Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!- 20 Seussisms- Read Across America

Have some cake or maybe even some green eggs and ham to celebrate because today is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss ( it is also Bon Jovi's birthday but that's a whole other blog post.....).  Also the NEA has proclaimed March 2 - Read Across America Day. So although virtual learning and the iPod serve a vast variety of purposes, nothing beats the smell of a brand new book or the musty smell of a well loved book pulled from an old toy box. So go find a child, heck, borrow one if need be, and take a few minutes to lose yourself in the depths of imagination that can be coaxed from your stodgy old brain that is crammed too full of all the realities from everyday life.

"You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."

Theodor Seuss Geisel (pronounced /ˈɡaɪzəl/; March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991) was an American writer and cartoonist most widely known for his children's books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone.

In May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children, which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. Accordingly, William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin who later became its Chairman, compiled a list of 348 words he felt were important for first-graders to recognize and asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words. Spaulding challenged Geisel to "bring back a book children can't put down."  Nine months later, Geisel, using 236 of the words given to him, completed The Cat in the Hat. This book was described as a tour de force by some reviewer-—it retained the drawing style, verse rhythms, and all the imaginative power of Geisel's earlier works, but because of its simplified vocabulary could be read by beginning readers. 
On October 23, 1967, suffering from a long struggle with illnesses including cancer, as well as emotional pain over her husband's affair with Audrey Stone Dimond, Geisel's wife, Helen Palmer Geisel, committed suicide. Geisel married Audrey on June 21, 1968. Though he devoted most of his life to writing children's books, Geisel had no children of his own. He would say, when asked about this, "You have 'em; I'll entertain 'em."

I was a little dismayed to read about Geisel and that he was in fact a mere mortal with flaws just like everyone. For some reason it just seemed he was bigger than life and the perfect "dad-like" figure. I still love many of the quotes that have been pulled from his writing and a few of the 'seussisms" that I love the most are:
  1. A person's a person, no matter how small.
  2. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.
  3. Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.
  4. From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.
  5. Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
  6. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.
  7. If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.
  8. I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent.
  9. So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.
  10. And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.
  11. Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
  12. All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you'll be quite a lot. - Dr. Seuss
  13. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
  14. Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
  15. Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!
  16. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
  17. I'm afraid sometimes you'll play lonely games too, games you can't win because you'll play against you
  18. I'm sorry to say so but, sadly it's true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you
  19. From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.
  20. I know up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down at the bottom we, too, should have rights. 

 For more information and a little bit of seusstastic fun visit the seussville site.

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