'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 14 May 2009

Review: The Cat in the Hat

The ubiquitous Dr Seuss books probably don’t need reviewing – we’ve all read them and we’ve all read them to our children, and we all love them to bits, but I feel Kids Book Review would not be complete without at least reviewing my favourites and the favourites of my kids – so you’ll see one pop up from time to time.
The Cat in the Hat was one of my favourite Dr Seuss books as a child, along with Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Fox in Sox, The Lorax and Where is My Mother?

There is inherent magic in The Cat in the Hat. The storyline embodies naughtiness and excitement beyond any child’s wildest imagination, and to this day could send any protective parent into a tailspin, not to mention an adventuresome child.

Kids on their own? A stranger in the house? A talking cat? Trashing a house? Animal abuse (fish in teapots, Things in boxes)? Scandalous!

Of course, the success of this book is more than just the delightful naughtiness. The skilful nonsense rhyme and its delicious rhythm make it a delight to both read and read aloud. The invention, the pace, the wordage – all are timeless and will never be topped.

The illustrations are something incomparable – both in execution and design. Those retro, tri-colour pages of yesteryear just can’t be done today without looking ridiculous – they are the stuff of a delicious literary past long gone, and should stay that way so they can be admired and sighed over.

The fact that the Cat in the Hat is now available in virtually every single form imaginable (from CDs to blankets, bibs to stuffed toys and any number of book incarnations) is bad enough without sending this whimsical storyline into commercial oblivion. The technicolour movie version is a case in point.

Nonetheless, thanks to this spate of commercialism, The Cat in the Hat, and other books like it, are once again available in the small, hardcover format we once enjoyed as children, at affordable prices, meaning we can all fill our bookcases with the Dr Seuss library. We’re up to over 70 books, and counting.

And what a treat to be able to revisit our childhood through these books, and see our children similarly entranced, all at the same time.

The Cat in the Hat – every home library should have it.

Title: The Cat in the Hat

Author/Illustrator: Dr Seuss
Publisher: Random House
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0 394 90001 4
For ages: 4 - 10
Type: Rhyme, Picture Book

Related books:Dr Seuss’s ABC
Green Eggs and Ham
Hop on Pop
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
The Lorax
Horton Hears a Who
There’s a Wocket in my Pocket
Wacky Wednesday
Fox in Socks
Oh the Places You’ll Go
I Saw It On Mulberry Street
Are you My Mother?
Go Dog Go!
Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?
Yertle the Turtle
My Book About Me
If I Ran the Zoo
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb
The Shape of Me and Other Stuff
The Foot Book
Great Day for Up!
Please Try to Remember The First of Octember
I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words
I am Not Going to Get Up Today!
Ten Apples Up On Top!
Marvin K Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog
The Nose Book
In A People House
Circus McGurkus
I Wish That I Had Duck Feet
The Eye Book
…and many many many more…

Which is your favourite?