Regarding the first book in the Cat in the Hat series, I read some interesting tidbits as gathered by Shmoop:
- William Spaulding, director of Houghton Mifflin’s educational division, was inspired by new thinking in the late 1950’s positing that phonics and fun made the best recipe for teaching language skills and literacy to children.
- Together with Spaulding, Dr. Seuss crafted a list of first-grader appropriate vocabulary. As a result, his rhyming classic consists of a mere 220 words.
- Seuss used standard quatrains and repetition to reinforce a sense of tradition, which, at the beginning of the story, scans as boredom for Sally and her brother. The verse slips into ever innovative and less-predictable forms as the Cat in the Hat enters the scene.
- As Cat’s visit quickly escalates from fun to chaos, order and stability are gradually restored to both tale and meter as the characters work together to undo the mess.
For RhyPiBoMo and A to Z, I read the next book in the series: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.
I love that Dr. Seuss never lets reality get in the way of zany story. Gloriously weird and creative, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back is no exception.
This morning, Mother has voluntold Sally and her brother too shovel snow. When The Cat in the Hat makes a surprise appearance, the children know that things are about to get a whole lot more stressful. And Cat doesn’t disappoint, fast-talking his way into the house and making a mess right out of the gate. He’s left a pink ink cat ring in the tub!
“’Have no fear of that ring,’ laughed the Cat in the Hat. ‘Why, I can take cat rings off tubs. Just like that!’”
But with each effort to remove the offending pink spot, a new article gets soiled.
Lady MacBeth would have haaated The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.
As the cleaning effort goes haywire, Cat calls in reinforcements in the form of “little cats” A-Z who, like delightful and mischievous nesting dolls, have been hiding inside of Cat’s great big hat all along. And here you thought the hat was merely convenient for rhyming!
Having somehow missed this book until now, I’m happy to have made its acquaintance for this challenge.