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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Unless: A few thoughts about Dr. Seuss

It struck me the other day that the genius of Dr. Seuss is not his rhyme or his rhythm or his invention of the perfect word to fit into the perfect verse.  It is not his creation of unusual and almost impossible creatures in hues of pink, yellow and green.

The genius of Dr. Seuss lies in the heart of his stories--or more basically, the simple fact that his stories are full of heart.

Example #1:  I was reading THE LORAX the other day to my class. We were near the end of an IB unit entitled I Need the Earth and the Earth Needs Me so it seemed appropriate. The kids were there--right there-- with the good doctor as the Lorax bemoaned the loss of the truffula trees and the brown barbaloots.  All was lost for this corner of the world until I turned the page and in largish letters was the word UNLESS.  Our world will go the way of the Lorax's world unless we make a choice to change things.  Unless.  I will admit, I got a little teary when I read that word, mostly because my kids totally GOT IT.  They know if the world is to change, it is up to them.  Dr. Seuss knew that almost 50 years ago.  He knows that our only hope is children.

Example #2:  My daughter was in a production of Seussical  a few weeks ago.  She was the Sour Kangaroo (the villain, which she played well--almost too well:).  Anyway, there is a part in the musical near the end when the egg that Horton has been sitting on finally hatches and durn it if it didn't cause a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes!  This was a mid-school production, and Horton was a 14 year-old boy in overalls and a trucker hat with elephant ears and I am crying!  Crying!

And Dr. Seuss would probably say:

And it should be,
     It should be,
           It SHOULD be that way.

So much heart.  Reread HORTON HATCHES THE EGG, or THE LORAX.  You'll see.



Kelly Polark said...

Dr. Seuss books are so timeless. We've been using them in our Early Childhood classroom too. I love how these books can be relevant and enjoyable to so many age groups and for so many years.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley, you got to the heart of it. That is what makes Dr. Seuss so moving and timeless. Thank you.