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Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! Hardcover – April 20, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With the release of Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! readers young and old are afforded a dazzling glimpse into the genius of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. The book is based on 14 rough drawings and verses Geisel's secretary gave to the author's editor, Janet Schulman, after his death in 1991. In these scribbled sketches and scratched-out lines, we witness the Seussian process in building a story. When brainstorming the name of what resulted in the Diffendoofer School, he jots down several possible names--"William Wilkins Woofer Junior," "Woodrow Watkins Woofer," "Zoofendorf Elementary," "J. Ebeneezer Bomberg Jr."--all of a slightly different cadence and rhythm, which he tests like a composer writing a new concerto.

A small collection of Geisel's rough sketches would be plenty to thrill even the Grinchiest of readers, but there's much more to this marvelous book. Renowned children's poet Jack Prelutsky and award-winning illustrator Lane Smith were called to action by Schulman to pull these sketches into a complete story that would make Dr. Seuss fruffulous with glee. Prelutsky's delicious verse is uncannily Seussian, and it is inexplicably sensational when exploring the Diffendoofer School to discover good old Horton, a platter of green eggs and ham, and a few Whos from Who-ville scattered across the surreal and fascinating landscape of Smith's artwork. Lane and Prelutsky have gone above and beyond the call of duty, maintaining the characters and themes Geisel was just beginning to develop, but enhancing them with their own delightful stylistic stamps.

Above all, this incredible book is an ode to unorthodox, unusually creative teachers, and the innovative thinking they encourage in young minds. (Miss Twining, for example, teaches "how to tell chrysanthemums from miniature poodles.") It is a noble theme, and one that Geisel surely had in mind when he concocted these preliminary sketches. Both new Dr. Seuss aficionados and those who remember The Cat in the Hat's 1957 debut will cherish this book for its message, artwork, and poetry, and most of all, as a tribute to the man who inspired thousands of readers. (Age 3 and older)

From Publishers Weekly

Dr. Seuss's name towers over the title on the jacket here, setting up readers to measure the book within?extrapolated from scanty manuscript and sketches?against the late artist's classic works. While such a comparison is almost certain to disappoint, it also distracts from an appreciation of the fruitful collaboration between the ebullient Prelutsky (The Dragons Are Singing Tonight) and the innovative Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man). Given some rough art and verses and a list of characters that were compiled by Seuss in 1988 or 1989, Prelutsky and Smith fashion a plot, message and visual milieu (see Children's Books, Feb. 9). Zesty rhymes, some of them Seuss's own, catalogue the eccentric staff of Diffendoofer School. Then trouble threatens: the students must take a standardized test to prove Diffendoofer's worth, lest the school be closed and everyone sent to Flobbertown ("And we shuddered at the name,/ For everyone in Flobbertown/ Does everything the same"). The valiant Miss Bonkers inspires her troops. Balancing a globe on one finger, she proudly declaims: "We've taught you that the earth is round,/ That red and white make pink,/ And something else that matters more-/ We've taught you how to think." Smith pastes in some Seuss sketches and invites Seuss characters and book jackets into his collages. The look, however, is very much Smith's; his style is so strong that it subsumes the Seussian elements in evidence (not just the collaged art but the typeface, the colored pages, the tilt of a given character's nose, etc.). Perhaps the richest reward?for adults if not for children?is the absorbing, meaty afterword by editor Janet Schulman, which allows readers a view of Seuss's draft and gives rare insight into the creative process. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 750 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679890084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679890089
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Bennett on August 16, 2000
Format: Library Binding
I loved Dr. Seuss as a kid, but I have to admit, I don't always like reading him aloud now that I'm a parent. Don't tell my kids, but I know how Green Eggs and Ham ended up behind the sofa. Mom and Dad hid it there after they'd been forced to read about boxes and foxes and sockses too many times in a row one night. This new book, based on notes and sketches found among Dr. Seuss's papers after his death, might escape the fate of Sam-I-am, at least in our house. There are some definite funny moments. Discussing the cafeteria workers, the narrator says, "They make us hot dogs, beans, and fries, / Plus things we do not recognize." Although the food may resemble that found in some educational institutions, the philosophy does not. Instead of teaching the students the traditional canon and rote memorization, the teachers at Diffendoofer teach an eclectic mix. Extolling the virtues of his teacher, Miss Bonkers, the narrator says: She even teaches frogs to dance. And pigs to put on underpants. One day she taught a duck to sing -- Miss Bonkers teaches EVERYTHING! Of all the teachers in our school, I like Miss Bonkers best. Our teachers are all different, But she's different-er than the rest. Most of all, the teachers teach their students how to think. This works great, until the day of the dreaded standardized test. If the students at Diffendoofer School don't pass with flying colors, they'll be forced to go to Flobbertown, where everyone does everything the same. Amazingly enough, the test covers all the things the Diffendoofer teachers have been teaching -- and for those questions on material they haven't covered yet, the students use their thinking skills to come up with the right answers. Lane Smith's illustrations pay tribute to Dr. Seuss.Read more ›
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By A Customer on June 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this book so much, I have read it again and againbecause it is so good. Dr. Seuss had started this book before he died,but never got to finish it. Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith completed the book and did a TERRIFIC job at it. It is from the point of view of a student who goes to school at Diffendoofer. She describes each of the teachers and what they teach. But now the students of Diffendoofer school have to take a test, if they don't pass, everyone will be sent to another school, a dreary school. Read the book to find out what happens in the end, if Diffendoofer passes the test and keeps the school, or if the students fail and get sent elsewhere. I recommend this book to ANYONE!
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Format: Hardcover
Got this as present, and was immediately suspect of its "Seuss" creds. Vaguely sounds like Suess, but is clearly just some knockoff nonsense. It's missing that essential spark – that special something. Devolves into lame anti-standardized-testing rhetoric. (I'm no fan of standardized testing – who is?) Of course Suess was no stranger to political ideas, but his always seemed so much larger. Essential. Something about the human condition.

