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Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! Hardcover – April 20, 1998

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Editorial Reviews 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
  • 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 0.3 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"A person's a person, no matter how small," Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. "Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted."

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of kids learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at that time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" which became a popular expression.

Geisel published his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937, after 27 publishers rejected it.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful 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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have used this gift as a graduation gift for a high school student. I had each of his teachers sign on a page where their subject or job was mentioned. It not only was a hit with the student, the teachers thought it was a great idea. I also use The Places You'll Go for graduation written by Dr. Seuss
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am the principal of a non-traditional public high school; I received the book as a present from a first year teacher. It should be part of every beginning teachers opening-of-school packet. It is all about teaching kids how to think, and how to be successful in "different-er" ways.
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By Teresa on December 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by: Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky truly is a wonderful story. This is a heartwarming tale of a small community school that faces the threat of closing. The combination of works by the two authors creates a unique story that is sure to help you appreciate the great teachers that you have had in your life.

The genre of this book is fantasy, as many works by these authors are. There are dancing frogs and saddled lizards among the many personified animals and objects in the story. The city of Dinkerville is a fun place in the imaginations of these writers. It is a quaint little town with a wonderful school that really could be located anywhere in the world, given a few changes anyway. The authors never identified the main character in the story, but they gave mention to everyone else at the school. They gave details on everything from the grim principal Lowe's eyebrows to the extravagant inventions of the custodian, Mr. Plunger.

The story begins with a colorful explanation of Diffendoofer School. The student tells us how he loves his school and learns the most interesting things from his teachers. The subjects are not the normal english, math, etc. Instead they learn smelling, yelling, and laughing at their school. All seems to be well and good at Diffendoofer School until unhappy Mr. Lowe, the principal, tells the school that they must pass a mandatory test or their school will be closed! If the school is closed, then everyone will be shipped to dreary Flobbertown School where everyone dresses and acts the same and they never do anything fun. Everybody begins to worry that what they were learning will surely make them fail the test. What will happen if the test is on math instead of laughing?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin G. on August 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
According to, Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books for children. Most of his books were written using the pen name "Dr. Seuss". After publishing his first children's book in 1937, he continued writing until his death in 1991 ("Timeline", 2011). Many people grew up reading his stories such as Cat in the Hat or The Lorax. When he died, he left an unfinished book that was expanded upon and finished by another children's book author and poet, Jack Prelutsky, and children's book author and illustrator, Lane Smith. Published posthumously in 1998, Dr. Seuss' Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! is a rhyming story in poetry form that addresses contemporary issues much like some of his other books. The contrast with his earlier works is most evident in the characters that are all human.
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! tells the story of Diffendoofer School with its eccentric teachers who "make up their own rules" (Seuss, 1998). Teachers and students love Diffendoofer School. When the students are required to take standardized tests, they worry that they don't do well and the school will be forced to close. In the end, the thinking skills they have learned help them to keep the school open. Dr. Seuss began this story just as standardized and high-stakes tests were becoming widespread throughout the United States. In his writing, he demonstrates that "teaching to the test" is not necessary or engaging. This is not the only instance of Dr. Seuss taking on a cultural issue within a children's book. His story The Lorax was published in 1971; the following is the description of the story:
Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr.
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