The Cat in the Hat
by Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel)
Ah, the perils of letting a stranger in the house when one’s parents are away! For that is, after all, what happens in The Cat in the Hat, when “the sun did not shine./ It was too wet to play./ So we sat in the house/ All that cold, cold, wet day.” As the narrator and his sister, Sally, plop themselves in front of the window with nothing to do but “Sit!/ Sit!/ Sit!/ Sit!” how can one blame them for permitting a tall cat in a red-and-white candy-striped top hat to stroll through the front door, especially when he promises them “Lots of good fun that is funny!” on a day when “the sun is not sunny.” The pet fish acts as the children’s conscience (“He should not be here./ He should not be about./ He should not be here/ When your mother is out!” says the finned fellow). The children look more anxious than pleased throughout the cat’s antics (especially with the introduction of Thing One and Thing Two), and their anxiety only increases when the fish spies Mother returning. Luckily, the Cat in the Hat cleans up (“I always pick up all my playthings”), so all is restored to normal, and the abundance of wordplay makes this an enticing read-aloud from start to finish.