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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Cat on the loose so get ready for Read Across America Day

February 29, 2008

Is the cat (as in Cat in the Hat) coming to town near you? Three Cat-a-Vans will start their tours today to promote Read Across America, the national celebration of Dr. Seuss's March 2nd birthday.

It seems only fitting that the celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday involves reading. This is the man who is credited with writing the first books with a limited number of words that would actually stimulate beginning readers.

The first was the Cat in the Hat — now an emblem for Seuss's creative genius later followed by my personal favorite of the beginner books is Green Eggs and Ham(both Random). This silly book — written with only 50 words, by the way — still makes me chuckle even after lots (and lots and lots) of readings.

It's interesting that books with a purpose (these so-called easy readers), can motivate as well as provide success with so few words. I think it's the outrageous humor and the pure silliness in both picture and word that captures readers. And so will the life of Dr. Seuss.

The biography of Theodor Geisel makes a great read aloud (or read alone). Katherine Krull's picture book biography of the doctor, The Boy on Fairfield Street (Random House) presents a life that may inspire other young artists.

So, look for the Cat-a-Van in your area. And let's celebrate Seuss and reading on March 2nd — and beyond — by reading across America!


Books do make memories! My guess is that you and your granddaughter will remember this book long after she's graduated from college!

MY personal favorite (and that of my oldest granddaughter) is Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can YOU?

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"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges