Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
The Cat in the Hat sequel
Like a bad penny, a drunken uncle, or your unrepentant ex (choose your analogy), that cat in the hat is back...and he's looking to make himself comfortable in someone else's space.
What Dr. Seuss did wasn't simple! He turned the reading world on its head with The Cat in the Hat books.
Want to learn more? Read The Annotated Cat (reviewed on this site).
Maybe the kids down the street bolted the door before he could get in. But "Sally and me" (that's the only name Seuss ever gives our humble narrator) are outside shoveling snow, so the cat just walks (skis, actually) right in the door.
And while the kids appear more responsible this time around - in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back they're working, rather than looking aimlessly out the window as in the original - the cat is less so. He doesn't even make a pretense of trying to entertain them this time, or even of starting up a conversation. He just wants a soak in the tub and some cake from the fridge. (At the same time.)
Ack! He's your kids grown up!
Well, little old "me" looks to throw the cat right out. He turns off the water and pulls the plug...and sees that the dirty cat has left
A big long pink cat ring!
It looked like pink ink!
And I said, "Will this ever
Come off? I don't think!"
Well, the cat - as per usual - has the answer...though not the right one. He gets the pink cat ring out with "Mother's white dress!"
Now the tub was all clean,
But her dress was a mess!
So begins a sequential adventure in cleaning, wherein the stain is transfered from dress to wall to shoes to rug in the hall.
(This is a rather magical stain, taken from an earlier Seuss story in Redbook, in which a stain jumps from one object to another.)
But when the stain stops jumping and gets stuck on Dad's bed, things get even weirder. You see, stains don't jump off of this kind of bed, so it's a good thing the cat keeps spare cats under that hat on his head.
Enter Little Cats A, B and C, behaving quite reminiscently of Things One and Two in the original (also reviewed on this site).
Under the pretense of cleaning the stain, they merely bat it about. Eventually they bat it right out of the house. Now it stains the snow.
Well, you can't have stained snow, don't you know! Enter Little Cats D through G.
D through G are experts in, well, shooting stains. They have pop guns (remember those?), but mainly they just splatter the stain...and of course have a great deal of fun in doing so.
Enter Little Cats H through V (yes, it's an alphabet book as well), who use baseball bats, lawn mowers, and bicycle-powered snow plows as cleaning utensils. Things, as you can imagine, don't get much better. Thank goodness for Little Cat Z, who appears to operate at the molecular level.
I won't say another word on the subject, except Voom.
Is The Cat in the Hat Comes Back a worthy sequel?
You bet. The zaniness is multiplied - check out what each of the 26 tiny cats is doing in each illustration - and Seuss's rhymes are as fun and flawless in rhythm as ever. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back is a joy to read aloud, which is why, even though it was intended as an Early Reader "Beginner Book," generations of parents have been "cheating" and reading it to pre-readers as well!
Every other Dr. Seuss book.
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