Would You Tell Your Mother? . . .

04Mar10

I didn’t get the chance to write this March 2nd, the anniversary of Theodore Seuss Geisel’s birth, but I guess I ought to today.

If you never did, you should.

These things are fun, and fun is good.

I can rap The Cat in The Hat . . . and Green Eggs and Ham can become creepy if you say “Would you . . . in a box?” in just the right way. An I’m not the only one with weird Dr. Seuss stuff. Most parents have Dr. Seuss stories like that, because not only do you read all the Dr. Seuss books to your kids, you read them over and over again. The language . . . those delicious anapests . . . are rhythmic and inviting; the verbal version of being held and rocked. And he’s funny, with humor that invites both kids and adults to share.

Why do kids love the stories repeated and repeated and repeated . . .? Part of it certainly is the familiar feel of parents’ arms, their smell and the sound of their voices saying the familiar comforting words, but there must be more, I think. With fairy tales and stories like the Cat in the Hat, children keep asking for the tale as long as it speaks to them, as long as it rehearses some important situation or addresses some important thing in their lives.

So . . . why do I have Dr. Seuss’s ABC book memorized?

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