Dr. Seuss brings great lessons

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 3, 2002

I will not eat them in a boat;

I will not eat them with a goat;

I do not like green eggs and ham;

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I do not like them, Sam I am.

The immortal words of Dr. Seuss continue to ring out today from homes, schools and libraries across the country.

Dr. Seuss books were the first many of us ever read or had read to us.

Such glamorous titles as The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and Green Eggs and Ham are known as the beginner books and followed by titles such as Daisy-Head Maizie, Did I Ever

Tell You How Lucky You Are? Hunches in Bunches and the ever-immortal How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

And my personal favorite of the more advanced books &045; Oh, The Places You’ll Go &045; is one that I’ve given as a graduation gift many times.

Reading has always been very important to me. My parents read to me when I was still only cooing.

By the time I was 2, I marveled and amazed family and friends by reading the very books that had been recited to me day after day, hour after hour.

Luckily they didn’t realize that I had only memorized those books. I was not really reading them.

My parents loved the Dr. Seuss books so my brother and I got more than our fair share of them read to us.

A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to read to students at Westside Elementary School in honor of Read Across America.

So, I’ve spent quite some time searching for just the right Dr. Seuss book.

There are so many to choose from and until I began my search,

I don’t believe I realized the lessons that each and every one of them teach.

Of course, the beginner books teach children about colors and numbers, shapes, concepts and letters with Dr. Seuss’s ABC covers many of those subjects as well as The Shape of Me and

Other Stuff and Oh, The Thinks You Can Think.

But the more advanced books reach even farther.

The one I chose, for instance, Horton Hears a Who teaches a great lesson.

You see, this huge elephant, Horton, learns the value of the different types of creatures in his world.

Hearing a yelp for help from a small speck of dust, Horton says

I’ll just have to save him. Because, after all,

A person’s a person, no matter how small.

Horton recognizes that as the largest in the Pool of Nool, he should protect anyone smaller than him.

Isn’t that a great lesson?

Wouldn’t it be nice if all people felt that way?

And isn’t that the way it should be?

We should strive to respect, to protect and to be loyal to those smaller than us and larger than us and who are different from us &045; those who speak in a different language than us and who have different customs than us.

I think Dr. Seuss had a great idea for how the world really should be &045; and could be with just a little effort.

If everyone would take the time to respect others and protect others, we also, just like Horton, could reach a potential we’ve only dreamed of.

Of course, elementary schoolchildren will probably not get this from my reading Horton Hears a Who! but one day, they will realize it just like I did.

Hopefully, it’s an idea they can pass on to their children, too.

From sun in the summer. From rain when it’s Fall-ish,

I’m going to protect them. No matter how small-ish!