As a child, one of my favorite books was Dr. Seuss’s “Cat In The Hat”. I never grew up with cats, but now I have many. Combining two of my great loves, cats and hats, it still is a favorite book of mine. Each Christmas, I usually end up with a Cat In The Hat item or two.
The Cat in the Hat was written in 1957. Theodor Geisel, writing as Dr. Seuss, created The Cat in the Hat in response to the May 24, 1954 Life magazine article by John Hersey. Dr. Seuss responded to this challenge, and began work. His publisher supplied him with a list of 400 words, ones that the publisher thought children would be learning in school. His publisher told him to cut the list in half and to try and write an interesting enough book for children. Nine months later Dr. Seuss finished The Cat In The Hat, which used 223 words from the list plus 13 words that did not appear on the list.
In an interview he gave in Arizona magazine in June 1981, Dr. Seuss claimed the book took nine months to complete due to the difficulty in writing a book from the 223 selected words. He added that the title for the book came from his desire to have the title rhyme and the first two suitable rhyming words that he could find from the list were “cat” and “hat”. Seuss wrote the book because he felt that there should be more entertaining and fun material for beginning readers. More than 10 million copies of The Cat in the Hat have been printed. It has been translated into more than 12 different languages.
In the first book featuring the character (The Cat in the Hat, 1957), the Cat brings a cheerful, exotic and exuberant form of chaos to a household of two young children one rainy day while their mother leaves them unattended. Bringing with him two creatures appropriately named Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat performs all sorts of wacky tricks to amuse the children, with mixed results. The Cat’s antics are vainly opposed by the family pet, who is a sentient and articulate goldfish. The children (Sally and her older brother, who serves as the narrator) ultimately prove exemplary latchkey children, capturing the Things and bringing the Cat under control. To make up for the chaos he has caused, he cleans up the house on his way out, disappearing seconds before the mother arrives. I wish all cats were so helpful!
By: Polly Singer