Friday, March 25, 2011

50 more books every child should read

Auckland author Gordon Dryden stumps for Seuss:

I’m always fascinated that such United Kingdom lists seldom include Dr. Seuss books. Any 50 of his masterpieces would make a great list.

Among many other reasons, they are by far the best to learn how “phonic” and “non-phonetic” English spellings rhyme:

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please”: so even very young children can quickly absorb the 11 different ways to spell the “long e” in American-English (English-English has 12 ways: adding quay).

Or “This is no time for fun, there is work to be done.”

In the 1970s, Dr. Seuss books had their biggest sales, proportionate to population, in New Zealand.
In fact, with the new figures on young New Zealanders who can’t read well, why not a new version of the original Houghton Mifflin challenge to Dr Seuss to write a book — using no more than the 225 most-used words in English?

His result: “The Cat in The Hat.”
And this, in turn, led to the great “Beginner Books” series.

Later publisher Bennett Cerf bet Seuss $50 that he couldn’t write a Beginner Book using only 50 words.
So Seuss created “Green Eggs and Ham”.

Ted Geisel (Seuss’s real name) still my favourite author. And favourite book: “Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book”.

All authors could benefit from reading “Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel”, a biography by Judith and Neil Morgan, Random House, New York (1995). Pic right - Ted Geisel.

No comments: