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HALL OF FAMEon December 4, 2000
Dr. Seuss was one of those rare creative geniuses who both entertained us and challenged us to open our minds. "The Cat in the Hat" is an indispensable part of the Seuss canon. A bizarre blending of Seuss's trademark illustrations with an eerily Kafkaesque plot, "Cat" will delight both children and adults.
The plot is simple: The narrator, a small boy, is left home on a rainy day with his sister Sally. But their boring day is interrupted by the Cat in the Hat, a weirdly anthropomorphic, talking feline who proceeds to turn their house into a chaotic playground. The illustrations--think Salvador Dali meets Beatrix Potter--are marvelous.
This book is simple enough for beginning readers, yet full of subtle touches that could keep an army of literary critics and psychologists busy analyzing it for decades. And that is the brilliance of Dr. Seuss. Buy a copy of the book for your favorite child, buy a second for your favorite adult, and keep a third for yourself.
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Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back was one of her picks.
The theme of this story builds from The Cat in the Hat. In that story, two children are home alone when the cat in the hat visits, makes a horrible mess, and manages to clean it all up just as mother returns. Although the family fish warned them about the cat, the children were gullible.
In this story, the children are not gullible, but the cat takes advantage of them anyway. The children are home alone shoveling deep snow while their mother is away in town for the day. The cat in the hat goes into the house before they can stop him, and eats cake in the bath tub while bathing. They told him to get out and pulled the plug. Unfortunately, that left a long pink cat ring. A contrite, but overconfident, cat in the hat says he'll take care of everything. But he just moves the pink mess from one valuable object to another, starting with mother's white dress. He is a very foolish cat!
Soon, he needs help. In his hat are 26 little cats from A to Z who are specialists at cleaning up the messes he just made. Eventually, the outside snow is so covered in pink spots so that the whole yard is one big spot! Then he calls on Z who is too small to see, and Z finishes the job. Everything is back in order.
This beginning reader is also designed to help with the alphabet. Long before the book can be read by your child, the alphabet sequence will be helpful. The book is moe difficult to read than The Cat in the Hat, so your child will probably not attempt it unless and until that book is mastered.
There are many subtle messages here that any parent can endorse. One, you have to be careful about letting people in your house. Although the cat in the hat is not sinister, children need to understand that lesson in a nonfrightening way. Two, if you know someone is a troublemaker, you'd better keep them away from mischief. Children are very accepting of mischievous children who set bad examples. This gives you a chance to praise the good behavior of the children while questioning the appropriateness of the cat's behavior. What else could the children have done? They will have this issue with friends in years to come. Three, the smallest cat is the most powerful. That's a rare voice in favor of examining people and animals for their worth in effectiveness rather than their size. Diminutive children will like this part. Four, by being persistent in dealing with the cat, everything turns out all right. Children need to learn that persistence can overcome adversity. Five, thinking ahead can save a lot of problems. If the children had given the cat some paper towels in the beginning or knew how to wash out a bath tub themselves, the complications would have been minor. As you read the story together, you can emphasize these lessons to help your child.
When you are both done with the book, you should discuss how problems can be prevented by anticipation. This is a good way to help your child's problem-solving ability mature.
Enjoy!
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HALL OF FAMEon December 4, 2000
Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" is one of the great classics of children's literature. I'm sure that a less daring author would have left well enough alone. But the good Dr. Seuss had the nerve to write a sequel! And, I'm happy to say, "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" matches the subversive lunacy and imaginative wit of the Cat's first adventure.
The story begins with our narrator, the same little boy from the original "Cat," shoveling snow with his sister Sally. And, as in the first book, the Cat in the Hat arrives to turn their dull day topsy-turvy.
