Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dr. Seuss: Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

The nice woman working in the children's section of the bookstore recommended Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! and I decided to give it a try, since I haven't met a Seuss I don't like.

The Story:  The school in Dinkerville is different.  The teachers teach things like poodle identification and painting pictures while hanging upside down.  The students are happy and enthusiastic, until one day, the principal comes and tells them that they have to take a test.  If they fail this test, their school will be closed and they'll be forced to go to the dreary, boring Flobbertown School.  The students are scared, the principal is nervous, but the teacher is sure of the children - because they have been taught, among other things, how to think.  She is sure that they will pass any test, because they have been well-armed.  She was right, and the children get the highest score on the test, saving their fabulous school.  The principal declares it Diffendoofer Day, and everyone rejoices.

The Good:  This book emphasizes how important it is to learn to think for yourself, instead of just memorizing facts.  If you are well armed to use your brain, you can do anything.  The book was finished after Dr. Seuss' death (from some of his notes) and the illustrations are not typical Seuss, but they are fun and colorful.  It's a really fun book.

The Bad:  I can't think of anything, other than the fact that it might make you grumpy about the state of so many schools today, where memorization of rote facts seems to be the norm.  The purist Dr. Seuss fan may have issues with the non-Seussical illustrations.

The Verdict:  I want to share this book with everyone I know.  It's not that long, and it's got a great message.  Learn to use your fabulous brain, and anything is possible!  Thank you, Book Store Lady!

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