I loved Dr Seuss books as a kid. And now that I am all grown up and have kids of my own, they are also Dr Seuss fans. As I live in enemy territory as far as language is concerned, here in Paris there is about ZERO literature for kids in English and naturally at the French schools, there is no English until almost high school. There are no reputable English-French schools in my neighborhood and the reputable ones are also extravagantly expensive and on the rich sides of the city so at least for the moment, that is out of the question. Which leads me back to Seuss. It is a signpost in my desperate battle for guaranteeing to my kids a minimum of English in the hopes that they will not have a huge French accent once they start speaking in my native tongue. Anyway, here are some quick reviews of my favorites – and more importantly – my kids favorites.
And to Think that I saw it on Mulberry Street Marvin spins a wonderful tale for his dad when he gets home from school turning minnows into whales. I remember the pictures from when I was a kid and now can appreciate the way the story encourages imagination – even if the dad is kind of a wet blanket at the end.
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish My kid knows almost all the rhymes in this one already. It has some classic Seussian creatures – my favorite is the Clark that the kids found in the park. I think I’d freak if my kids brought one of those home!
The Cat in the Hat At first, with his big French accent, I couldn’t understand my kid asking for “le chat in da at” but I soon deduced it. This story about making a major mess and then cleaning it up before mom gets home is beyond a classic. And still a favorite for my son. I heard there was even a part 2…
Green Eggs and Ham Oh that Sam I am always slogging those green eggs and ham around. And the way he insists! I suppose that after a train wreck into a boat with goats and foxes and lots of other onlookers – plus Sam on my ass, I’d probably try ‘em too. But not sure I’d like ‘em. Even in a box…
Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You Moo Too? I think this is the first one I read to my son because of all the onomatopoeias in it. It is so much fun to say Klopp klopp dippity dopp. And I could go on…a must.
There’s a Wocket in my Pocket and that Jertain in the curtain better start paying his rent or he’ll get thrown down to the cellar with the Gellars! Another wonderful play on words and sounds that my kid adores.
Dr Seuss’s ABC I insist on this one at least once every two weeks to get the alphabet front and center for my son. I think his favorite is Rosie’s Red Rhinoceros but then the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz is also pretty neat :)
Oh The Thinks You Can Think This one is kind of a follow on to (and a little less amazing than) One Fish Two Fish. But it is still fun – the graphics are amazing and Escherian.
Yurtle the Turtle and Other Stories This one probably requires a five year old to fully grasp the lessons about pride that are inherent in the mile-high Yurtle, the far-sighted worm and that silly long-tailed bird. But it is still fun to read and one day will probably help me to explain a lesson…
Horton Hears a Who This one is also probably more of a 6- to 7-year old story but I’ll freely admit that I loved the movie!
[Drum roll please] and my favorite – and my son’s favorite – is:
The Lorax Now who would have thought that Seuss back in the 60’s would have already been concerned about the destruction of the environment – so much so that he wrote this incredible and addictive story (asked for by my son two to three times a week). My kid is always asking me about the Once-ler “Why can’t we see his body? Why did he make the Barba-loots go away? Why did he cut down the Truffula tree? What is a Thneed?” The lessons are so simple and yet so subtle here – and it is great on so many different levels. The Thneed question makes me almost blush because I have so many thneeds (iPhone, iPad, Mac, Cinema Display, PS3, etc). Who else would have thought of such a perfect word like thneeds. Or sluppity slupp and gloopity gloop. Tonight my son wanted me to show him a Whisper-ma-phone and to hear a snargley voice. What can I say? It is a story that I can STRONGLY recommend to anyone reading this blog and especially to the kids of my readers. I just hope that the UNLESS will be applicable to the generation after ours with our Valdeses and Fukushimas…of course are not directly the fault of our generation but then our generation hasn’t really made headway in preventing these disasters either.
I just hope that I don’t glow in the dark as I walk through the grickle grass eating humming fish sushi.