One of the reasons why many of Dr. Seuss’s best books resonate with both children and grown-ups, is the way he has compressed important life lessons into ostensibly lightly-worded and catchy rhymes that can be understood by anyone. And one of the best examples of his genius at work is, of course, Green Eggs and Ham, which, incredibly, contains only 50 different words — the happy result of a bet between the author and his publisher — and is ideal for the youngest readers.
Dr. Seuss’s childhood played a big role in shaping his books, as evidenced by And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which immortalised two of the streets in his hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts — Mulberry Street and Bliss Street. Interestingly, the sign post in the book contradicts the actual geography of the neighbourhood, since the two streets do not meet in real life. (Who knows, perhaps he was alluding to the fact that he enjoyed the sights and sounds on Mulberry Street when he was a child.)
In this aptly wacky story, a child wakes up to discover a shoe on her bedroom wall, and it soon becomes clear that it isn’t going to be an ordinary day — in fact, far from it!
There’s No Place Like Space! is a fantastic book to introduce kids to the idea of outer space and planets. Part of the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library collection, this book uses flowing rhyming prose and the typically colourful and wacky illustrations of Dr Seuss books to give a brief but comprehensive overview of the Solar System, including the major characteristics of each of the eight planets. The content also touches on satellites, stars and constellations.
The Eye Book is one of the great Beginning Beginners books by Dr Seuss for babies and young toddlers. The easy rhymes and cute illustrations make this book on eyes — and all the things we see with them — a pleasure to read.
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? is a silly and fun rhyming book about the different sounds that we hear. The text encourages kids to mimic them as Mr Brown does — although, when you read it out loud, you can’t really help but do it too!
We love most of the Dr Seuss Beginning Beginners books, and those that focus on specific parts of the body are particularly great for babies and young toddlers who are learning about themselves. Like the Eye, Nose and Ear books, the catchy rhymes and fun illustrations in Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb make it fun to read out loud. And because the book is about hands and fingers, it encourages the little ones to drum their fingers or hands along with the monkey, like so:
Another fun rhyming book on bodies by Dr Seuss, The Belly Book talks about bellies and how everyone has one, albeit different ones — “hard belly, soft belly, bunny belly, funny belly”, etc. It also reminds kids to love their bellies by eating healthily — a message worth reiterating.
The bear in Old Hat New Hat is attracted by the new hats in a shop window, but when he enters the shop and is shown numerous hats by the hapless store owner, he rejects them for various reasons, and eventually realises that he still likes his old hat after all. The pictures are big and colourful and the numerous adjectives used to describe the hats are great for vocabulary building. My daughter loved this book — it probably helps that she loves wearing her floppy hat too!