Fifty! How Nifty!
Fifty years ago today, one day before his 53rd birthday, writer/cartoonist Theodore Geisel - under his much more famous nom de plume of Dr. Seuss, published "The Cat In The Hat". That book, and the many other works of brilliance from Geisel's wonderfully twisted imagination, were shining gems that did as much for young readers of the past two generations, as the Harry Potter series is now doing for the (slightly older) young readers of today.
I absolutely lived and breathed Dr. Seuss when I was a kid. When my youngest decided she was too big for her "baby books", I would not let her get rid of any Seuss, and they now occupy a place of honor on my closet's nostalgia shelf.
I remember reading this particular book to two-year-old Aaron so many times that we both knew it by heart, cover to cover. I haven't opened it in several years but I could probably still recite most of it from memory. With the generation gap what it is, there aren't too many cultural artifacts that gave me tremendous joy both as a child and as a parent. The Dr. Seuss books are among those few.
Though I loved any of them I could get my hands on, my childhood favorites (I'll keep it to seven) were:
- The Cat In The Hat Comes Back: Gotta love that "Voom" stuff!
- Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book: I still remember my own favorite page, my mom's favorite, and my dad's.
- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish: "Look what we found in the park in the dark..." Gave me chills, and still does.
- Hop On Pop: Doesn't Mr. Black look chassidic?
- Fox In Socks: Oh did we have fun with this one. I dare anybody to read the "Luke Luck" page fast!
- Horton Hatches The Egg: The best mussar book I ever read, and the only fun one.
- The King's Stilts: Not in verse, or as well-known as the others, but a story that enthralled me from day one.