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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss


Theodore Seuss Geisel AKA "Dr. Seuss"
- Birth: March 2 1904
- Death: September 21 1991

Dr. Seuss is one of the most recognized names in any home across the United States. The wonderful children's author is widely celebrated now but most people don't know the whole story behind the man that brought you "The Lorax", "The Cat in the Hat" and "To Think That I Saw It On Mullberry Street".

Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as the famous "Dr. Seuss" was born into a family of German Immigrants in 1904 in Springfield, MA. Both his Father and Grandfather were brewmasters and prohibition hit the family hard.

Geisel went on to attend Dartmouth  College. While in attendance he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and became editor-in-chief  of the colleges humor magazine "Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern".

It was at Dartmouth that the pen name "Seuss" was born. Caught drinking on campus during the prohibition Dean Craven Laycock insisted that Geisel resign from all extracurricular activities, including his position on the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern. He began signing with the name "Seuss"as a way of continuing to publish his work.

Geisel graduated Dartmouth in 1925 and went on to attend Lincoln College, Oxford. He intended to pursue a PhD in English Literature until he was encouraged by Helen Palmer (who later became Geisel's wife) to forget about teaching English and focus on his drawing.

Geisel ended up leaving Oxford without a degree and returned to the United States in February of 1927. He began submitting his work to all sorts of Magazines, Book Publishers and Ad Agencies. On July 16, 1927 he had his first nationally published cartoon published in The Saturday Evening Post.

He went on to work as a cartoonist at the humor magazine Judge which gave him the financial stability to marry Helen. They were married one month after his first appearance in Judge magazine on November 29, 1927.

With ample funds from his work he and Helen traveled extensively. They ended up visiting 30 countries together in total. Geisel claimed that travel helped his creativity. It was on a ship returning from Europe that the inspiration for Geisel's first book came to him. The rhythm of the ships engine inspired "To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street".

Although "To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street" is now a household favorite Giesel reported that it was rejected somewhere between 20-43 times. In fact we only have this beloved children's book because as fate would have it Geisel was walking home to burn his manuscript when he ran into an old classmate from Dartmouth who helped him get published with Vangaurd Press. Geisel went on to write 4 more books before the United States entered WWII.

When the United States entered WWII Geisel began some of his most influential work, though sadly most people don't remember his work as a Political Cartoonist. In the time span of 2 years he produced 400 cartoons for the New York City Daily newspaper.

Later his political cartoons were published as a book, "Dr. Seuss Goes To War". Geisel often defended President Roosevelt's handling of the war while criticizing isolationists and denounced Hitler, Mussolini and racism on the home-front.

In 1942 Giesel became very focused on the war effort. He began drawing posters for the U.S. Treasury and the War Production Board. In 1943 he joined the Army as a Captain and oversaw the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit. He began working on propaganda films such as 

"Your Job in Germany"

 "Our Job in Japan" (which was the basis of the Academy Award Winning film "Design for Death) 

and "Private Snafu". 

He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work with the military.

When the war ended Geisel went back to writing children's books. He attempted to write feature films and went on to create the musical "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T". It was released in 1953 and was a flop. Geisel never tried his hand in feature films again.

In May of 1954 Life Magazine published a report citing the illiteracy of school aged children was due to not having interesting books. The director of the education division at Houghton Miffin compiled a list of 358 words every second grader needs to know. He challenged Geisel to cut down the list to 250 words and to produce a book children couldn't put down using only those words. 9 moths later Geisel returned with "The Cat in the Hat"

Geisel died of Oral Cancer on September 24, 1991. Four years later on December 1, 1995 UCSD renamed their University Library "Geisel Library". The University wanted to honor all his contributions to the library and his devotion to improving literacy.


Which brings us to today. Every year we celebrate the man that taught so many of how to read and introduced us to the world of books. Every March 2nd we honor "Dr. Seuss" on the day of his birth with READ ACROSS AMERICA! Across the country thousands of schools, libraries and community centers participate with Seuss inspired treats, activities, showings of the films based on his works and devoted reading time. It was always one of my favorite days in school!


Theodore Geisel certainly left his mark on this world when he left. Despite his flaws he was an amazing, imagnitive and inventive man. Feel free to celebrate his life any day of the year! NOt just on his Birthday.

Perhaps you might like to catch the play based on his works....


Read Across America 2014


Read Across America will be celebrated March 3rd, 2014!
How will you celebrate?

Take The Readers Oath

I promise to read
Each day and each night.
I know it's the key
To growing up right.
I'll read to myself,
I'll read to a crowd.
It makes no difference
If silent or loud.
I'll read at my desk,
At home and at school,
On my bean bag or bed,
By the fire or pool.
Each book that I read
Puts smarts in my head,
'Cause brains grow more thoughts
The more they are fed.
So I take this oath
To make reading my way
Of feeding my brain
What it needs every day.

