The Cat's Quizzer

by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's The Cat's Quizzer

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 4-8

Are YOU smarter than the Cat in the Hat?

That's the subtitle for the above-referenced book, but once you open it up, a different question is posed:

"Are YOU smarter than a Zozzfozzel?"

The Zozzfozzels (brother Ziggy and sister Zizzy) are two dull-witted kids purported to have gotten every question wrong in the book. The hope is that your child will be able to beat their score.

Trust me, it won't be a problem.

The Cat's Quizzer is a collection of trivia questions - mixed with nonsense questions - with an answer key at the back.

Our host, the Cat in the Hat, generally presents a few questions per page, with precisely the Seuss illustrations you'd expect.

"Which grows faster? An uncle's eyebrows...? Or an uncle's mustache?" No trick here, just trivia. (It's the mustache, per the Cat.) Review continues.

cropped image from The Cat's Quizzer

A couple of the questions stand out as truly wonderful. Two circus performers - Joe and Moe - stand on one end of separate see-saws. Falling from above - towards the opposite ends - are another circus performer (toward Joe's seesaw) and an elephant (toward Moe's). The Cat asks, who will fly higher, Joe or Moe?

Moe, right? Wrong. Moe's end of the see-saw is already up. The poor elephant will be landing on the down side. Moe won't be going anywhere.

The best questions have this visual element, where the picture is part of the question, rather than simply an accompanying illustration. Unfortunately, there are fewer of these than of the trivia (and nonsense) questions.

This book surely had more appeal in the 1970s - when it was published - before you could Google trivia questions for kids and have enough to keep them enthralled until they aren't kids anymore! In book form, though, the proceedings lose some of their appeal once you read through once and learn the answers.

So while there's some fun to be had here, it might wear off sooner than you think appropriate for a book you spent good money for. Lots of kids love trivia and Q&A though, and that makes The Cat's Quizzer an excellent library selection.

More Seuss books.

Read more of Steve's reviews.

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