Saturday, March 3, 2007

Horray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1st ed edition (April 20, 1998)
  • ISBN-10: 0679890084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679890089
  • I finished this book on Mar. 1.
So, first off, I'm a little late getting this one in. However, I think it's important to note that yesterday (March 2) marked Dr. Seuss' 102 birthday (were he alive) and the 50th anniversary of one of his most popular books, The Cat in the Hat.
Onto the story: this is actually a book that Seuss began writing a long time before he died, but never quite finished. He'd left behind a good deal of pages, sketches and snippets of the rhyme. His managers and family really wanted to release it because it had been important to Seuss. So, they enlisted the help of famous children's poet Jack Prelutsky and children's book illustrator Lane Smith. Smith illustrated Seen Art, that I read a while back, and approximately a million other things in his distinct and somewhat unattractive style.
So, anyway, they took this skeleton of a story and Mr. Prelutsky filled in the poetry, which he did in a distinctly Seussian and pleasing style, and Mr. Smith illustrated it using some of Seuss' illustrations in the collages. While it's not as pleasing to read a Dr. Seuss that has no Seuss pictures it was still a cute and fairly long tale about a unique school. The book discusses the importance of teaching kids to learn rather than teaching them only what is included in standardized tests. It's clear that Seuss had a love and respect for teachers and little love for standardized tests, because really, who does.
The story was long enough to be a good read aloud, and not so long that kids would get antsy. There are plenty of good old Seuss made up crazy words to say and that's always a plus, because I heart made-up words. After the book there is also an interesting section including many of Seuss' original sketches and prose, telling how they adapted the material.
While not the full Seuss experience it is still worth your time. Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

1 comment:

Dave said...

Being a bit of a teaching geek, this is one of my favorite books!