Make Seuss Food

Who Roast Beast

 i Who /i  Roast Beast

Dr. Seuss’s illustrations of the Who’s celebrated Roast Beast in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! leave the dish’s main ingredient pretty open for interpretation. Whoever carves this beefy Roast Beast should be on alert—everyone will be clamoring for seconds!

What you’ll need:

For the Roast Beast
  • 4-5 pound boneless strip loin roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse, freshly ground pepper
  • salt
  • meat thermometer
For the trimmings:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • carrots, parsnips, onions, potatoes—all peeled and cut into one-inch wedges
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • parchment paper
Preheat oven to 255 degrees. While preheating, sear the roast in the olive oil and garlic, browning it on all sides. Place beef roast on a roasting rack in large shallow roasting pan, fat side up.
Mix all the herbs together in a small bowl then sprinkle the roast with the herbed mixture. Roast meat in the oven approximately 30 minutes per pound until it reaches 140 degrees on your meat thermometer.  After you remove the roast from the oven, cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
While the roast is cooking, peel and cut vegetables and place them in a large bowl with the olive oil, herbs, and seasonings. Ready a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
Once the roast is out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 35 minutes or until tender. Check vegetables several times during baking to stir and ensure even browning.
A roast beast calls for ceremony, so get out a nice platter, place the meat in the center and surround it with the roasted vegetables. Then feast, feast, feast, feast!

Who Hash

 i Who /i  Hash

Get creative in the kitchen and save the canned Who Hash for the Grinch! What’s included in hash varies from one cook to the next and can really be any combination of chopped ingredients that taste good browned up in a skillet. Teach your kids how leftovers can be transformed into a quick and tasty meal when you experiment with making your own Who Hash.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 chopped onion 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • cooked meat chopped into small pieces (corned beef, brisket, ham, sausage, turkey–whatever you like or have on hand)
  • diced potatoes (or sweet potatoes)
  • diced vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery, bell peppers–whatever you like or have on hand)
  • salt, pepper and other seasonings, such as thyme or rosemary
  • chicken or vegetable stock (optional)
  • cabbage or spinach (optional)
  • eggs (optional)
If you are using leftover cooked vegetables in your hash, dice them first into smaller pieces. Or simmer any potatoes or fresh root vegetables you plan to add to your hash in stock until just tender. Drain and set the vegetables aside.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, peppers, and/or celery and cook and stir for 5-6 minutes before adding garlic. Cook until tender. Add butter, cooked potatoes, any leftover or other cooked vegetables, salt, pepper, and seasonings and cook until potatoes are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add cooked meat and heat through.
If you like, sauté some shredded cabbage or chopped spinach and serve your hash on a green bed. You might also try frying or poaching an egg and placing it on top of each hash serving.
Be sure to write down your recipe for Who Hash. It may become a family tradition!

The Cat’s Hat Parfait

 The Cat’s Hat Parfait

This luscious, velvety hat is for eating, not wearing!

What you’ll need:

  • straight-sided clear glass or plastic tumblers
  • long-handled ice cream spoons
  • vanilla yogurt (thicker Greek yogurt works well) or vanilla ice cream
  • your favorite fresh red berries or cherries, coarsely chopped
  • whipped cream
  • decorating bag or plastic sandwich bag (optional)


Wash fruits, let dry, then coarsely chop. In each glass, alternate layers of vanilla yogurt with your favorite fresh red berries or cherries, creating the red and white stripes of the Cat’s hat. To keep the yogurt from smearing, use a decorating bag (or plastic sandwich bag with the corner cut off) to fill the glasses.
Depending on availability and tastes, you could also make parfaits using pureed frozen fruits thickened with a little cornstarch or canned cherry pie filling and vanilla ice cream.
Top off these toppers with a dollop of whipped cream and dig in!

Truffula Tree Cake


 Truffula Tree Cake

A cake makes a special day even more special! Have fun baking together and then enjoy your Truffula Tree Cake when you celebrate Earth Day or other special occasions.

