The Historical Cat is still a ‘Cat with the Hat’
On National Read across America Day, I have chosen to talk about the book that taught me rhyme – The Cat in the Hat. The Cat in the Hat is a fanciful book to teach kids rhyme and how to read. At the time of its debut in 1957, this historical Cat was an instant success. The Dr. Seuss classic is still entrancing to children and the adults who read to them and it teaches.
The book is centered on the historical cat, a fish and two children, Sally and her unnamed brother, who stays bored at home on a rainy day when their mother is away. They are unexpectedly greeted by a cat with a tall red and white striped hat with several tricks up his sleeves despite the fish being displeased.
The Cat in the Hat struts in and first tries to balance as many objects as he can bear while holding the fish bowl high in the air. Then he falls and makes quite a mess, causing the children and the fish to get upset. Before the children can successfully kick them out, the cat in the hat encourages them not to shout. He has one more game involving Thing One and Thing Two, two creatures that end up leaving the kids confused. Before they know it, the Things run all about the house, flying a kite and knocking a lot of things down and wrecking the house in the process. Before the mother walks back in, the Cat in the Hat brings a machine to sweep up the mess like a wind and sneaks out.
All in all, I really liked the book, especially as a child. The story is so much fun that you barely realize that you are learning to read and I think the Cat in the Hat character entrances the kids that are reading the book in the same way that the Cat in the Hat entrances the children in the book who are stuck on a rainy day. The idea of the story is so simple that all the kids can relate to being bored and looking for odd things to do.
At the same time, this children’s book subtly hides the simple message of cleaning up after yourself and being responsible because otherwise, you will have consequences to your actions. However, the theme isn’t as blatantly obvious as the book and the vivid illustrations still encourage children’s imagination and fun sides. We tend to forget certain books that we read. But there are those other books, which they just stay with us. The Cat in the Hat is one among that kind of books. If you have grown up reading The Cat in the Hat, there’s a pretty good chance that your children will read it, too.