But this is no retread of the first book. The wily Cat has some new tricks to share, and some new friends to introduce to us. Little Cat A, Little Cat B, and the rest--including some brilliant surprises--are wonderful additions to the "Cat" mythos.
As in the original, the book has some unsettling nuances. Why are these kids home alone? Just what is that bizarre pink substance in the bathtub? But leave it to the psychologists and literary critics to debate the possible hidden meanings of the book; kids will enjoy the delightful rhymes and wacky illustrations. Congratulations, Dr. Seuss: you have shown that the sequel to a classic can be just as excellent as the beloved original!
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Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. The Cat in the Hat was one of her picks.
I have always thought of this book as a metaphor for the sort of "make believe" thinking that children like to do and are good at. The setting is a cold rainy day, and the children's mother isn't home. I have always transformed that into they are playing in their room while their mother is busy elsewhere in the house. Suddenly, a mysterious cat arrives who can do remarkable jugging (until he drops everything) and brings in a fun box (with two little creatures who fly kites). A parental voice, however, is always present in the form of the children's fish who constantly warns them to get rid of the cat in the hat.
Suddenly, the mother is spotted about to reenter the house. The children are panic-stricken. The house is a mess! What to do? They are obviously about to be really in for it. I can feel the adrenaline rushing even now as I remember similar situations with friends as a child.
But then, the cat in the hat returns with a miraculous device which cleans everything up! And then he is gone, just as their mother steps in. She asks, "Did you have any fun? Tell me. What did you do?" The two children don't know what to say. They ask you what you would do if your mother asked you.
The ending is wonderful because it sets up a wonderful opportunity to talk about the story. Would the child let in the cat in the hat? Would the child ask the cat in the hat to leave and when? Was the fish correct in warning the children? What are the other reasons not to let strangers in? Why should you tell your mother if things go awry, or not? In the course of the discussion, fears that the story probably raises can be dealt with in a constructive way that reduces fear in the future and improves communication in the family. Most children have these kinds of fears, but aren't usually willing to bring them up. So the book gives you the excuse to work on improving their security.
This is one of the more difficult Dr. Seuss books for beginning readers, so you'll be reading this one to your child for a while. The appeal to the child is very much in the idea of playing unrestrained in the house. Almost no child is allowed to do that, and the consequences are pretty funny for the child if they are happening to someone else.
If you want to see the earliest versions of the cat in the hat character, be sure to see Dr. Seuss Goes to War which documents his work as a political cartoonist in World War II.
Then, encourage your child to use the book to come up with her or his own ideas about fun things to do as make-believe on a rainy day. Can they imagine a more fun make-believe visitor than the cat in the hat? What would the visitor do? If you ask these questions, you will extend your child's imagination now and for a lifetime.
Enjoy for the rest of your life!
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VINE VOICEon October 25, 1999
I loved this as a kid, and I love it now. It's not politically correct like much childrens' literature today--and that's its charm. The children are not naughty, but they certainly get themselves into a pickle with the Id-like cat who cheerfully enters their home and wreakes havoc while their mother is out for the afternoon. Would that the Id were always so congenial! The house gets wrecked, but the cat can clean up as fast as he can make a mess, and by the time mom gets home, everything's back to normal. The last line in the book is best of all: "What would you do if your mother asked you?" No moralizing here--just a simple question. This is children's literature with a capital L....buy it for your kids, buy it for yourself if you're "all growed up."
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I could not not review this book
I could not let it be forsook
for on this day was Geisel born
that we should not be so forlorn

