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“You-er Than You!”

March 6, 2012

Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

A Dr. Seuss centennial had come upon me a few days ago in an “almost missed it moment”. In many ways the consumate “ad man” who became one of the most beloved children’s book authors never actually changed careers.  Nearly each and every one of his books continues to reach the pinacle of salesmanship, but not for a product. With joy, wit and often irony, they sold the love of reading, imagination and exploration.

Theodor Geisel burst into an age of “dumbed down” reading primers with The Cat in the Hat, a book that despite being limited to 236 distinct words quickly became one of the most popular children’s books in history.  He topped himself on a bet with his publisher with Green Eggs and Ham, using a mere 50 different words; I have to think that the number of children (myself included) who have learned to read with his distinctive trisyllabic meter is countless.

His books walked readers from their own neighborhoods (And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street) to the wide world outside (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!) and all imagined places in between.  He added his voice to literacy and library programs throughout his career. (Yet another subject dear to our hearts…)

I’m late, I know.  But I don’t think the man who wrote the following lines would mind:

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

So in the spirit of Dr. Seuss, who succeeded so well in “Life’s Great Balancing Act,” I wish him a happy 100th!

Today is your birthday! Today you are you!… There is no one alive that is you-er than you!

―  Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You 

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