Since its inception five years ago, the National Education Association's Read Across Americacelebration has fallen on (or around) March 2, the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Best known in the kid-lit realm as Dr. Seuss, in the 1950s Geisel invented a unique literacy-boosting formula by creating attention-grabbing kids' books that used rhyming core words to unfold their ridiculous plots. And though he passed away more than ten years ago, his legacy is indomitable.
Why do we love Ted Geisel's books? Pick one up forty years later, and it's like you never left. That old, refreshing sense of anarchy-with-a-message comes hurtling back at you: The always-cheerful brat of a cat dons his hat, meddlesome Sam-I-Am wheels in the green eggs and ham, and the Hinkle-Horn Honking Club is once again off to bed. Learning was never this much fun, and it may never be again -- a testament to Seuss's timelessness. Often imitated but never duplicated, the works of Dr. Seuss do everything expected of the best children's literature and more, all while causing us to laugh out loud.
Locally, scheduled Read Across America events include Saturday's Junior League-sponsored Read 2K Children's Book Fair, a book giveaway with kids' activities taking place at five metro-area locations; and a Dr. Seuss toddler birthday party, complete with cake and readings, on March 3 and 7 at the Children's Museum of Denver. Like the good doctor's massive Yertle-mound of books, it's all in fun -- and educational, too. Better still, you don't really have to go anywhere to celebrate in your own private way. All you need is a book.
So go read to your kid. Go read to any kid. It's a great place to start. And here's a good a place as any place to end up: "I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-Am!"