Theodore Geisel, the man known as Seuss
Rode in to town, not in a caboose.
His pen was his sword,
A new type of bard
In to the hearts of all children, he wrote and he wrote
Then to the hearts of their children, without missing a note.
While I may be no Dr. Seuss, you get the idea. He was the man that made us think we all could be poets by just rhyming one word with another. “Today I ate an orange. Tomorrow I will eat a… wait… what rhymes with orange?” He published 46 children’s books from Horton Hears a Who to Green Eggs and Ham to Horton Hatches an Egg. Truthfully, Horton is the busiest elephant since Dumbo. Dr. Seuss was simply a hero among men as the world’s first “nerd” that was not afraid to throw a raging party or adult word here and there.
How did it all start? 1954 was the year. Legend has it that Geisel’s publisher read a report on illiteracy among children due to boring books. He decided to challenge Geisel to write a book kids would want to read using only 250 words. Using 30 words less, the world was given The Cat in the Hat. As if this was not enough, the next challenge was for 50 words or less (for perspective, there are 102,092 words in the first book of the Hunger Games Trilogy). The ink on the next book was not even dry, but suddenly like a match struck to a dry forest, the world was ablaze with Seuss fever, Sam I Am. Dr. Seuss was not afraid to attack the tough issues from racism to eating disorders (Reference: Green Eggs and Ham Tebowing).
It’s fitting that today is also Read Across America day. According to the US Department of Education and a survey they completed in 2009, the US ranked statistically ahead of only 13 of 33 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. While it was virtually tied with a number of the remaining countries, there were still 6 countries whose students could read better than those in America. Throughout the globe, girls routinely scored better than boys in reading ability. Come on guys. Get it together everybody. It is just like riding a bike. I wonder what Dr. Seuss would think if he still saw one of the strongest countries in the globe unable to teach its children with the most effectiveness one of the most basic skills in a developed society. Maybe it would inspire him to write another 46 books with a total of only 25 words.
Reading is very important and I hope for Read Across America Day everyone was able to at least pick up a newspaper or read a couple pages from a book. I read through nearly 200 pages while finishing off the second book of the Hunger Games Trilogy. You have my permission to judge me, but they are a pretty enjoyable read. Reading is so much more about the words on a page. It is about the ability to transport a person to a new world from the comfort of a chair. It is about to teach you about a topic that you would have never learned about on your own. Most importantly, is it about the ability to inspire a new level of dreaming in a person. Remember, having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.
Inspiration is where I direct this entry next. Originally for Friday’s holidays, I was going to sneak in to a book store, record the pages of a Dr. Seuss book, and create a video using different online translators to read from the pages in the book. After working on this for a few hours and being generally unmoved and bored with my results (view my half finished, choppy attempt here), I wondered not what inspiration Dr. Seuss had inspired in me but what inspiration he had inspired in others. A quick Youtube search led me to some of these examples. There are so many more out there. The question for Dr. Seuss Day and Read Across America day is truthfully how has reading and an author inspired you and what can we do, like Dr. Seuss, to make sure that the same blessing that reading has given us can be passed on to the far too many of us that still cannot read. Try answering that in 50 words or less.
Dr. Seuss Inspired Videos:
- What I originally attempted done much better
- A Girl’s College Thesis. The first half of this video is pretty awesome. The second half… well… it is definitely more international.
- A Guy, with what seems to be a fake accent, trying to inspire people under 25 by reciting a Dr. Seuss book at the camera. Crack on!
- The Dr. Seuss Bible – enough said
- For the sweet tooth in us all, Dr. Seuss Inspired Cakes