It’s hard for me to pick a favorite. All of them cluster around number one, ordering themselves by publication rather than preference. Dr. Seuss’ books are just that good: they all deserve first place.
As soon as my oldest was old enough to tell one book from another, she would reach for Mr. Brown Can Moo every time. As we read it to her, she bounced along to the rhythm, expectant and delighted. All three of my kids felt sorry for poor Hooper Humperdink and were not a little concerned about what they themselves might see on Mulberry Street. On their birthdays, we read Happy Birthday To You, and okay, we read it on my birthday too because really: who would want to miss out on the Official Katroo Birthday Bird saying:
“Shout loud at the top of your voice, ‘I AM I! ME! I am I! And I may not know why . . . But I know that I like it. Three cheers! I AM I!’”
But I guess I’d have to say The ABC Book is the Seuss book most indelibly impressed on my memory. Aunt Annie’s Alligator. Barber, Baby, Bubbles, & a Bumblebee. Ear, Egg, Elephant, Kitten, Kangaroo, Painting Pink Pajamas, and that lucky Rosy Robin Ross. (I wish I could ride a red rhinoceros.) Dr. Seuss’ ABC’s took me away to places where camels walked on ceilings, mice mumbled at midnight, and tired turtles climbed tuttle-tuttle trees; to lands where lazy lions licked lollipops, and young Yolanda Yorgenson yelled on the back of a yawning, yellow yak. When I climbed into Dr. Seuss’ ABC book, absolutely anything could happen.
Those early journeys into Seuss’ imaginary world prepared me for later travels of all kinds. I made maple sugar with Little Runner. I solved mysteries with Boxcar Children and solved relationship woes with Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve visited Cold Sassy Tree, Mitford, Hogwarts, the City of Ember, and District 13. I also met Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, and Clara Barton. I experienced Gettysburg through Abraham Lincoln’s words, the Holocaust through the writings of Ellie Wiesel and Corrie Ten Boom. I learned about a different kind of darkness from Helen Keller, and how to deal with all these bad things happening to good people from Rabbi Kushner. And, as you can plainly see, it all started with a book that ended with a Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz.
Thanks Dr. Seuss. “There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”