Tonawanda News

Local News

March 2, 2013

For love of Seuss

More than a century after author's birth, works still resonate with readers, children

Tonawanda News — On a “cold, cold wet day” when the sun did not shine — much like the opening of the book that introduced his most famous character — children throughout America gathered Friday to celebrate the life and works of one of childhood’s most beloved authors.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, otherwise know as Dr. Seuss, would have celebrated his 109 birthday today, and libraries and schools through the country planned story times and parties in honor of the writer and his works, some in connection with Friday’s National Read Across America Day sponsored by the National Education Association.

About 20 children from 3 to 5 gathered for a “Celebrate Seuss!” program Friday at the Kenmore Branch Library, listening to Seuss stories, playing Seuss games and singing Seuss songs. Children’s librarian Nicole Birmingham donned the iconic striped Cat hat to read the book to the group, explaining to them that the stories have been read by generations.

“Even your parents enjoyed them when they were little,” she told the children, “because these books are awesome.”

Birmingham read “The Cat in the Hat,” “Hop on Pop” and “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” — the latter while the group happily made noises along with the talented title character, from knocking to mooing and tick-tocking to cock-a-doodle-dooing. (And “grumming” ... according to Seuss, the sound of a hippopotamus chewing gum.)

As the children worked at making a Cat in the Hat puppet, Birmingham mused over the continued popularity of the books. “The Cat in the Hat” was published in 1957, but more than 400,000 copies were still sold in 2009, according to Publishers Weekly. (”Green Eggs and Ham,” published in 1960, sold more than 500,000 copies that year, while “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” also topped 400,000.)

“It’s just fun, and there’s usually a good lesson in there,” she said. “I think parents have the tradition of it, and it just keeps going on and on. 

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