EDITOR’S NOTE: This column, a celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the 50th anniversary of “The Cat and the Hat,” was published five years ago. With this weekend’s release of “The Lorax” on the big screen, it seems once again appropriate.

“The sun did not shine.

“It was too wet to play.

“So we sat in the house

“All that cold, cold, wet day.”

Such goes the intro to a most classic book,

that details a cat donning a fashionable look.

The stripes are distinctive

with its tall shape and form

Yet the words on the pages caught the country by storm.

Friday, March 2, marked a most special day,

Fifty years from the time school work became play.

A remarkable man wanted children to read

So he began to write books to fill the great need.

“The Cat and the Hat” was no Dick and Jane.

It was fun. It was zany. And never too plain.

Dr. Seuss filled a void

A need!

Inspiration!

He made reading fun, giving kids motivation.

The plot was quite simple, but a joy to behold,

The rhymes, the lines, the drawings all bold.

When the cat made his entrance

through the door to the mat

The kids’ need for excitement soon became fact:

“I know it is wet

“and the sun is not sunny.

“But we can have

“Lots of good fun that is funny!”

With basic words and simple lines

This goofy book was no sign of the times.

But Seuss did not cater to literary elite

He wrote to give youngsters their own special treat.

West Coast to East, in cities and towns

Kids were now reading with smiles and not frowns.

What was this sensation?

This miracle prose?

That changed reading primers

And turned the world on its nose?

With the stroke of a pen

and a talent for drawing

A man named Ted Geisel

became an instant Kazizzel!

(All students of Seuss know the rules of the game

Made-up words are OK, if they’re great fun to say.)

This week we celebrate a great man and his work

But his life deserves more than a cursory look.

An artist, an author, a nonsensical man

Geisel’s works still enthrall his legions of fans.

Seuss gave us more than fun words and great rhymes.

His books, we know now, were ahead of their times.

Through basic words, and understandable notions

He brought issues to life with skill and emotion.

With a “Butter Battle” he taught nuclear war,

His Lorax a hero in environmental lore.

His turtle was Yertle

His fish red and blue

Yet behind the nonsense issues always rang true.

Last Friday we celebrated Seuss’ birthday

With parties, celebrations and lots of fun play.

This year also marks the Cat’s age to 50,

Remarkably, really, how he remains all-too-nifty.

With imaginative talent, Dr. Seuss changed the world

Using magic, and laughter and a comical sword

But while Geisel has left us,

moving on to above

His words still remain, bringing passion and love.

Friday we honored the greatest of greats

And it’s now up to us to make the most of the date

Read to a child

Teach them joys of the word

And open their eyes to a limitless world.

Samantha Perry, a long-time fan of Dr. Seuss, is editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at sperry@bdtonline.com.

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