For librarians and teachers and anyone who loves children’s literature, early March is always a little bittersweet, because March 2 is Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and he is no longer with us. Granted, he’d be 109 years old this year, but still. This year we in the Children’s Literature Department celebrated Dr. Seuss and his legacy in a BIG way. We started on Friday, March 1, with the 2nd Annual Dr. Seuss Readathon. For three hours in the afternoon it was All Seuss, All the Time. We invited library staff and some special guests to read aloud their favorite Dr. Seuss story or poem. It was fabulous! John Szabo, our City Librarian, read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day. Giovanna Mannino, the Director of Central Library, warned against the dangers of naming all 23 of your children the same thing in the poem “Too Many Daves.” Ken Brecher, President of the Library Foundation, wearing a most Seussian hat and wielding a rubber chicken, presented Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! The Cat in the Hat (aka Linda Israelson) regaled the admiring audience with the touching tale of Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Many other stories, poems, and even tongue twisters were read by many other fine readers to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.
On Saturday, March 2, we had a Super-Sized Seuss Storytime, not in our usual digs (the KLOS Story Theater), but in the Mark Taper Auditorium. “Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!” was a Seuss Extravaganza! We used iPad Apps to present “The Sneetches” and Green Eggs and Ham, and projected the pages of And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street (read by the Cat in the Hat – this time played by Mara Alpert) and The Butter Battle Book (read and accompanied with guitar by one of our amazing STAR volunteers, Eric Pratt). Of course there was more, and the event ended with a solemn recitation of Hop on Pop by a Very Important visiting Seuss Expert, “Dr. I.M. Important” (Linda Israelson), while Miss Mara and STAR Eric acted out the story with puppets using our brand new transportable puppet show stage. We couldn’t have done any of this without Russell Pyle and his lighting, sound, and technological wizardry, and Madeline Bryant, Senior Librarian of the Children’s Literature Department. We had a great audience (almost 200 strong!).
There have been and will continue to be many creative and influential children’s book authors and illustrators, and I think when we celebrate Dr. Seuss, in a way we are celebrating all of them. Don’t worry if you missed this year’s celebration. You can still visit the Children’s Literature Department and check out a great book by Dr. Seuss, and next year we will do all again, even bigger and better! 100 percent guaranteed!