Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! A poetic tribute.


When I was a teacher, March meant many things.

I could always count on parent-teacher conferences, spring break, St. Patrick's Day dressed in green and my favorite... celebrating Dr. Seuss.

In college, one of my classes consisted of reading 150 children's books throughout the semester and reporting on each. The assignment was that we had to read  a number of the 150 books at a variety of levels. For example, wordless picture books, children books for ages two to six, children books ages seven to 12,  middle school and teen and young adult books.

Of course, Dr. Seuss was just a given. Everyone chose at least one of this author's famous books. But honestly, I wasn't Dr. Seuss's biggest fan. Though I thought better of stating that aloud because I didn't have a good reason except for the fact that I thought they were just---too silly and childish-DUH!

It wasn't until I taught my first year in first grade that I absolutely fell in love with Dr. Seuss and his writing style. Kids soaked this stuff up and they learned to read and write by making up silly, nonsense, laugh-out-loud ridiculous words. Who cared if "cack", "spack" and "dack" were not words.  Kids used them in silly made-up booklets and they also understood that words like "back", "lack", "stack" and "yak" (spelled "yack" to six year olds) were words and they could spell them using the "ack" word chunk. 

So, cheers to Dr. Seuss. And in celebration of his birthday, here's a special poetic tribute:

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Today is the birthday of old Dr. Seuss,
A man of many words, all put to good use,
Books with dark-lit windows and too many doors,
With upstairs and downstairs and too many floors.
Using words like "Once-ler" and "Sneetches" is silly at times,
But words such as these make for silly ol’ rhymes.
Creatively described on the house and the lawn,
Duck feet and Fox in Socks ingeniously drawn.
Children don’t question Geisel’s word choices he makes,
"DiffenDoofer" and "Octember" reveal no mistakes.
He writes without misspelling, he writes with no wrongs,
He constructs silly sentences, stringing new words along.
With creative new words, you’ll find that you’ll laugh,
With The Cat in the Hat and on Yertle the Turtle’s behalf,
No challenge is too challenging in writing a plot,
Impactful and impressive is Ten Apples Up on Top.
Horton hatches the egg because he said that he would,
Be careful of words like "I could" and "I should",
"I can" and "I will" is the way to success,
A Wacky Wednesday is meant to lessen the stress.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go if you just take a look
At The 500 Hats and The Tooth and Eye Book,
Impressions LeSieg has made on so many,
With a cat and the Lorax and characters of plenty,
Oh the Thinks you can Think, and all that you’ve earned,
Comes from reading and loving all the things that you’ve learned.
You’re Only Old Once, so dive into McElligot’s Pool,
Be open to adventure on your way to Solla Sollew,
Meet Thidwick and Horton, and Thing One and Thing Two,
Meet Mr. Brown and Marco, Daisy-Head Mayzie and Sue.
I Can Read with My Eyes Shut because you said that I could,
I’ve tasted Green Eggs and Ham because you insisted I should,
I can count One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,
And pretend There’s A Wocket in my Pocket, if I wish.
Dr. Seuss, I’d like to thank you for all the things I could do,
Like reading A, B, C’s and imagining If I Ran the Zoo.

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street with you,
Theodor Geisel, today, I wish a happy birthday to you!