Book review: Books by Dr Suess - for young readers

Published: September 2, 2011

Books by Dr Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss, is one of the most beloved names in children’s literature. His stories in rhyme, driven by amusing turns of phrase and filled with imaginative characters, make reading fun while encouraging young readers to tap into their own imaginations, which is why his books will certainly be a delightful addition to any child’s bookshelf.

The Cat in the Hat

Left home on a cold, wet day, two bored kids — a boy (the narrator) and his sister Sally — get a visit from the Cat in the Hat, as he enters their house and brings with him some mischievous mayhem, in one of Dr Seuss’s best known stories. While their mother is out for the day, the children sit in the house and wish they had something to do; in walks the Cat, who, despite the family’s pet goldfish’s opposition, sets off to perform wacky tricks to amuse the kids, which ultimately result in the creation of a big mess. Undeterred, the Cat brings two creatures, named Thing One and Thing Two, into the picture, who then begin to fly kites in the house, causing even more chaos, until the children finally take control of the situation; the Cat ultimately returns to clean up the mess just before the mother gets back home. The zany adventure will not only amuse young, beginning readers, but also help improve their reading skills.

Horton Hatches the Egg

Mayzie, “a lazy bird hatching an egg”, convinces Horton the elephant to switch places with her in Horton Hatches the Egg, a charming story about the virtue of keeping your word and the joys of perseverance. Left to sit on the egg, Horton endures bad weather and changing seasons awaiting Mayzie’s return, who unknown to him, has “decided she’d never go back to her nest”. But no matter how bad things get, Horton does not give up on his promise to stay on the egg (even after he gets ridiculed by his friends) because “an elephant’s faithful one hundred per cent!” He faces more trouble as hunters sneak up on him; because of his peculiar behaviour, Horton is sold to a circus, where he is eventually reunited with the wandering Mayzie, who, seeing that all the work has been done for her, turns on Horton and lays claim to her abandoned egg just then, the egg hatches, and the results surprise everyone.

If I Ran the Circus

A kid uses his imagination to create a circus in a vacant lot in If I Ran the Circus, a delightful foray into a world of madcap creativity. The Circus McGurkus emerges from an empty lot filled with junk, as Morris McGurk details how he’ll build the “the world’s greatest show” behind Mr Sneelock’s store, that will be filled with unusual creatures, like horn-tooting apes, a Drum-Tummied Snumm, the Remarkable Foon, a Blindfolded Bowman from Brigger-ba-Root, and a fluff-muffled Truffle. Morris conveniently uses Mr Sneelock’s assistance as he pleases, and includes him in parts of various acts as he goes along, because as he sees it, “After all, Mr Sneelock is one of my friends. And I’m sure he’ll help out doing small odds and ends.” Along the way, he shows how easy it is to transform the drab into the fabulous: all you need is a little imagination.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.

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