Remembering Dr. Seuss (and all the wonderful tales he told)


 

 

For as long as I can remember, reading has always been a favorite hobby of mine. Whether it was the countless fiction adventure books I read as a kid, or the fantasy novels I devoured as a teen, or the sports magazines and action novels that I indulge in now as a young adult…reading has been a constant source of creativity and enlightenment in my life.

During the early years of my reading journey, one author stood out for his colorful characters and masterful artistry with words: Theodor Seuss Geisel, A.K.A. Dr. Seuss.

I still remember the first time I read a Dr. Seuss book. I was probably age six, waiting with my parents at the dentist’s office, when I happened to flip through the original “The Cat in the Hat” for the first time. As you would probably guess, I got a kick out of the mischievous Cat in the Hat and his antics, along with the book’s lively illustrations. I also liked how Dr. Seuss strung rhymes together, and how his writing was even more enjoyable to read out loud.

From there, I discovered several more Dr. Seuss classics, including “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Fox in Socks” and “I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today.” Oh, and let’s not forget “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Horton Hears A Who!”

To name a few.

Looking back, I’ve come to appreciate how Dr. Seuss made reading enjoyable. His writings are endowed with a healthy sense of optimism, while also including moral themes and life lessons that are easy for children to understand.

Think about it. The Grinch returns all the Christmas gifts he stole from the Whos. Horton the Elephant learns big lessons about personal responsibility and caring for others. And Sam-I-Am’s friend in “Green Eggs and Ham”…well, he eventually listens to Sam-I-Am, stops his griping about Green Eggs and Ham and gives them a try.

Earlier this month, schools and organizations around the country participated in Read Across America Day, an annual initiative promoted by the National Education Association (NEA). Read Across America Day brings awareness to the importance of reading in education and helps to motivate kids to read more.

It’s only fitting that Read Across America Day usually coincides with Dr. Seuss’ birthday, which is on March 2. After all, many generations of youngsters have been captivated by his tales and the larger-than-life characters he created.

Altogether, Dr. Seuss published 48 books, most of which were children’s titles. His books have sold hundreds of millions of copies, impacting the lives of so many kids and adults. From my own experience, I would say that Dr. Seuss’ books played a big role in boosting my imagination as a kid and helping me to realize my own creative writing ambitions later in life.

With that said, I think it’s important for all of us to pass on a love for reading to the next generations. Perhaps that means reading to schoolkids or donating books to a local classroom. Or maybe, writing the next bestseller, in the tradition of Dr. Seuss himself…

Ben Gagnon is a reporter with View Newspaper Group. You can contact him at bgagnon@mihomepaper.com or 810-452-2661.