BROOKSVILLE — It certainly looked like the Cat in the Hat was directing traffic on a recent morning at Pine Grove Elementary School.
Actually, the temporary crossing guard was first-grade teacher Mary Beth Longcoy, who was playing the role as part of the Dr. Seuss birthday celebration week.
With her black nose and whiskers and a tall red- and white-striped hat, she was the first indication of what the day would hold.
"His birthday was Friday, March 2," said librarian media specialist Bob Pellito, who coordinated the week's events. "He would have been 108."
The week, March 5 to 9, was full of activities. Monday was "Crazy Shirt Day," and "the kids came in with all kinds of shirts," Pellito said. Tuesday was "Crazy Foot Day," and students were invited to wear mismatched or funny socks and shoes.
Tuesday night brought families to school for a birthday bash, where there were guest readers, games related to stories and a giveaway of two computers provided by the Hernando Computer Club.
And, of course, there was cake.
Wednesday was "Drop Everything and Read Day." During reading time, teachers chose a moment to stop what they were doing to read a Dr. Seuss book. Thursday was red-shirt "Thing One and Thing Two Day," and "Crazy Hat and/or Hair Day" rounded out the week Friday.
The purpose of the celebration was to encourage students to read.
"The kids love something different," Longcoy said. "It brings excitement to education."
"The kids really enjoy it," he said, "as well as their parents."
The focus on one author, whoever it is, Pellito explained, helps the children choose books.
"Kids will read whatever is suggested to them," he said. "They're looking for guidance; we're directing them toward something."
During the week, the 78 Dr. Seuss books in the media center had dropped to 25 by Tuesday.
Pellito likes to focus on Dr. Seuss — Theodor Seuss Geisel — because, he said, no one is more well known in children's literature. Pellito admitted his favorite is Green Eggs and Ham, written, he said, as the result of a bet with his publisher that Dr. Seuss couldn't write a book using fewer than 50 words.
Dr. Seuss also celebrated life, Pellito said: "He celebrated fun."
Pellito said Seuss had three tenets of reading:
"Make it fun. Make it fun. Make it fun."