33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1st Dr. Seuss Book for Children -- Imaginative Directions!,
This review is from: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (Hardcover)When you first open this book, you will be struck that it's not quite like any other Dr. Seuss book. The first drawings are smaller and simpler. The poetry is a little more restrained. You'll wonder why it's different, and then you will realize that this was his very first book for children. Like most of us, he was a little restrained at first. But, before long, the full gamut of Dr. Seuss is loose!
Marco is a small boy who walks to school along Mulberry Street. His father likes to encourage him. "'Marco, keep your eyelids up and see what you can see.'" Marco's father is looking for the eye of a scientist or a reporter. But Marco has the eye of a poet. So when Marco tells what he has imagined he has seen, his father sternly says, "'Your eyesight's much too keen. Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales.'"
The story then takes you through one day when Marco only sees a horse pulling a man on a broken-down wagon on Mulberry Street. But Marco soon imagines something much grander. If you change a horse for a zebra, that's better. Or you could change that zebra for a large reindeer. Or better yet, how about an elephant with a Rajah wearing rubies on a throne on top? And on it goes.
When Marco gets home, he's elated. "I ran up the steps and I felt simply GREAT!" The reason for his excitement is because "I HAD A STORY THAT NO ONE COULD BEAT!" I think you'll agree.
So what does he tell his father? You'll be amazed!
I found that this book worked well at several levels. First, it captures the kind of miscommunication between parent and child that can set up barriers that exclude what could be much shared joy. Marco's father needs to learn to enjoy his son's imagination, as long as Marco isn't confused about what is real and what is imagination.
Second, many people have trouble understanding how to be creative. Substitution of elements is a classic technique. Here, the structure of that process is elegantly displayed. First, you replace one element. Then you see if that helps you see a way to create a related replacement of another element. Then what does that suggest? And on it goes. Soon, there is no obvious link back to the beginning, but you have created something wonderful that would have been hard to do from a blank sheet of paper. Fiction writers, pay attention!
Third, most children these days complain that they are bored all of the time if they don't have someone putting on a world class act for them. Here is a good role model for how they can create an exciting set of thoughts out of something very mundane. Wow! Is this needed, or what?
To take advantage of this potential, I suggest that you and your child go out for a walk and play this imagination game together. Then, come back and make a book out of the experience that recounts how you went from one step to another. That's a wonderful way to ensure that your child's natural brilliance has a chance to develop even further, and she or he will realize that you want to enter into play with him or her. Wonderful bonding will result!
Enjoy all of the potential of everyone and everything!