I have a vivid memory from when I was four of looking at this book and watching the letters all come together. All of a sudden they weren’t just abstract symbols, they were concrete sounds that made words, and sentences – and sense. They made sense, all at once.
The story was King Looie Katz by Dr. Seuss. And reading was just the first gift he gave me.
Since today is his birthday (He would be 108 is he were still alive) I thought I’d celebrate by sharing a few of the other gifts Dr. Seuss gave me over the years.
From King Looie Katz I learned to carry my own tail, and to expect others to do the same.
From The Zax I learned that being too stubborn is self-defeating and that a small compromise can allow everyone to move forward.
From The Sneetches I learned that in the end it doesn’t matter who has stars upon thars. Behind all the superficial crap, we’re all the best sneetches on the beaches. (High school being the one exception – but high school is short, and kids would do well to remember that.)
From Horton Hears a Who I learned that a person’s a person, no matter how small. (Or how different)
From Bartholomew and the Oobleck I learned to appreciate what I have, and not to trust chanting wizards.
From How the Grinch Stole Christmas I learned that the holidays are about friendship and family. Oh, and how to turn my basset hound into a basselope.
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! taught me about the amazing world of books, and all the wonderful things I’d one day find inside them, but only if I kept my eyes (and mind) open.
And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street showed me that I was not the only natural-born tall-tale-teller. There were other bards out there.
Green Eggs and Ham taught me that it was less painful to try new things than listen to a fuzzy monster spout annoying rhymes at you all day long.
From The Cat in the Hat I learned that if you’re prone to making big messes in the name of fun, it’s a good idea to keep some helpers around for when it comes time to clean up.
On Beyond Zebra showed me that language is supposed to be fun and world expanding.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! taught me that life was what I made it – exciting, dangerous, fulfilling, or terribly boring and dull. I could make it great, or I could sit and wait, and wait, and wait…
I learned from The Lorax that people are basically greedy, and that kids know more than we give them credit for, and that we really should pay more attention to the environment – it’s a limited resource.
And last, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! reminded me that I was always free to dream, to think, to explore and that no one could ever take my imagination away.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. Thanks for everything!
*What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book? And what did he teach you about life? Answer in the comments!*