There is no one alive... ...who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, “I am lucky to be what I am!
Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham
Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam!
I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be!
If I say so myself,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
from “Happy Birthday to You”
a poem by Dr. Seuss
Theodore Seuss Geisel gave the world a gift. His silly rhymes, his made up words, his unexpected rhythms have kept children and the grown-ups who read to them entertained since 1937 when he published And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.
My Aunt Judy gave me The Cat in the Hat for my birthday the year I learned to read. I surprised myself by being able to read the whole thing. She knew I could do it. After all, she was a first grade teacher.
Her thoughtful gift gave me a feeling of accomplishment and a love of reading that grew into a love of sharing with others. It grew from reading to my little brother to reading to my children then reading to young library listeners and my own grandchildren.
Of course, my girls were “Thing One” and “Thing Two” in the most affectionate way. Of course, I renewed The Sneeches from the library so many times that I bought it. Of course, we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2 at the library every year.
Of course, I cried when I found out Ted Geisel passed away.
Dr. Seuss was a good man. Since he was too old to be drafted, he joined the army and served in the education division during World War II. He fought antisemitism and racism and isolationism with his political cartoons.
He spoke out against prejudice in his children’s books, too. Especially when the Whos from Who-ville remind us “A person’s a person no matter how small.” He wrote The Butter Battle Book, an antiwar commentary as fierce as any that has been written. And, of course, we all learned that Sneetches are Sneetches whether they are star-bellied or plain-bellied.
His Lorax fought for the environment by saving the truffula trees.
The Grinch learned about love and taught us that sharing kindness is better than any material gift we can give.
It is appropriate that I will be traveling this year on Friday. We’re going to celebrate my daughter’s and my oldest grandson’s birthdays.
I’m glad Dr. Seuss’s birthday comes in the middle of our own birthday season!