What you’ll need:

  • your favorite cake recipe
  • 1 9-inch round cake pan (greased and lightly floured)
  • 1 cupcake pan and 12 paper cupcake liners
  • 1 9-inch plate
  • ingredients for Truffula Fluff Frosting (see recipe below)
  • ingredients for Buttercream Bark (see recipe below)
Make your favorite cake recipe. Divide the batter to fill the 9-inch cake pan and the cupcake pan. Bake according to your recipe. Remove cupcakes from pan to cool on a rack, but let cake cool completely before removing it and placing it on a plate.
While cakes are cooling, start your Buttercream Bark.
Buttercream Bark
4 tablespoons of butter (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
2 tablespoons milk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder
yellow food coloring
Using an electric mixer, blend butter until fluffy. Add the sugar, milk and vanilla and blend on low for one minute. Increase mixer speed to medium and blend until fluffy.
Remove 2/3 of the frosting and set aside. To the other 1/3, add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and blend until creamy. If frosting seems dry, add more milk.
Add yellow food coloring to the frosting you set aside and mix until color is uniform.
Cover your Buttercream Bark and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
If your cupcakes are cool, ice them smooth with the yellow frosting. Using a decorating bag and medium round tip, add zigzag chocolate bark lines to six of your cupcakes across the middle.  Set your iced cupcakes aside and get out your double boiler and start your Truffula Fluff Frosting.
Truffula Fluff Frosting
2 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring
Fill the lower pan of your double boiler with water until it nearly touches the bottom of the upper pan. (If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use an oven-safe glass or metal mixing bowl that fits snugly into a saucepan.) Place the double boiler on the stove.
In the top pan of the double boiler combine all the ingredients except vanilla with an electric mixer.
Turn the burner to medium-high and cook over rapidly boiling water, while continuing to mix on high speed. Beat until mixture stands in peaks.
Remove from heat and separate top pan from the double boiler. Add vanilla and continue beating until frosting is thick. Add food coloring of your choice and mix until color is uniform. Use immediately.
Frost your round cake with Truffula Fluff by dropping the frosting in large spoonfuls all around the cake.  Use a spoon or spatula to pull up the frosting into interesting peaks to create a Truffula Tuft.
On the table where you plan to display and serve your cake, arrange the cupcakes (tree trunk) under the cake (tree tuft).
Variation: If you make a shorter trunk for your Truffula tree, you can use the other cupcakes to make the Lorax and some of his friends.
The Lorax: Before adding yellow food coloring to your Buttercream Bark, save a spoonful of white icing in a decorating bag with a round tip. When you’ve iced enough cupcakes for your tree, set aside a large spoonful of yellow icing. Add red food coloring to the remaining yellow icing to make orange and use it to frost a cupcake. Put the yellow icing in a decorating bag with a round tip and use it to add a mustache across the middle of the cupcake. Use your chocolate icing to make a nose above the center of the mustache. Add eyes using the white icing you saved, adding pupils with the chocolate. Finish with yellow eyebrows above the eyes.
Brown Barbaloot: Use the chocolate frosting you made for bark lines to cover a cupcake. Press two mini pretzels into the cupcake for ears and frost with chocolate frosting. Add two white eyes the fill in the pupils and other facial details with more chocolate frosting.

Make Seuss Crafts

Creating Beautiful Branch Art

Creating Beautiful Branch Art

In The Lorax, we see what happens in a world without trees. Don’t take trees for granted! Celebrate all the beauty and benefits trees add to our lives. Collect fallen branches or twigs in your yard, on the street, or in the nearest park and then decorate your home with their elegant and interesting lines.
  • Arrange bouquets of twigs in empty bottles, jars or vases.
  • Position small branches over the tops of framed pictures and mirrors.
  • Place a branch in a container and trim it with pledges to the planet written by each family member onto Truffula tuft–shaped notes.
  • Decorate a branch with other found objects—shells, stones, pods, seeds, or feathers.
  • Adorn stems with crepe-paper buds and blossoms and place in a vase as a centerpiece.

Make a Kite

Make a Kite

Thing 1 and Thing 2 really like to fly kites! Your kids will like flying kites too, especially this lightweight kite they can make and decorate themselves.

What you’ll need:

  • plastic straws and wooden bamboo skewers
  • lightweight plastic bag
  • transparent tape
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • permanent markers
  • stickers, feathers and other items for decorating (optional)
  • tissue paper and glue (optional)
  • 50-75 feet heavy thread or kite string


This kite is fast and fun; so don’t worry about precise measurements. The size of the kite will depend on the length of the straws. Take two straws and insert skewers inside each. Tape the ends of the straws closed.

Cut open a plastic bag and lay it flat. On top of the bag, lay the straws in a “t” shape.

Tape the “t” to the bag, pulling the plastic taut as your child places the tape. Place tape near the ends of the straws and halfway between the ends and where the straws cross.

Use the ruler and marker to draw a diamond shape around the “t.” Cut out the diamond shape using scissors.

Take the scraps left from the plastic bag and cut a long streamer to create a tail for the kite. Tie the tail to the straw near the bottom of the kite. Secure in place with tape if needed.

Kids who want to decorate their kite should do so before adding the flying string.  Use permanent markers to draw on the plastic or glues tissue paper shapes to the kite.  Feathers, ribbon or stickers are also fun decorations.

