On a sunny spring day in Brooklyn when I was about 6 years old, my mother took me on a trip to Prospect Park. The true destination on this day’s journey was a venerable palace that to me looked like something out of a fantasy film. It was the Brooklyn Public Library and it was there that I discovered the majesty and magic of books in general, and in particular, the writings of the most imaginative children’s author ever to pick up a pen or sit down at a typewriter – Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat opened up something in me that has never gone away – my love for words and the imagery they conjure up in the minds of anyone lucky enough to pick up a book.
Needless to say, over the years I have read every Dr. Seuss book, both as a child and then as a parent, reading bedtime stories to my daughters. Decades went by and I saw the writings of this gentle genius transposed to the stage and screen.
This month I will be taking my granddaughter to witness for herself the comings and goings of Thing 1 and Thing 2 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.
Do you remember the story?
It’s a dreary old rainy day and Sally and her brother are stuck inside their house, staring out the window with nothing to do. But everything quickly changes when they hear a “bump” and in walks a cat wearing a red and white striped hat! Sally and her brother quickly discover that the Cat in the Hat is the most playful and mischievous cat they will ever meet. Suddenly the day is transformed by the Cat and his games. Playing indoors has never been so much fun. The pet fish, however, does not approve. He thinks the Cat should leave at once. The Cat declares that he does not wish to leave and then decides to show the children a new game. He promptly bring in a big red box and introduces Thing One and Thing Two to Sally and her brother. Playtime gets crazy with their antics and the children realize the Things must be stopped.
They are finally able to catch the Things but the house is in complete disarray! Will their house ever be the same? Can the kids clean up before mom comes home? With some tricks (and a fish) and Thing Two and Thing One, with the Cat in The Hat, the fun’s never done!
About Dr. Seuss:
Dr. Seuss is known worldwide as the imaginative master of children’s literature. His books include a wonderful blend of invented and actual words, and his rhymes have helped many children and adults learn and better their understanding of the English language. Theodor Seuss Geisel, “Ted” to his friends and Dr. Seuss to his many fans, wrote and drew pictures for most of his life, publishing his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, in 1937. Twenty years later, a book called Why Johnny Can’t Read and an article of the same name claimed that most books and illustrations intended for children were boring and unimaginative. That’s when two publishing companies gave Dr. Seuss a challenge: use 220 vocabulary words for new readers to write a dynamic children’s primer. Thus, The Cat in the Hat was created.
Sunday March 12
Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown