What parents need to know about The Cat in the Hat
Parents need to know that Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat is a classic early reader book, originally published in 1957. Young readers will mostly side with the reckless, fun-crazed Cat and his sidekicks, Thing 1 and Thing 2, not the guilt-tripping goldfish who serves as the voice of reason. The book’s colorful illustrations capture the Cat’s exuberant spirit and match the rapid-fire rhyming text, which will encourage multiple readings.
What’s the story of The Cat in the Hat?
Two children, Conrad and his sister Sally, are moping indoors on a rainy day when in strolls THE CAT IN THE HAT. Making one of the most unforgettable entrances in the history of children’s literature, the lanky feline, stylishly dressed in a candy-striped stovepipe hat and oversized bow tie, creates a whirlwind of misbehavior that the kids are at first powerless to halt. He opens a box and releases Thing 1 and Thing 2, who cause even more trouble. But the goldfish is the voice of reason, and Conrad sends the Cat and his friends packing. The mess gets cleaned up before the kids’ mom comes home.
Is it any good?
This is a must-read classic for every child. In response to a pivotal Life magazine article titled “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” children’s author Theodor S. Geisel — aka Dr. Seuss — spent over a year shuffling a minimal assortment of words, polishing and polishing, until he produced this wacky, offbeat story for very young readers.
The Cat traipses into the house, juggles possessions, and invites his odd pals to help him trash the place. But the children’s grumpy goldfish, a self-appointed babysitter/morality czar, is a perfect foil for the mischievous Cat. And after the boy finally asserts himself and orders the fun-loving feline to “pack up those Things” and hit the road, the Cat is the picture of remorse — even his whiskers and bow tie droop. The Cat in the Hat is a wonderful read-aloud and a rollicking good time for kids and grown-ups alike.
Talk to your kids about…
- Families can talk about Dr. Seuss’s unique use of language in The Cat in the Hat. What’s fun about a book that uses rhyming to tell the story?
- How many sets of rhyming words can you find in the text? Do you notice any kind of pattern with rhyming pairs?
- What would happen in real life after the Cat’s crazy behavior?
- Do you think the children will be honest with their mother about what actually happened in the house that day?
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