About the Holiday
Read Across America was designed by the National Education Association as a day to raise awareness of the importance of reading and to motivate people to read more. What better day could they have chosen to celebrate the joys books can bring than March 2—Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday! With 46 children’s books to his name, Dr. Seuss is one of the world’s most beloved authors, and one whose imagination has entertained generations of readers.
For more information on the Read Across America program visit www.nea.org/grants/read-across-background.html
The Sneetches and Other Stories
By Dr. Seuss
If you love reading chances are Dr. Seuss has something to do with it! He wrote so many stories that there are fantastic and fantastical creations to fit everyone’s fancy! Today I’m reviewing my favorite collection of Dr. Seuss tales—I hope you’ll like it too!
The four stories in this collection touch on such topics as individualism, prejudice, stubbornness, fear, and just the ridiculous. Perhaps the best-known tale is The Sneetches, in which a community of Sneetches, some of whom sport stars on their bellies and some who do not, fall prey to a slick salesman and his star-on and star-off machines. The Sneetches run themselves ragged trying to be popular and keep up with the fad of the moment. In the end, Sylvester McMonkey McBean has made monkeys of them all and drives away with a smile and all their cash. He thinks they’ll never learn, but he’s wrong—the Sneetches are actually richer for McBean’s visit and become a closer-knit community.
In The Zax, a North-going Zax and a South-going Zax are strolling along on their individual tracks when they meet face to face in the middle of nowhere. Neither one will move the slightest inch to the left or the right to let the other pass. They stand “toe-to-toe” in unbreakable stalemate, even if it means the whole world must halt along with them. “Of course the world didn’t stand still,” Dr. Seuss tells us. The middle of nowhere became somewhere. Buildings went up, people moved in, and a highway was built right over the Zax, who are probably standing there still.
Ah, the poor mother in Too Many Daves! If only she’d had a little more imagination and forethought in the name department she may have saved herself a lot of trouble. One after one, however, she named her sons Dave—all 23 of them! Too late she thinks of all the other names she could have used, and here is presented a list of names that far outshines any baby naming book on the market. Be ready for giggles when you get to “Stinky.”
My very favorite story is What Was I Scared Of?. It has just the right combination of spookiness and humor to satisfy any budding mystery buff. One night while picking berries the hero of the story spies a “pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them.” The pants begin to show up in the oddest of places, no matter how hard the storyteller tries to escape them. The pants are rowing on the river, riding a bicycle, and walking the same path. When the pants and the narrator peek around the same bush, however, they’re both in for a surprise. “Why, the pants were just as scared as I,” the narrator reveals. Instead of gloating or running away, our intrepid hero learns that feelings are often shared and he becomes a friend to the pants that once so frightened him.
Of course these stories are all told with Dr. Seuss’s inimitable word choice, rhymes, names, and rhythm accompanied by his whimsical characters and landscapes.
Ages 4 – 9
Random House, New York, 1961 | ISBN 978-0394800899
Dr. Seuss’s Birthday/Read Across America Day Activity
I Have the Reading Bug Bookplate
There’s no better feeling than leafing through the pages of your own book! Now, to keep precious books from getting lost, you can dress them up with this printable I Have the Reading Bug Bookplate!
- Printable I Have the Reading Bug Bookplate
- Glue dots or thin removable mounting squares
- Print the I Have the Reading Bug Bookplate
- Cut out the bookplate
- Write your name on the line at the top
- Using glue dots or removable mounting squares attach the bookplate to the inside front or back cover