Dr. Seuss's I Can Read with My Eyes Shut
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
Dr. Seuss's book about reading
This website is all about the importance of reading and thus urges parents to convey a love of reading.
This Seuss book is all about precisely that.
You can read about anchors.
And all about ants.
You can read about ankles!
And crocodile pants!
Young cat! If you keep
Your eyes open enough,
oh, the stuff you will learn!
The most wonderful stuff!
Yes, the title is unfortunate and so is the cover. One suspects the book would have made a made a greater mark if it had presented itself as what it actually is, namely, a book about the joy of reading.
Seuss, of course, is the patron saint of just that. He's the man who answered the call in 1957 (when the nation was fearful that the tedium of the Dick and Jane Early Readers were turning kids off of books) with The Cat in the Hat.
That of course is a book about something, a story. This book, featuring that Cat in the Hat (but much tamer; parenthood will do that!), is essentially about being able to read that book - or any other.
The Cat here is conveying to a younger, not-yet-reading cat what joy - and even power - results from the ability to read. The message is...
"If you set your mind to it, you'll be doing this wonderful grown-up thing soon enough!"
I Can Read with My Eyes Shut
What you might notice - that your kids won't - is that this isn't Seuss's most inspired work. Clearly the man more enjoyed telling stories than writing what is essentially a rhyming advertisement for reading; he'd actually left the ad world for storytelling decades earlier. You might notice that the meter falters every once in awhile, and he even leaves in a line that doesn't quite rhyme.
(Unless you think "about" rhymes with "shut." I'm not buying it.)
That said, though, with an enthusiastic read-aloud (and parents, you should always convey enthusiasm in your storytelling!), I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! will work its magic on any aspiring reader.
Every other Dr. Seuss book.
Read more of Steve's reviews.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.