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Learning Creativity for Children of All Ages
on July 27, 2000
This book was one of the five that I most enjoyed reading to our four children when they were young. Upon rereading the book, I bgan to realize why I enjoyed it so much . . . as well as why they did.
Children begin with quite vivid imaginations, and education (and the socializing process) quickly discourage their imaginations in favor of coloring between the lines (following the conformist rules). This wonderful book by Dr. Seuss extolls the creative process and liberates the child (and the parent) to use their imaginations. "THINK! You can think any THINK that you wish . . . Think of a race on a horse on a ball with a fish!" It's like getting a license to use your natural creativity.
The book encourages creativity in a variety of effective ways. As the above quote shows, juxtaposition (combined with wonderfully funny illustrations) can allow the child to see that words can be jumbled together in ways to create fantastic images. The book begins and ends with this method.
Through the book, the illustrations are drawn to highlight the unusual. Many different colors are combined, in odd ways, and in odd shapes.
Then, after the imagination is revved up a bit, Dr. Seuss begins to do mental pirouettes by introducing such creatures as GUFFS (fuzzy orange creatures with tails that have large furry balls along them them), SNUVS (yellow creatures wearing color mismatched gloves -- you can see how the name sometimes helps with the rhyming), BLOOGS (green, yellow, and blue creatures blowing by in the white sky above the black water), and ZONGS (with a tail that is 15 times as long as the body which winds among blue and pink mushrooms).
Of course, the visions are sometimes more literal: Kitty O'Sullivan Krauss diving into a balloon pool over her house.
I thought that the RINK-RINKER-FINK and the VIPPER of VIPP were especially wonderful inventions. They juxtapose many different concepts in a particularly mind-liberating way.
If any book can overcome you tradition, misconception, and disbelief stalls, this one is it. By sharing it with your children while they are young, you can keep them from ever developing the stalls in the first place.