Updated: Jun 8, 2019
Things usually get worse before they get better!
I just read The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss for the first time. I wish I’d read it earlier – like when I was six years old – rather than now, when adding a zero to that numeral is still an underestimation of my age. If I had read it back then I’d have had a much easier life.
All really good children’s books contain gems enjoyed by adults. I’m thinking of Ratty’s words in The Wind in the Willows:
There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
Or Toad’s comment in Frog and Toad:
I cannot remember any of the things that were on my list of things to do. I will just have to sit here and do nothing.
But back to The Cat in the Hat. In case you’ve forgotten, it’s a rhythmical, rhymed story for beginner readers about a little boy and girl left alone at home. A lively black cat in a red and white striped hat turns up, does tricks and creates an almighty mess.
I can hold up the cup
And the milk and the cake!
I can hold up these books!
And the fish on a rake!
I can hold the toy ship
And a little toy man!
And look! With my tail
I can hold a red fan!
The cat even invites two impish friends to join in the mayhem, causing the children to despair of the house being cleaned up before their mother gets back. Of course, being a children’s book there’s a happy ending involving a multi-armed vacuum-cleaner-cum-car that should be standard equipment in every home containing children.
So what did I learn from this lighthearted romp of words that could win the Guinness World Record for the book with the most exclamation marks?
1. You don’t know if you can do something unless you try!
2. Uninvited guests add zest to the day!
3. Things usually get worse before they get better!
4. If you make a mess it's up to you to clean it up!
(I think I’ve caught the Exclamation Mark Fever!)
I’m off now to try and balance a cup, a bottle of milk, a cake, and a fish on a rake . . .
And after I’ve cleaned up the inevitable spills, I’ll get hold of a copy of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back to see what else I can learn from this feline optimist.
You can learn from everyone you meet – even from a cat in a hat!
With love, Marlane