Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and kids all over the country will be donning their red-and-white striped construction paper hats to celebrate (at least that’s part of the festivity at my son’s school). I’m not exaggerating when I say that two of Dr. Seuss’s books changed my life when I was an early reader.
The first was Horton Hears a Who!. This is the story of a benevolent elephant who stumbles upon a civilization floating around on a speck of dust. Because of his super-sized ears, he can hear the workings of this little world, but he has a hard time convincing the other jungle creatures, and the resulting drama illustrates loyalty, believing in yourself, mob mentality and the power of one. When I was a kid, this book opened my eyes to the invisible wonders in this world…the wonderous things I knew were happening but I just couldn’t hear because my ears weren’t big enough (so to speak). I remember having a serious conversation with my parents about life on other planets. “But there’s no oxygen there,” one of them would say, and I’d roll my eyes at their lack of logic and reply: “Not everything breathes oxygen, you know.”
The second was The Lorax. This story of capitalism/consumerism gone awry grabbed my love of nature and turned it into environmental awareness. Dr. Seuss had a way of entertaining while informing that spoke directly to my sponge-like brain.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! didn’t change my life, but it did remind me that, even as an adult, Dr. Seuss could still weave his magic. It was given to me as a gift the day I graduated from college as gentle reminder about life’s inevitable ups and downs…something every rosy-cheeked college grad needs to hear.
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.
Anyone else have a Dr. Seuss story or memory to share?