This just feel so small and petty. Too on-the-nose.

Didn't appreciate the pervy up-skirt joke either... this all just seems so below Seuss.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really special book that was written by Dr. Seuss in his living years. I brought him great joy but also great sorrow because he never felt the book was what he wanted it to be and it ended up being an unpublished piece until after his passing. Upon his passing his secretary and a few friends helped get it published. The story is super cute, the ides is excellent and the fact that they were able to publish one of his works after is passing is great. I love it, I use it in circle time at my daughter's school and they love it.
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This book was written from drafts by Theodore Geisel by other very helpful writers. The story is about how teaching kids to think is more important that teaching them how to take a specific test. Many teachers today are struggling under the burden of too much required testing and not enough time for learning. Buy this book for your kid's teacher and you'll make a friend for life!
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My teacher friends and I love it b/c we agree w/ the theme that school should be about learning to THINK and having FUN, not just passing tests! My 3- yr. old granddaughter loved it, said she would love to go to Diffendoofer School.
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I LOVE this book. I am a teacher and this book helps my kids understand that standardized testing is not the end all be all, it's what they can do with the knowledge they have. It also has helped some of my colleagues and I to come to the conclusion that if we teach the kids to think, that is more important than teaching them to take the test, and by teaching them to think, we will be teaching them what they need for the test.
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Format: Hardcover
Oh, no! It's a terrible thing as Dr. Seuss takes a look at conformity versus freedom! Dr. Seuss created Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, and Jack Prelutsky finished this story while Lane Smith did the illustrations. A picture book for children ages 4–8.

My Take
The kids will love this! There are lots of opportunities for laughing and coming up with ideas for other kinds of classes besides the ones that Miss Bobble and Miss Fribble teach…among others. There's Miss Clotte's overzealousness and Mr. Plunger's inventiveness. Yep, lots of opportunities to be imaginative with the kids!

It's also a chance for the kids to imagine what classes in smelling, tasting, and listening would teach. A chance for parents to come up with unique ideas to get the kids to do what you want them to and good luck with that one!

I do love the colors, they're so softly funky with weird angles to buildings and people and lots of stripes and polka dots and swirlies and whirlies. Smith was definitely influenced by the modern art of his day, lol. I swear, you could spend one day for each spread of pages, stretching the imagination, exploring the bits floating throughout.

The blurb calls it "a joyous ode to individuality, starring an unsinkable teacher named Miss Bonkers and quirky little Diffendoofer School, which must prove it has taught its students how to think."

The individuality is more implied and only becomes obvious [to me!] when Flobbertown comes up.

About half the book (at the back) is devoted to explaining how Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! came to be. It includes Seuss' original drawings, which are very Seuss-like. Quite different from the characters Smith did, and I think I like Smith's better??!
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