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Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?: All About Dinosaurs (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) Hardcover – April 6, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3 Two titles that feature that favorite old cat, along with Thing One, Thing Two, and Sally and Dick. Both are told in rhythmic couplets. Di-no-saur introduces fossils using a museum as the setting. "With a club for a tail/and a back full of spikes,/this dino was strong /like an army tank. Yikes!" The dinosaurs' names are given, as well as their physical traits. Fish uses a deep-sea sub to take readers through five undersea zones, illustrating the types of fish that would be found at each depth. Even after close examination, the pictures cannot be easily distinguished from those drawn by Dr. Seuss. A good choice for kids who still like their nonfiction told in story form and laced with humor. Sharon R. Pearce, Geronimo Public School, OK
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"There is a big gap between 'concept' books written for preschoolers and nonfiction that requires fluent reading skills. The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library books introduce beginning readers to important basic concepts about the natural world. They provide the critical foundations upon which complex facts and ideas can eventually be build. In addition, The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library shows young readers that books can be entertaining and educational at the same time. This is a wonderful series!"
-- Barbara Kiefer, Associate Professor, Reading and Literature
Teachers College, Columbia University
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"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.