In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I present my favorite Dr. Seuss book of all time:
My parents read Dr. Seuss stories to me all the time when I was a little kid. There were many books that I liked a lot (and most I still have memorized). But of all the wonderful Dr. Seuss books out there, my favorite is Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? I’ve read this to the Little Man a dozen times or more and I never tire of it. It is, in my opinion, Dr. Seuss’s wittiest book and it provides an important message to kids who often think they are the center of the universe.
I was certainly lucky to have parents that valued reading, and who, despite being busy, took the time to read these books to me over and over and over again, always patient and always with care. It is what I try to do with the Little Man, even though sometimes I am tired and just want to go to sleep.
Whenever I get down in the dumps, whenever I get a disappointing rejection slip in the mail, or run into a problem on a software project, or find that I am unable to do something that I really wanted to do, I pout for a minute or two, and then I think about this book, think about it’s message, and remember:
Some people are much more, oh ever so much more, muchly much much more unlucky than you.
It kind of puts everything into perspective.
At present, the book du jour that I read to the Little Man each night is Dr. Seuss’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. We read it every night and while I’d memorized it as a kid, I’d forgotten a lot of it until I started reading it again. Now I have it memorized again, and there is one passage in the book that comes across as rather prescient for a book written in 1960. Quoting from memory (because I’m not going to fetch the book right now), it goes like this:
We took a look
We saw a nook.
On his head, he had a hook
On his hook, he had a book
On his book was “How to cook”
We saw him sit and try to cook
He took a look at the book on the hook
But a nook can’t read so a nook can’t cook, SO…
What good to a nook is a hook cook book?
I don’t think you can read that passage in today’s world and not think of the Barnes & Noble e-reader device, which happens to be called a Nook. Of course the fact that nooks and books came together in the Dr. Seuss passage has only to do with the fact that the words rhymed.
Or does it…?
Today is the 107th birth of Dr. Seuss. When I was a little boy, my dad would read me Dr. Seuss books every night. (Well, it seemed like it was every night.) It was the 1970s. We’d sit on this rather hideously maroon-colored sofa and he’s read to me. When I was very young, it would be books like Hop On Pop and Fox In Socks. When I a little older it was books like The Sneeches and Other Stories, The Lorax, and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are.
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are was and is my favorite Dr. Seuss book. To this day, I still have the entire book memorized (I recited a portion of it to a small audience at El Cholo last night). When the Little Man was born, I couldn’t wait until the time when I could start reading him Dr. Seuss books. Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of that and I do it in the same way that my dad did it with me: I read the whole book, cover-to-cover, and with expression.
Thus, when I started reading him Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? I included even the dedication, which I remembered from those days in the 1970: “This book with love for Phyllis the Jackson.” I sometimes wonder who enjoys the stories more, me or the Little Man.
Thank you, Dr Seuss, and Happy Birthday!