What would I do without the cat?
Where would I be without the hat?
I do not know, I can not say
I wouldn't want to see that day

For in this book, so short and sweet
is such, for all, a great big treat
The cat of mischief, cat of wise
Cat with gleaming knowing eyes

And of the hat!
What's up with that?
Where did those stripes come from?
Yes I know

Poor grammar, oh,
I'm really not that dum!

I would the world would know the cat
I hope the world will wear the hat
Can such a book be left alone?
Can such a tale be overblown?

I thinkest not, I thought antiquely
For this is writing most uniquely
And such will never come again
To grace the page with such a pen

To give us such unbridled joy
To please and, yes, and to annoy
But in the end to satisfy
With merriment and laughing sigh

For on this day we give our thanks
For treasure that is not in banks
But on the printed page before us
Thank you, oh dear Dr. Seuss!

------------------------

I wrote this in honour of Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, on the anniversary of his birthday. Using a vocabulary of a mere 223 words, 'The Cat in the Hat' has become a standard children's classic throughout the English-speaking world. I remember as a child delighting at the discovery of rhyming words and what fun they could be, and when coupled with the imaginative drawings and simple yet engaging plot lines, Dr. Seuss became my favourite almost instantly.

The plot of 'The Cat in the Hat' is simple yet meaningful. A cat, a perfect creature for exhibiting independence and mischief, is befriended by children who express delight, astonishment, and occasional disapproval of their be-hatted feline. Children learn behaviour in a humourous and touching way by relating to the children.

However, all of Seussian literature was almost not to be. Geisel had literally dozens of rejections for his early works, from publishers who doubted the appeal or the marketability. Fortunately for us, Geisel continued to pursue both writing and publication, which he continued up to the time of his death in 1991. He still had a book on the bestseller list at that time.

Long Live Dr. Seuss!
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on November 4, 2015
I am so mad and frustrated. I originally purchase this book to add to my collection of Dr. Seuss books for my 4 year old son This book was on sale. I have mistakenly purchased board books in the past thinking that I was buying hardcover books. This book was a fail and it failed badly It was not the original Cat in the Hat book. It was slightly similar to the original story but clearly not the same book. Same name though. In a lot of places the words don't even rhyme. I'm so very disappointed.
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on May 30, 2014
Theodor Seuss Geisel (AKA Dr.Seuss) wrote and drew MANY classic children's books. The Cat in the Hat was written in 1957 along with The Grinch - both are illustrated by him as well. He once claimed he never wrote stories with a moral but I find that many of his books do have a moral - not sure why he said he didn't.

I remember both books as a youngster as they went way beyond See Dick Run, etc. I have a 'gift' for reading - I was reading Mark Twain in the 3rd grade and was tested at a high school Senior level as a 5th grader. As an 7th grader I tested as a college graduate in reading. The funny thing is I can't spell worth a crap - I finally resorted to just memorizing the words in the early grades as I just could not sound them out. I was once told that I - somehow - learned to read a whole paragraph at a time instead of individual words. As a high school senior I was tested at 1600 to 1800 words a minute (I was told the average person reads more 200 to 300 words a minute at that time).

But I loved Dr. Suess books - I believe all kids love them - my daughter learned to read from us reading the book 2 or 3 times and then expecting her to at least learn to recognize the 1 and 2 letter words (and very quickly she progressed to 3 & 4 letter words - it was quite simply amazing to she her progress!) - she shocked the Kindergarten teacher as she could already read at around the 3rd grade by then. The stories are silly enough that when coupled with the bright colors of the illustrations and a parent helping them along that most kids 'teach' themselves to read without even realizing it.

A BTW - I caught my daughter 'memorizing' both the text in the stories AND her spelling words. I very quickly got her to stop 'learning' to spell that way as I didn't want to suffer the way I have with my horrible spelling. However - the memorizing large amount of text has lead to her being in a movie, some commercials and several plays in college.

I bought 2 copies of this book to give (along with The Grinch) to 2 of my wifes relatives who are expecting in a few months. This quite simply a book that all children will benefit from be exposed to.

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK FOR ALL CHILDREN - a rare rating of a perfect 10 from me!!!
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on March 7, 2016
My five year old son recently celebrated Dr. Suess's birthday at school and really started liking him a lot. He talked about what a great man he was and how he wrote a lot of tongue twisters in his books. We already own a few of  Dr. Suess's books, but my son mentioned wanting this book in particular and he is thrilled! He can read a lot of this on his own, but I do assist him with it also.
This is a great book and I'm glad we added it to our collection.
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on June 14, 2016
My daughter loves this book. Its a really great board book. But it had signs of ware on the binding before it arrivred. I still give it five stars bcause its a cute story that my daughter enjoys. She loves animals and the love grew even stronger with this book. She likes the different sound effects I make for each animal. Very interactive book if you can read it in a fun tone to young ones.
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