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It's a Seuss celebration in Pasco, beyond

The Cat in the Hat.

Hop on Pop.

Fox in Sox.

And, of course, Green Eggs and Ham.

Those are just a few in a long litany of "first readers" that Theodor "Ted" Seuss Geisel — better known as Dr. Seuss — penned for generations of youngsters — and, it turns out, more than a few oldsters, too.

Take a gander at Oh the Places You'll Go, for instance. This book could be the perfect gift for a tyke on his way to kindergarten, or perhaps an older student who's about to graduate from high school or college, even.

The name Dr. Seuss breeds such kinship that when his birthday rolls around each March 2, there's cause for celebration — even if the brilliant, rhyming author and illustrator has been gone for more than 16 years.

There were more than a few birthday celebrations in Pasco schools last week as kids and adults gave a nod to Dr. Seuss by taking part in the National Education Association's "Read Across America" celebration that, since 1998, has marked the good doctor's birthday. Some 45-million readers were expected to participate in the nationwide activity, held this year on March 3 because Dr. Seuss' birthday fell on a Sunday. The goal was to show children something about the joy of reading.

There were activities galore at Moore-Mickens Education Center in Dade City, where students in the Early Childhood classes held activities based on the books One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; Green Eggs and Ham; and Go, Dog, Go!, which was written by P.D. Eastman, a Seuss protege who wrote many children's books. The activities were for teen parents and their children in Cyesis Program, and students enrolled in Head Start and Pre-K classes at Moore-Mickens. Students in the culinary classes also got into the mix by whipping up — you guessed it — some green eggs and ham.

On the west side of the county, 12 members of Gulf High School's student council trekked to Deer Park and Richey Elementary to help youngsters make construction paper Cat in the Hat hats and play games such as "Cat, Cat, Hat" (think Duck, Duck, Goose) and "Pin the Green Eggs on the Ham."

Some spent a little time reflecting on their favorite Seuss book.

For Paige Phillips, 8, it's Green Eggs and Ham.

For Courtney Cohen, 18, who was already making plans to go to the midnight first showing of the soon-to-be-released Seuss movie, Horton Hears a Who, it's One Fish, Two Fish.

For Gulf High Student Council president Nikki Johnson, 18, it's Cat in the Hat and she donned the cat costume and let the kids chase her during the game "Cat, Cat, Hat," to prove it.

Dylan Richnio, 7, picked Hop on Pop.

"His books are timeless. They're classics," said Kristi Theurer, the media specialist at Deer Park Elementary who cites There's a Wocket in My Pocket as her favorite. "Most people think they're just for kids, but adults love them, too."

Awards: Academy Award for Gerald McBoing-Boing (best cartoon, 1951); two Emmys for Halloween is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (best children's special, 1977 and 1982, respectively); a Pulitzer Prize (special citation for his life's work, 1984); a Peabody for the animated specials How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton Hears a Who! (1971); a New York Library Literary Lion (1986); Caldecott Honor Awards: McElligot's Pool (1947), Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949), and If I Ran the Zoo (1950); the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award — the American Library Association's special award given to an author or illustrator whose books have made a substantial contribution and lasting impact on children's literature (1980).

The question he most dreaded: "Where do you get your ideas?"

>>fast facts

About Dr. Seuss

Fast facts on Theodor Seuss Geisel (GUY-zel), better known as Dr. Seuss:

Born: March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Mass.

Died: Sept. 24, 1991, in La Jolla, Calif.

Married to: Helen Palmer Geisel, 1927-1967; Audrey Stone Geisel, 1968-1991

Education: Bachelor of arts, Dartmouth College, 1925. Attended Oxford University (no degree).

Early jobs: Worked in the advertising department of Standard Oil. During World War II he created a series of "Private Snafu" training cartoons for U.S. military recruits.

Rhyming inspiration: Dr. Seuss' mother developed chants to remember the pies on special at the bakery where she worked; she repeated the chants to her son if he needed help falling asleep.

First children's book: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which had been rejected by 27 publishers before a former Dr. Seuss classmate working at Vanguard Press got it printed.

Books in print: At the time of Dr. Seuss' death, some 200-million copies of his books, translated into 15 languages, had delighted readers around the world.

Source: National Education Association and Seussville.com. For information, go to www.nea.org/readacross/index.html

It's a Seuss celebration in Pasco, beyond 03/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2008 8:08am]

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