Sunday, February 27, 2011

An all time favorite childhood book: The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

"Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches Had Bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars."

Many of us were blessed to grow up with Dr. Seuss books on our childhood bookshelves and in our grade school classrooms. By the same token, I think it's safe to say that we each have our own favorite. My favorite has always been The Sneetches and Other Stories, a compilation of four imaginative, witty, (and, of course, even silly) Seuss stories that I know by heart. 

Seuss knew how to make children love reading and have fun reading a story over and over, reciting the rhymes and marveling at the original characters that came from Seuss' mind. What's even more memorable are the timeless lessons Dr. Seuss teaches us about friendship, family, acceptance, and believing in oneself.  

The Star-Belly Sneetches and the Plain-Belly Sneetches had a lot to learn about accepting themselves and others for who they are, and I had a lot to learn about not changing myself just to be like everyone else. The stubborn North- and South-Going Zax taught me a valuable lesson about paving my own way without trampling in the way of others journeying around me; the world continues on and grows around them in their prideful impasse when all it takes is a single step to the side to mo ve on with their tracks. The "cautionary tale" of "Too Many Daves" is a fantastic example of the skill we all know Seuss for: rhyming with absurd, hilarious (often made-up) words:

"...And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of the Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. and one Sunny Jim.
And one of the Shadrock. And one of them Blinkey.
And one of the Stuffy. And one of them Stinkey."

And finally, in the story "What was I scared of?" the narrator finds that a spooky pair of pale green pants ("with nobody inside them!") is not following and haunting him, but crossing his path by accident, just as afraid of the narrator as the narrator is afraid of the pair of pants. In the end, the narrator overcomes his fear and he and the pale green pants become friends with one another. For a shy kid like myself, I gleaned from this story that I wasn't the only girl afraid to make friends with new people; all I needed to do was say "Hi" and smile to make a new friend.

If you have not read this set of stories for yourself or for your little ones, I suggest you add it to your to-read list and enjoy it on your next trip to the library or bookstore!

So what's your Seuss favorite?

5Q: You honestly cannot find a set of stories more original and well-written than those of Dr. Seuss. The stories are easy to read and they provide a lot of life lessons and teachable literary elements.
5P: What child (or adult, for that matter) doesn't love a Dr. Seuss book??? It's sure to be a hit :)

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