Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Doctor Is In

Last night at bedtime, my son asked me to read "Yertle the Turtle" to him. I do so love to read those stories out loud. There are dozens of them, and I am hard pressed to pick a favorite, but I suppose if I was left to recite just one of them over and over, it would probably be "The Grinch."
"All the Whos down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Whoville did not." -How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
A lot of the resonance of that story comes from the animated special, directed by Chuck Jones. Narrated by Boris Karloff, the leering and snarling finally gives way to the promise of a morning full of Whos singing. "And what happened then...? Who-ville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day!" I read that each year to my fourth grade class. I don't know if they like it, but it sure does the trick for me.
I'm also a fan of "The Sleep Book." It's one of those treats from childhood that is still as much fun to read and look at when you're reading it to your kid as it was to have it read to you. Likewise the breakfast staple, "Scrambled Eggs Super!" or the often overlooked "If I Ran The Circus" with its daredevil "Old Sneelock."
Then there's one sentimental favorite that I don't read aloud so much. "Oh The Places You'll Go" was a present to me from my father when I graduated from college. If you read this book, you'll know more about resiliency than Dr. Phil.
There are a few Seuss books that I steer clear of. I'm not especially fond of either of the "Horton" books, and the Sneetches seem just a little preachy (rhymes with Sneetchy). I'm impressed with the artistic exercise of working within the limitations of using only 222 common words to create the anarchy of "Cat In The Hat." Seuss went one better with "Green Eggs and Ham," which uses just fifty words. The good Doctor's publisher, Bennett Cerf, bet him fifty dollars that he couldn't do it. There is no record of whether or not the wager was ever paid off.
Here's another wager: Read "The Lorax" to a five year old. I'll bet you both have a great time.


haywagon said...

When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles... they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.

Anonymous said...

May your biggle ball always go plup in the cup!