Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Happy 2013! 
This is a big year for me! I'm starting my full-time student teaching in less than a month, then graduation in May! This is also the year I'll start teaching in my own classroom with my own little students!! I'm so excited for what this year holds for me. :)

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss
With some help from Jack Prelutsky & Lane Smith

The students of Dinkerville attend a school that teaches things a little differently than everywhere else. They attend the free-thinking Diffendoofer School. They have teachers who teach listening, smelling, laughing, tying knots, yelling and how to tell chrysanthemums from miniature poodles. One day during lunch Mr. Lowe, the sad school principal, announces that there will be a test that every student must pass or the school will be torn down! Mrs. Bonkers tells the students not to worry about the test because,
"We're taught you that the earth is round,
That red and white make pink,
And something else that matters more--
We've taught you how to think."
Will the students of Diffendoofer School be able to pass the test? Or will they be sent to the dreadful school in Flobbertown? Luckily the students had learned so much about how to think from their teachers that they got the highest score in the land, 10000000%!!

Dr. Seuss first created the characters and plots of this book and set it aside to work on another project, Oh, The Places You'll Go! When he died in 1991, he had not completed this book. His publisher talked to his secretary and got the manuscripts to finish the book. She got together author, Jack Prelutsky and illustrator, Lane Smith to put their charm on the book to finish it.
Many elements of Dr. Seuss's original ideas are included. Some of the words are exactly as he had written them, and many more were written by Jack Prelutsky. The illustrations are very different from a traditional Dr. Seuss book, however, Lane Smith threw in some of Dr. Seuss's illustrations. Characters from older Dr. Seuss books show up throughout the book on paper that gives you the impression they were ripped out and added to the book. Check out the picture on the left to see some of the characters and illustrations from Dr. Seuss's other books!

My Reading Methods professor read this book to us towards the end of our semester. She told us that she often reads it to 3rd graders on Read Across America Day, which is celebrated on Dr. Seuss's birthday! She said that she asks the students if they think this book should be a book, since it's based on Dr. Seuss's ideas, but it's so different from all the other Dr. Seuss books. They usually say no! I grew up reading Dr. Seuss books. We used to have soooooooo many of them at my house when I was little and I loved reading them. But I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a great tribute to Dr. Seuss and the book has a good message. As a future teacher, I think teachers get too focused on teaching for the standardized tests and don't spend as much time just teaching students how to think for themselves.

Another awesome thing that my professor pointed out is that at the end of the book, they've included a section called "How This Book Came to Be" and it tells the entire story of how it came to be a book! What is really cool about it is that it has sections of Dr. Seuss's original manuscript! You can see sketches he'd made and lines he'd written and then scratched out. There is a whole page of brainstorming on what a good name for the school and town would be. This is a great book to show students that even great authors like Dr. Seuss don't just come up with great ideas right away. They have to work at it just like the students do!

This is a great teaching guide for the book from It has a lot of fun activities for students and teachers.

Also, I think the following video is relevant to the message in this book. So check it out! :)

"Give the world a reason to dance."

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