Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

By Kate C. Thu, March 2, 2017

One of the most exciting days in library land is here – it’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday!

Today, we’re joining in the celebration of the 113th birthday of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, who was born on this day in 1904 in Springfield, Mass., and whose work continues to encourage a love of reading in the young and the young at heart!

In celebration, today is also the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America Day, a nationwide reading celebration that takes place in schools, libraries, and community centers by bringing together kids, teens, and books – a few of our favorite things! Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a list of the fun activities we’ve got planned to celebrate at libraries across the Free Library today!

We asked Free Library staff members to reflect on their favorite Dr. Seuss book. Here’s what they had to say!

"McElligot’s Pool – It’s a fun ode to the power of hope and imagination as a small child faces down naysayers. It’s one of my all-time childhood favorites and kind of a Dr. Seuss deep cut." – Rachel F., Teen Materials Selector




"Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo – I read this book so many times as a child that I still know most of it by heart 40 years later! I remember being mesmerized by the illustrations and the increasing action, seriousness, and silliness of each page in this absurd tale of cause and effect." – Jen M., Grants Writer




"My favorite Dr. Seuss book, since I was little, is Wacky Wednesday. It is written under one of his pen names, Theo LeSieg. It’s a fun book that can be read again and again. You are challenged on every page to find more and more wacky things happening in the town. A man wearing a shoe as a hat! A lady pushing an alligator in a baby carriage! So much fun and so many laughs!" – Mary W., Children’s Librarian



"In 11th grade, when everyone had to pick an author to write a ‘serious’ term paper on, I wrote on Dr. Seuss. My research consisted of sitting in the children’s section at Barnes and Noble and reading for a day. I feel a deep Seussian connection! I think Dr. Seuss was just brilliant, especially for how he incorporated political themes into his more in-depth children’s stories. The Butter Battle Book is a stand-out, for its commentary on the (often) absurdity of opposing factions’ and countries’ divisive battles. At war over which side of bread each nation butters, the two warring peoples are depicted standing firmly and proudly—to the death if necessary!—for the sake of being the 'winner.' (I believe it was most directly a commentary on the Cold War.) Its lessons are still as relevant today (if not about countries, then about warring political factions.)" – Julie B., Writer & Editor

"Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? This is one of my infant son’s current favorites (his Pop-Pop does a great 'POP POP,' and I’ve gotten pretty good at moo-ing)." – Caitlin G., Curator, Rare Book Department





"The first book I ever read on my own was Hop on Pop. My Oma (German for grandmother) taught it to me and kept a whole collection of Seuss for my brother and me to learn." – Autumn M., Strategic Initiatives




"Green Eggs and Ham was a childhood staple for me. I grew up as a picky eater (and my name is Sam), so my parents never failed to taunt me with Seuss’s rhymes from this book. Also, my hometown of Springfield, Mass., is the birthplace of Dr. Seuss! There is a sculpture garden featuring his characters—including the Grinch, Horton, and more—in the grassy quad downtown, surrounded by the main library and the art museums." – Samantha M., Communications & Production Coordinator


"My favorite Dr. Seuss book is The Hair Book. I was eight years old when my first sibling, John, was born. When he was young, I would wake up early and go into his room, and he was always awake but quiet in his crib, almost as if he was waiting for me. I would read him The Hair Book in a funny voice and act out the characters, and he would laugh and laugh while I read. I always wanted a younger brother, and those mornings are some of my favorite memories with him." – Jason M., Department Head, Newspapers and Microfilm Center


"Green Eggs and Ham – Growing up in a kosher home, this was not a favorite of mine. But with two small kids now, I have come to appreciate what a great parenting tool this book is! In addition to being a fun and silly story, the short, rhyming words are great for reading games with my kindergartner, and the larger lesson about trying new foods is encouraging my stubborn two-year-old to eat more dinner each night!" – Rebecca A., Director, Donor Engagement


"For me, I think it’s a tie between The Lorax and The Sneetches. I love both of these books because they break down really important global issues into parables that are easily understood by children with a takeaway message that endures. I think using children’s stories to teach kids not to judge others and to take care of our planet and resources is highly effective. These are values and lessons that when learned young can last a lifetime." – Amber M., Director, Development Operations


"The first Dr. Seuss book that I remember reading all by myself was The Butter Battle Book. I finished it in school, as part of a remedial reading group I’d been placed into because I wouldn’t talk much in class. I was too young to understand of any larger implications about the Cold War that the book addresses—I just thought it was silly for anyone to make their toast butter-side-down. But, one day when my Mom made breakfast, I still tried it. I’m glad I didn’t do this with toast and jam!" – Kalela W., Program Director, One Book, One Philadelphia


"My sister and I were OBSESSED with The Lorax when we were kids. I remember checking out the VHS of the 1972 television special from Northeast Regional Library so often we probably should have just bought it." – Kristina L., Children’s Librarian




"My favorite Dr. Seuss book, since I was a child, is The Cat in the Hat. As a child, I loved the naughty craziness of it, wishing that he would visit me to shake up my ordinary childhood. And there is so much happening visually on each page that I would look at the book for hours." – Karen L., Department Head, Art and Literature




"I used to read Dr. Seuss' Sleep Book to my son when he was a toddler, as he frequently requested it as a bedtime story. It was also right at the age where he was questioning everything. Much like a Richard Scarry book, he wanted to know who every character was, what they were doing, and why they were doing it (especially all the workings of 'The Audio Telly O-Tally O-Count' machine, which records all those going to sleep throughout the world). Because of this, if anything, he was more awake than sleepy-eyed by the end of the book! Still, listening to him giggle during the Moose Juice and Goose Juice section still brings a smile to my face." – Peter S.M., Web Editor

"I loved reading Green Eggs and Ham to my grandsons. We once poured green food coloring on eggs, then thought it was so disgusting looking we tossed it." – Sandy H., Vice President, External Affairs





"My favorite Dr. Seuss book is McElligot’s Pool. Here is an annotation: Try dropping your hook in McElligot’s Pool, a derelict pond full of old boots, cans, and bottles that just might lead to an underground river all the way to the sea. It’s the only place to catch some ‘high-jumping friskers’ or an old fish with ‘long flowing whiskers’. McElligot’s pool is imagination inspiration!" – Jamie W., Materials Management



Have we put you in the Seuss mood? Browse the Free Library catalog for YOUR favorite title!

The following Free Library locations will be celebrating with fun Seussical activities and book readings for children and families:

Katharine Drexel Library, 11099 Knights Road, 10:30 a.m.
Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, 11:00 a.m.
Paschalville Library, 6942 Woodland Avenue, 4:00 p.m.
Whitman Library, 200 Snyder Avenue, 4:00 p.m.
South Philadelphia Library, 1700 S. Broad Street, 4:00 p.m.
Queen Memorial Library, 1201 S. 23rd Street, 4:00 p.m.
Wynnefield Library, 5325 Overbrook Avenue, 4:00 p.m.
Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Avenue, 4:00 p.m.
Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Library, 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway, 4:00 p.m.
Bustleton Library, 10199 Bustleton Avenue, 6:30 p.m.
Welsh Road Library, 9233 Roosevelt Boulevard, 4:00 p.m.


"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - I Can Read with My Eyes Shut

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Mayor Jim Kenney read to children at the Widener Library on Dr. Seuss' birthday in 2016!
Mayor Jim Kenney read to children at the Widener Library on Dr. Seuss' birthday in 2016!

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