When finished decorating, poke a small hole in the plastic where the straws cross. Insert thread or string around the cross and back through the plastic. Tie securely.

Go fly a kite—outside! This kite works best in a gentle breeze or mild wind.

Kids can also experiment with other materials for making kites! Try newspaper, tissue paper or an old poster instead of a plastic bag.

Seussical Musical Instruments

 Seussical Musical Instruments

Kids will delight both music lovers and the Lorax when they create original Seussical instruments out of items from the recycling bin! Make enough instruments to form a family or neighborhood Boom Band or get everyone to play and parade up and down Mulberry Street!

What you’ll need:

  • items from the recycling bin (plastic bottles with a short neck, collar and lip; cardboard tubes; plastic caps with extended nozzles)
  • items from the shed, garage or hardware store (garden hose or plastic tubing; funnels)
  • poster board or construction paper
  • Dr. Seuss titles such as Horton Hears a Who!, The Sleep Book, Happy Birthday to You!, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? and If I Ran the Circus
  • masking tape, painter’s tape, or duct tape
  • paint, glitter, stickers (optional)
  • scissors and craft knife


Read together and seek design inspiration from the three-nozzled bloozer, one-nozzled noozer, the Birthday Horn, the Hinkle-Horn, the Poggle Horn and other brass instruments created by Dr. Seuss.

To build an instrument that will produce sound, it will need to have a mouthpiece and a funnel-shaped bell. The tubes or pipes that connect the mouthpiece to the bell won’t have valves like a traditional brass instrument, but they will help channel the sound and when twisted and turned, look extremely Seussian!

It is a good idea to have kids sketch an idea for their instrument first. But before they start drawing, have them take a look at the materials available for building.

If you’re relying on items from the recycling bin, have kids tape cardboard tubes together into the desired shape and length. Form a bell by making a cone from poster board and attaching it to one end of the tube using tape. On the other end, secure a mouthpiece that’s made from the top of a plastic bottle. To make the mouthpiece, an adult should use a craft knife to cut around the shoulder of the bottle. Fit this piece snugly into the instrument tube and secure with tape.  The neck, collar and lip of the bottle should protrude from the tube for blowing.

For making an instrument with items from the shed or garage, an adult should cut a desired length of clean hose or tubing.  Kids can fit the stem of a funnel onto one end. The stem can either fit into the tube or the tube can fit into the stem. Secure with tape.  Add a mouthpiece to the other end. A plastic cap with an extended nozzle works well as the nozzle tip can be fitted into the tube. Use tape to secure interesting coils and loops shaped from the tubing.

Before kids start blowing their instruments, have them practice buzzing their lips together as if they are blowing a “raspberry.” When they make this noise into the mouthpiece, it vibrates and produces the instrument’s sound!

Let kids use paint or glitter to decorate their instruments. Then strike up the band!


Do Seuss Activities

Lorax Leis

 Lorax Leis

Flower garlands are part of celebrations in many cultures. Start an Earth Day tradition in your family of wearing or decorating with flower garlands that you make together.

  • Pick sturdy flowers with long stems. Dandelions, daisies and marigolds work well.
  • Start with two flowers. Cross one stem over the other at the base of the bloom and use your left hand to hold them together where they cross.
  • Use your right hand to wrap the top stem around the back of the bottom stem and bring it through the middle of the two blooms.
  • Hold the wrapped stems together. Add another flower by placing it on top of the stems and to the left of the wrapped blooms. Repeat the same wrapping of each new stem as above.
  • Add lots of flowers for a long, festive garland. Hang up your flower chain or tie the ends together for a table centerpiece, a flower crown, or necklace.   


Mapping the Places You'll Go

 Mapping the Places You ll Go

In Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, we see what happens when a young upstart sets off into the world. Celebrate your child, the journeys taken and those yet to come. Use maps and suitcases to decorate your home for a graduation party or to start everyday conversations about places to go and things to do!

  • Remind the readers in your family of all the places books can take you. An open suitcase on the floor makes a great book bin and invites exploring the world through books!
  • Create a display in an old open suitcase with items that showcase your child and his or her accomplishments. If you’ve saved baby shoes, art projects, sports trophies, sheet music, certificates, ribbons, report cards and the like, arrange and hang them in the suitcase. Make this tribute to your child a centerpiece at their graduation party.
  • Map your child’s past and plan for the future! Hang local, regional, national or world maps and use different colored pins with notes to show your child’s favorite haunts, special vacations, planned trips and previous and future residences. Have other note cards and pins available for friends and family to mark their spots (and to invite your child to visit).

For more ideas on how to celbrate the Dr. Seuss way visit 

Whatever you do to celebrate I hope it is a FABULOUS DAY!

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