So Seuss-ified

We like to do a little Seuss fun around his birthday and the national efforts surrounding Read Across America Day. As Sara pointed out as we were planning our spring (ha!) programs, that day serendipitously fell on a Sunday this year - program - better yet, #unprogram!!

Over the years of my active storytelling (semi-retired from that freelancing now but it helped pay off my student loans!), I always got lots of bookings around this time at schools. I have a bagful of goodies to create Dr. Seuss fun so I am always up for all things Seuss especially when there is a larger national effort to spotlight his books.

I remember the days when his books flew off the shelves all the time. In our community, Seuss books are shelf sitters for the most part during the year. There is a flurry of action in February leading up to his birthday (we put limits on numbers of Seuss titles checked out by any one patron at any one time during this time). Then during the first few days of March everyone remembers the good doctor again and, with the spotlight on, a program of Seuss fun is always welcome and always well attended.

Here is my sure fire success recipe for the Dr. Seuss program for ages 3-8 where the focus is firmly on the books and their inherent goofiness. Hope you can use it too!

I Wish That I had Duck Feet by Theo. LeSieg
The funniest "I-didn't-know-that-was-a-Dr.-Seuss" book. I love to talk about how Dr. Seuss' real name was Theodore Geisel and that he loved to play with words and letters in his books and in  his name too. I point out that LeSieg is his last name spelled backwards. If we do a related activity with this book, I have them write their first or last name backward and come up with their own pen name!

I "tell" this book rather than read it although I use the book to show the very fun pictures. I have props I use to represent the deer horns, whale spout, tail, duck feet and elephant nose and often have kids come on up from the audience to hold on to them during the story. It is a screaming easy story to use and always kicks off the program with a bang.
I mine the book Sneetches: and Other Stories for two of my favorite stories. The first is one of the shortest and most unknown stories Dr. Seuss ever wrote: Too Many Daves about the unfortunately unimaginative parent who named all her offspring Dave and now wishes she had given them more unique names. I have little cards I make with all the 23 names and give them out to kids in the audience - well, and grown-ups and babies too (Babies get "Stinky" and an adults get "Oliver Boliver Butt" and "Paris Garters" and no one's feelings are hurt). Everybody loves this.

The second one is the scariest, spookiest story Dr. Seuss ever wrote: What Was I Scared Of? about a particularly ominous pair of pale green pants - with nobody inside them! We dim the lights a bit and off we go.

Stretch: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Dr. Seuss-y
I make up red fish cards and blue fish cards and kids get one of each. To the tune of the hokey pokey, we put our one fish out, then two fish, then red, then blue fish. Great fun for the kids and a nice link to the book that we have on display.

Goodbyes: kids always get a star sticker on their belly.

That is our half hour in a nutshell. I usually pick up a Read Across America packet at the ALA conference and copy an activity sheet or two for kids take home and sometimes have a giant birthday card to sign. It's a great easy way to link into a national PR effort, create fun with almost no preparation effort and celebrate books - a perfect unprogram event!

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