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Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! Library Binding – April 20, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Library Binding: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (April 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679990089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679990086
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 8.1 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,530,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#39 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#38 in Books
#38 in Books

Customer Reviews

I simply love reading this book to my children.
Janelle W.
The story is about how teaching kids to think is more important that teaching them how to take a specific test.
Steve Green
I use this book for my high school students prior to taking standardized tests.
C. Hofknecht

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 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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6 of 7 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My kids loved Smith's illustrations for the True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Stinky Cheese Man, etc. And Prelutsky has been a favorite for years. But this combination on this title did NOT work.
My kids thought it was boring, and preachy. I thought the same, but as well, it bashes one style of education to promote another. There are times when people NEED rote memorization, as well as innovative concepts. Saying only one or the other is valid is not only untrue, but promotes intolerance.
For heaven's sake, let the good Dr rest in peace!
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3 of 4 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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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is as interesting for the section that explains its origins as it is the for story and illustrations themselves. Before he died, Dr. Seuss was working on a book about teaching. He couldn't get it quite right because "Miss Bonkers was driving him bonkers." After his death, the material was passed along to his long-time editor who filed it away. One day she had the good thought of inviting talented poet, Jack Prelutsky, and outstanding illustrator, Lane Smith, to complete the project. The book shows you the Seuss sketches and his work in progress. It's really quite interesting. Prior to the origins section, you get the actual story. The result is a book that is a combination of wonderful children's story and multifaceted paean to Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss's books are wonderful for celebrating differences among children. This book moves beyond that excellent base to point out the benefits of differences among adults as well as children. The creation of Flobbertown (where everyone does everything the same, and life is dreary) is a stroke of genius, for it creates an archetype to react against.
Near when the poem begins, a student is speaking. "My teacher is Miss Bonkers, She's as bouncy as a flea . . . I'm glad she teaches me." That's the sort of sincere flattery all teachers should receive from their students.
Miss Bonkers's specialization is summarized as follows, "Miss Bonkers teaches EVERYTHING!" She's a free spirit, as evidenced by her use of a trampoline. She does her own thing, and the principal (who worries a lot) "treats her like a queen." Most teachers would love that kind of support, as well!
The rest of the teaching and support staff are equally unique and interesting in their own ways.
Read more ›
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