BROOKSVILLE — Millions of children born after World War II learned to read the simple, yet catchy rhymes in his books. More than 50 years later and more than 20 years after his death, some of Theodor Geisel's books still outsell many newer children's books. Who isn't familiar with The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Green Eggs and Ham?
Geisel is among the most famous and popular American writers, poets and cartoonists, but is known largely by his pen name, Dr. Seuss. He published 46 children's books, many with film and television adaptations.
On Saturday, the late author's March 2 birthday will be celebrated with a parade and party at the annual Hernando County Reading Festival at Nature Coast Technical High School.
The party and parade are among several new features this year. Hours are also expanded. And HEART Literacy and the Hernando County school system have a new partner helping with the festival — the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.
"We are really excited about it," said event chairwoman Denise Moen, who is supervisor of the Hernando County schools' adult community education and volunteer programs. "By joining forces, we are able to make the festival bigger and better."
Other sponsors include the Hernando County Public Library System, the Brooksville Rotary Club and several other community organizations and businesses.
At Seussville during the festival, children will be able to play 10 different games and win prizes. There also will be a booths with activities to win books and prizes. The public library system will have a craft table, and the Domino Club will offer coloring sheets and will teach children how to play dominoes.
Along with the activities, several children's authors will be in attendance, including 11-year-old Madeline Joan Wilks, who wrote Yellow Dot, Red Dot; Nancy Stewart, author of Bella Saves the Beach; and Shirley Temple Mitten, author of Braile's Tales.
Events include Jiggleman at 10:30 a.m., the Read Across America parade and Dr. Seuss birthday party — with cake — at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., John Storm's World of Reptiles at noon and the Black Light Theater presentation of "Puppetry Pride" at 1:30 p.m.
Tony the Balloon Guy will make balloon creations. If children do not wish to wait in line, they will be able to get a "fast pass" with a specific time when they can cut to the front of the line.
"There will also be a drama tent where kids can put on costumes, read a script and act out a story," Moen said.
She said Bright House Networks will have a weather station where children can "pick out the weather."
Goody bags will be given to the first 300 children to arrive. All adults will receive a raffle ticket and have a chance to win one of more than 15 prizes, including a free vacation. The drawing will be at 2:45 p.m., and winners must be present to win.
Also, Friends of the Library of Hernando County will have a children's book sale, with hundreds of books in barely used condition.