Most helpful critical review
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Wish we could like this more
on March 10, 2010
This is going to be mostly a review of the whole series, with a few remarks about this particular book.
"The Cat in the Hat makes science fun and interesting!"--that's the thinking behind the whole "Cat in the Hat's Learning Library," I guess. It sounded great to me when I first came across these books. And yet it doesn't quite work. The books are maybe worth getting, but they aren't very good.
There are two big (related) problems with all of these books. Maybe the biggest is that the writing is not very good. They lamely ape the Dr. Seuss style, but they never come with even the same ballpark in terms of the creativity of the language. It seems as if the writers are scientists who had never written a poem before--a lot of the rhymes are painfully bad.
The second problem is that the spirit of Dr. Seuss generally and the Cat in the Hat particularly are missing from these books. It's as if Dr. Seuss books were written by committee--that's just so wrong! I cringe at the beginnings of these books where the Cat declares he's going to take the kids on what turns out to be a perfectly vanilla tour of some domain of knowledge, and that "your mother will not mind at all if you do." Thing 1 and Thing 2 are altogether too well-behaved. Look, if you didn't like creative, adventurous, naughty spirit of The Cat in the Hat, people, you should have chosen some other character to use to teach stuff.
Some might complain that the adventurous Cat is pressed into wholly didactic service. That doesn't bother me. I and my boy like to learn and to be taught, especially in an entertaining or interesting way (we much preferred the Magic School Bus book about dinosaurs--which, by the way, was a lot more informative). In fact, that's why these books earn three stars instead of something less. They do succeed in teaching a fair bit.