And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street

The National Education Association has dubbed March 2nd as “Read Across America Day” in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We thought it fitting to honor the literary legend (a.k.a. Theodore Geisel) who made his silly rhyming stories a childhood right of passage—and a tremendously important component of early reading. But with more than 40 incredible books to choose from, how do you pick just one? I headed to Facebook and posed the question, “What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?”, to more than 300 of my closest family and friends. In no time, I had plenty of suggestions from “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Mr. Brown Can Moo,” to the simple answer “all of them.” Having to settle on one title, I went back in history and selected Dr. Seuss’ very first published children’s book “And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street.”

What It Is

Before the cat put on that famous hat or Horton heard a Who, there was Marco. He is a young boy with a tremendous imagination and “sees” some pretty outrageous things when he walks down Mulberry Street. But Marco’s father tires of hearing about these outrageous things and demands that he stop telling his “outlandish tales.” So Marco tries very carefully to see things as they are, but that is just too boring. Like any young lad would, he allows his imagination to take flight. An ordinary horse and cart riding down the street begins a transformation that starts with an exchange of a zebra for the horse and pages later, evolves into a parade of reindeer, elephants, a gentleman with a 10-foot beard and plenty of other far-out beings that only Dr. Seuss can create. When Marco arrives at home to share his amazing story, he thinks twice before relaying the tale to his father. In an ironic twist, when asked about what he saw on his way home from school, Marco simply says, “Nothing but a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street.”

Why It’s Fun

A child’s imagination is an amazing phenomenon, and Dr. Seuss perfectly captured the active fantasy of a young mind. This book’s simplicity and hand-sketched illustrations reveals the genius that made Dr. Seuss a household name. His illustrations also hint at some of his subsequent work, giving us a fun look back in history. Geisel’s rhyming verse is brilliant and one that makes for an exciting read-aloud story or a soothing bedtime read, as it did with my daughter dozens of times. And, something that Geisel does so well, is weave a subtle message in his verse. In this case, we learn that Marco is maturing because he can enjoy a splendid fantasy, and then come back to reality and relate to authority figures, without dampening his imaginative spirit.

Who’s Going To Love It

The question should be “who’s not going to love it?” Had we not acquired this book years ago via a raffle, I’m not sure we would have discovered it. With so many popular Seuss books, this one can easily be overlooked. Our daughter was two when we started reading it to her and still claims that it’s one of her favorites. The publisher’s recommended age is 6-9, which misses the target. The story is mesmerizing for tots who can even sit through its length at a young age. Please take a moment on March 2nd to pay tribute to a man who gave us so much through his unique imagination. And, when you are looking for a good Dr. Seuss book, don’t forgot to give “Mulberry Street” a try. A visit to www.seussville.com also yields a fun and whimsical experience in the spirit of this amazing legend.

Reading Time

About five minutes

Read-It-Again Points

10 out of 10

Book Information

And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street
By: Written and Illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Published by: Vanguard Press in 1937; currently by Random House Books for Young Readers
Approximate retail price: $14.95
Publisher’s recommended ages: 6 - 9

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