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The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats (Picture Book) Hardcover – January 9, 2007

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Picture Book
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Annotated edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375833692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375833694
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Nel proves that it is fun to take Seuss's work seriously. In 1957, the baby boom peaked at 3.9 million births, coinciding with a boom in children's literature. That same year, The Cat in the Hat was first published, creating an innovative type of children's literature that brought humor and originality to young readers. From the number of digits in the Cat's fingers (varies from three, four, or five) to the changes in colors of the bow tie of the Cat (white to red), Nel chronicles the development of the stories of The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. The well-documented text includes original manuscripts, early sketches, and illustrations with detailed analysis and descriptions. This text is an excellent addition to any school or public library and is essential reading for all who work with youth, literacy, and literature.—Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Why annotate a book that is under 4,000 words, even if it is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary? For one thing, The Cat in the Hat revolutionized the way kids learn to read. This lavishly illustrated and loving look at Dr. Seuss' small classic, as well as its sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, wins kudos for its introduction. Nel does a terrific job of supplying the backstory behind both the book and the man and explaining why and how Cat became a worldwide favorite. As for the annotations, they range from interesting to odd to, well, stretches. For instance, a riff about how Geisel identified with the Cat's "subversive sense of humor, and drew himself as both Cat and the Grinch" is captivating. The information that the parents in the original and the sequel have separate bedrooms might make one say, "Really?" But sometimes the annotations are merely a rephrasing of the text. More often the visuals are the real stars here, with beautiful reproductions of the original art juxtaposed against Geisel's earlier work. Seuss lovers will love the whole package. Endnotes, extensive references appended. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Philip Nel likes to read books. He also likes to write books. If you buy his books, then he will be able to write more books. So, please: Give generously. Thank you.

Since you are still reading this, you must be curious to learn more, have a high tolerance for the mundane, or all of the above. So. Here is more. The very first book Philip Nel read all by himself was Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. He was three years old, and enjoyed the experience so much that the next thing he did was re-read the book.

In first grade, his favorite book was Jeff Brown's Flat Stanley. He briefly thought he could become two-dimensional, just like Flat Stanley. (He was wrong.) For more details, see Anita Silvey's Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book.

Because he cares about the quality of your personal library, he hopes you know that it (the library) would be incomplete without Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Ruth Krauss's The Carrot Seed.

Despite the fact that formal education held little interest for him until he went to college, he managed to become a university professor. I know, I know -- he's as surprised as you are.

If you punch his name into Google, you'll find traces of him all over the web. You'll also find other people named "Philip Nel." And many other items of dubious utility.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on January 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
With only 236 words, Dr. Seuss blasted onto the children's literature scene with his revolutionary reader The Cat in the Hat. In the days of the Dick and Jane primers, reading was not the most enjoyable pastime for children, but Dr. Seuss changed all that and is now an icon.

In The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats readers get not only the complete texts and art of The Cat in the Hat, and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, but also two original essays and a magazine story by Seuss, draft material and sketches, photographs and page-by-page annotations of the two classics, as well as an introduction to the man, Seuss and his work.

The Annotated Cat is an intriguing look into the mind of a children's book legend. Especially for those of us who strive to write for children, the insight put forth on Seuss' creations is mind-blowing in its detail. His quest for perfection (and near attainment of it) shows in the sketches and writes and re-writes of his books.

Philip Nel does an excellent job of analyzing the plethora of information available and commenting on the various aspects of Seuss creations.

Armchair Interviews says: A must-read for the Seuss lover or hopeful children's writer.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Heather Begg on March 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Annotated Cat in the Hat is an interesting read. One sees behind the fun and outlandish escapades of Seuss's most well-known character. A great deal of thought goes into writing and illustrating children's books and this book delves into and explains the process.

Someone who is curious about rhythmic cadences and the reasoning behind them will surely enjoy learning the hidden meanings of those in The Cat in the Hat.

The book is not for the casual reader. It must be read by someone who has a love of language, writing, and the creative process.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Philip Nel, The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats (Random House, 2007)

There are two different ways people will react to this book. It seems possible to me that you may be able to use it as an acid test for whether you want to keep your friends around.

The first type of person will flip through the book (or, if the word "annotated" is familiar, won't even need to do that) and then proclaim that such a book would destroy his or her enjoyment of The Cat in the Hat (and its sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back), because this is "overanalyzing" and "not germane to enjoyment of the books in question." (This is, of course, assuming "germane" is in this person's vocabulary.) There will be others who will read the book and come out the other side with the same opinion.

The second type will read it and gain entirely new dimensions of enjoyment for CitH and CitHCB, understanding that the more you know, the better off you are, in general.

Sure, the information here is in many senses trivial, and one doesn't need to trace the idea of the pink spot (from CitHCB) being a symbol of communism, and the debate over whether Voom is a symbol for a nuclear weapon. But it's fascinating stuff. Even more fascinating is Nel's collection of rough drafts of many of the pages, and his notes on Seuss' process of revision; how important is the position of Sally's left arm in a given picture? Very important, according to Seuss, and Nel shows why sometimes even the most minor of revisions made the final book better than the draft he's examining.

This is great stuff. Read it, and you'll like Sr. Seuss' books even more. And kick those people to the curb who blather on about how awful it is that even kids' books can't be simple any more. ****
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book that tells about the Cat in the Hat and its evolution.

A childhood favorite for generations, the story is fun and I'm glad it is still going strong for my kids to enjoy. Now with Nel's book, this early reader book is revealed all for the better.

Nel reveales the story behind the Cat and how it came to life. Considering the original art work revealed and sharing the limited printing colors back in the day Geisel had to work with, his genius is more apparent. The Cat is a timeless story and now the story behind the story provides for a greater appreciation. This book is a must for anyone interested in the evolution of a book as well as the history behind the Cat in the Hat.
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