Reading & Writing: Dr. Seuss

Fiction

Writing The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat contains 1,626 words (source). Reportedly, Theodor Geisel thought he could write it in a couple weeks. It ended up taking him “a year and a half” (source).

Just something to think about.

reading

How to Read Dr. Seuss

You know, I’m really not a Dr. Seuss fan. It really isn’t his fault, except for the creepy way he illustrates feet. Mostly I blame the people that read his work aloud, because 99% of them read his rhymes in that ploddy, sing-song voice that is worse than the sound of two pieces of Styrofoam grating against each other. Take this page, for example:

(From Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac)

Some people read it like they are learning to drive a stick for the first time:

Putmedown said the FISH

Thisisnofunat ALL

Putmedown said the FISH

Idonotwishto FALL

And then there’s those who read like first-year poetry students, trying to guess the meter:

Putme DOWN saidthe FISH

Thisis NO funat ALL

Putme DOWN saidthe FISH

Ido NOT wantto FALL

Just a note to readers of verse: inflect the words like a normal person. Just because something is written in meter doesn’t mean you should read it like you are sitting on a galloping horse. Ignore the rhyming words and line breaks and read it like a narrator during the narration, and an actor during dialogue.

“Put me dooooown!”

said the fish.

“This is no fun at all. Put. Me. Down!”

said the fish.

“I do NOT wish to FALL!”

Actors and actresses interpret dialogue differently, so each reader should read aloud differently. If you find yourself reading like the first two examples, break the habit, give yourself some credit as a reader, and have some fun with the reading!

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