in response to a challenge.  Publisher Bennett Cerf blamed the decline in American children’s reading skills on the quality of books given to young children. If Johnny couldn’t read it was because following Dick and Jane and seeing Spot run weren’t igniting a passion for books. Cerf knew that Dr. Seuss understood children learn best through play. He challenged Seuss to create a book kids couldn’t put down using only 220 basic vocabulary words. The result – The Cat in the Hat (1957) – was a blockbuster hit. The next challenge – Could he do it again with 50 words or less? The answer was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1959) and Green Eggs and Ham (1960). Dr. Seuss wanted kids and their parents to do more than just read. He wanted them to think about the world we live in. In books like The Lorax, The Sneetches, and Butter Battle Book, he used his familiar quirky characters, clever rhymes, and sharp stories to explore how we treat each other and the world we live in.

Decades later his stories still ring true. Who – young or old - hasn’t been tempted to bend the rules when their mother (or father, teacher, boss) is out?  Who hasn’t stubbornly refused to try something new or different, then realized how wrong they were?  His characters, from kind-hearted Horton to the mischievous Cat in the Hat to the cantankerous Grinch, still delight us.  His books still make us think and feel and laugh.

So Remember the 29th is the day

We will read and play the Dr. Seuss way.

Hear local stars read Dr. Seuss rhymes

And that’s just the start of the fun funny times.

Make a Seuss-tastical craft, get a “Catty” tattoo,

See some old friends like Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Play some seuss-mendus games if you wish,

Like Green Eggs Golf or Catch a Seuss fish.

Have a green snack and some pink yink ink drink

It doesn’t end there, if that’s what you think.

With all of this fun, there will be more surprises,

A few of our guests will even win prizes.

Best of all, it will cost you no money.

Just come and have good fun that is funny.

See you Saturday 29th!

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