Today is Dr. Seuss Day! What does this mean? It means we look back over the years and reflect on all of his creations from And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, to Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (Which just happens to be my personal favorite by the Dr. himself) Thinking about all of the works he gave us, how have they made an impact in the field of Children’s Literature?
I do not believe there is one person among us who would disagree with my saying Theodor Seuss Geisel a.k.a Dr. Seuss was a real genius! However, is it fair for us to say that his books contributed to society? I feel the answer is a big YES!
How many of us have ever read something that inspired us to bigger, and greater things? How many after reading Night by Elie Wiesel were not moved and affected by the account of a Jewish author was sent to Auschwitz at 15-years-old? His story of personal struggle, heartbreak, and passion. Or, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Giving us new meaning to the American dream, focusing on power and a friendship that will enrage you with jealousy (but in a good way).
Dr. Seuss showed respect for literature, poetry, and the essence of childhood that many other authors have failed or not come near enough to achieve. Through his works, he shows an endearment to the innocence of children. Showing us through his writings that childhood is the purest, most clever, and most important moment in one’s life.
Dr. Seuss helped to transform children’s literature into something that can be appreciated by more than children. His whimsical style and rhyming schemes were elements that came to be enjoyed by children, but over time, his works seem to acquire more meaning as the child reader grows up and becomes an adolescent than an adult. The work itself does not change, but the reader does, and looking at the same work over time, new levels of meaning emerge.
His stories not only entertain but teach us invaluable lessons. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Make the most of what you’ve got. In Yertle the Turtle, we see “feather envy,” and it’s a gentle reminder to be careful what you wish for and appreciate what you’ve got.
As mentioned earlier my favorite Seuss book is Oh, the Places you’ll go! As a child it was a fun read, it made me think about what I would do. But now as an adult, it has much deeper meaning to me. Life is a great balancing act with ups and downs, but it’s up to us to chose what road we will go down.
Dr. Seuss gives such wise advice:
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
As the rest of the poem goes on it becomes fascinating. What I love most about this poem is that how he points out, you’ll have times when you’re lonely, or scared about walking down the road you’ve chosen. You will want to turn back, but you’ll go on regardless.
That’s life, that’s all part of its rich tapestry. You’re not alone, and other people are walking their road right beside you. They too have these fears – am I good enough? Will I succeed? Can I do this? But we do, because…
You are off to great places.
Today is your day
Your mountain is waiting
So get on your way!
Here is a video for you to enjoy of my favorite story by the great Dr. Seuss. What are your favorite works by him? Do you have a reason why you enjoy that book? Please share your comment’s below.