Many American kids grow up on a steady diet of Dr. Seuss’ rhymes, but when one of your parents is a second grade teacher and then an elementary school counselor, your personal food pyramid is particularly laden with green eggs and ham.
As Friday would have been Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday, the man who encouraged kids everywhere to count “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” was on my mind. There was no way the day can go unmarked by my family each year. The celebrations are always concocted by my mother, with a bit of help from the girls and a healthy dose of groaning from the boys. Before her retirement from the Caldwell School District, Mom organized and pulled off a spectacular Dr. Seuss birthday party at Van Buren Elementary School each year. It was an evening event that included pulling in a variety of local policemen, firemen, politicians, community leaders, etc. to read to students and their families. On top of that, there were free books to be handed out to kids, there were treats galore and a festive atmosphere that made it impossible to not fall in love with reading! (There was also a fabulous Cat in the Hat costume, donned annually by my mother, which totally made the evening worth attending!)
After hanging up her red and white striped hat, Mom just couldn’t walk away from the wonders of Seuss and with a growing herd of grandkids, Dr. Seuss night was transferred from an official school duty to a grandparental one. It now consists of dinner at her house where invitees are encouraged to come in their pajamas. (Adults who wear less than appropriate pajamas are encouraged to come in comfy sweats. No birthday suits allowed at this birthday party.) After a dinner, not made of green eggs and ham, as there would be rebellion among the adult children, but rather potato salad (eggs included) and hamburgers (close enough!) my talented cake-decorating sister-in-law always provides a Seuss themed confection to be enjoyed by all. Dr. Seuss night lives on in the McDaniel household.
Distance (just a country’s-worth at this point, but soon to be several continent’s-worth) makes attending this year’s Dr. Seuss birthday party an impossibility, but to commemorate the author who introduces so many kids not only to reading, but to creativity and lands of imagination, here are three of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” –I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
-This is my personal favorite! It not only encourages reading, but couples it with another of my favorite things-travel. The only thing that could make it better would be a shout-out to shoes or accessories!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” –The Lorax
-This one is for my older sister, a science teacher and Lorax lover. While it comes from a book that was before its time on environmental issues, the spirit of it can apply to anywhere a positive difference can be made.
“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles
and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles…
…they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle
bottle paddle battle.” –Fox in Socks
-Finally, my favorite lines from my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book. I called eternal dibs on this one for Mom’s annual Dr. Seuss night at Van Buren!