Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 3, 2012

Read Across America recognizes life of Dr. Seuss

By MIKE FLETCHER
Tribune staff writer

— Even though the books were published well before the children were born, “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” were both top requests among a group of kids Saturday at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library South Branch.

And with their requests, more than 20 children sat quietly and listened intently as librarian Angela Garrett read the classic children’s books about a strange fellow named Sam and a silly cat with a red-and-white stripped hat.

Some kids chuckled as Garrett read the amusing 1954 tale, “The Cat in the Hat” Saturday during the annual Read Across America celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Born March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Mass., Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, captured the attention of children around the country with his funny tales and rhymes.

Following his death in 1991, the National Education Association began the annual tradition of Read Across America to mark Seuss’ life and literature.

After hearing the classic tale, children munched on some Seuss-themed treats and participated in several activities centered around the new movie based on Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax.”

The animated movie chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler, who wants to cut down all the truffula trees.

Children attending Saturday’s event made Lorax mustaches and truffula trees, constructed hats from gummy treats, played a game of pin the egg on the plate and had red fish blue punch.

“We’ll sugar them up and have a good time,” joked Tracy Daly, the head of children’s service at the library.

“It’s all about having fun and getting the kids involved in books and learning.”

Eric Smith and his wife, June Osterkamp-Smith, brought their two children, ages 4 and 10, and a 10-year-old friend, to celebrate the iconic children’s book author and take advantage of the library’s vast materials.

“We really enjoy bringing our kids to the library,” Eric said.

“The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library is one of the best library systems I’ve been to. I’m from Portage originally and we visit in-laws in Arizona, and the libraries there don’t come close to having the materials Howard County does.”

While the children all enjoyed Saturday’s activities, June said parents shouldn’t just limit their children’s library time to special events.

“We take our children to the library programs all the time,” said June, who is a teacher at Sycamore Elementary School. “All parents should bring their kids to the library.”

• Mike Fletcher may be reached at 765-454-8565 or via e-mail at mike.fletcher@kokomotribune.com