Sunday, March 10, 2013

The World According to Theodor Seuss Geisel


I believe that Dr. Seuss' books are an American Treasure.  Do I go too far?  I don't think so.  I really do not remember reading any of the Dr. Seuss books when I was little; however, all of them have become  "Just What I Need Books" throughout the years.  There is an uncanny wisdom in each of Dr. Seuss' books.  I often wonder if that wisdom was totally intentional or happenstance.

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born March 2, 1904 in Springfield, MA. He graduated Dartmouth College in 1925.  In 1936 on the way to a vacation in Europe, listening to the rhythm of the ship's engines, he came up with And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which was then promptly rejected by the first 20, 27, or 28 ( it depends on which story he was telling) publishers he showed it to. Eventually in 1937 a friend published the book for him, and it went on to at least moderate success.  The rest is truly history!

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

When I graduated from high school I received a copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go from a lovely aunt (and co-writer) and have kept it among my treasured books ever since.  It is one that I now read to
my son, especially as his preschool graduation comes closer, and one that I read to my graduating 8th graders each year.  It always amazed me that a Dr. Seuss book, which is usually filled with silly made-up words and creatures, could be so inspiring.  Every time I read the book, I find myself thinking of all the little goals I have made for  myself and which ones  I am going to start working to reach.  I hope my excitement for the book motivates my students whenever I read it to them as well.

I have to say that I have made it to some incredible places since I received the book way back when.  I have been backpacking through Europe and spent three weeks traveling through Italy with my husband.  We have roamed the east coast and Caribbean, too.  But nothing compares to the various "places" I have been while staying right here in New Jersey.  From graduation until now, I have become a teacher, a wife, and a mother, and yet every time I pick up this book, I think of all the exciting "mountains that are still waiting for me to be on my way!"  

In terms of ways to enjoy this book outside of reading it, there are so many activities that coincide.  Since most would use this book in a classroom to discuss students' goals and future plans, we highlighted a number of activities below that can be used as a way to enjoy the book at home.  We hope it proves to be just as inspiring to you as it does for us!

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies by Souders Cookery
 Inspired by the illustrations throughout the book, these cookies are a great treat to make with your children.  Then enjoy the cookies while you are reading aloud Oh, The Places You'll Go.

Hot-air balloon craft, August 2010
Kids can create their own hot air balloons to take them al the places they would like to go!

Oh, The Places We've Been by Home.Kids.Life.
I love the idea of keeping track of family trips with a map and some pushpins.  This can easily be put together with some materials from a craft store, like a map, a frame, and some pushpins.  Be as creative as you want with the frame and the pushpins to make the map more personalized.  The blog provides step-by-step directions.

 Incentive Jar by obSEUSSed

As someone who would much rather spend money on DOING things with my family than on toys, I loved this idea!  Kids are rewarded for good behavior by filling up an "Oh, The Places You Can Go" Jar.  The site gives some nice ideas on how to use the incentive jar we well as explains how to make one with a mason jar.  Another simple craft that the kids can help make, which will hopefully get them even more excited about using them! 

DIY Dr. Seuss Decoupaged Globe 

Oh, The Places You'll Go Globe by the Brass Paperclip Project

What a cool thing to do with a globe!  This would make a great decoration in a bedroom or playroom.

 So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. 
And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. 
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! 
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) 

Kid, you'll move mountains.

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