I have a little picture in my mind as I write. It’s evening, close to bedtime, and Junior Reader is out in the garden, attired in pyjamas and crocs. (It’s actually been warm. Lovely.)
Dan continues to put the new picnic bench together, and in a little bit of role reversal, Junior Reader reads to him as he fixes the pieces in place.
And what, may you ask, is suitable for the occasion? Why, the Cat in the Hat, who is always on hand when there is a new scheme to plot, or a new contraption to build.
To be truthful, I think the reading was The Cat in the Hat, rather than the Cat in the Hat Comes Back. But it is the latter that is in my head as I write – probably always and permanently in my head, I think.
I didn’t grow up with Dr Seuss, really. But my grandparents had The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, and I would read it when visiting them. So it came to have a particularly significant status in terms of treasured reads.
Dr Seuss mangles language beautifully for the sake of keeping a rhyme scheme – and we love it, because we know full well what it means, and it is so so memorable.
While I’m at it, I can also heartily recommend Adrian Edmondson’s audio versions of both books – plus Fox in Socks and Green Eggs and Ham. Good reading, and great sound effects to go with it.
So for today, I leave you with the Cat, having eaten his pink cake in the tub, surveying the evidence afterwards.
And the boy, in a little role reversal of his own, offers a variant on the immortal line that I’m sure many parents have uttered when seeing a stain of new and giant proportions.
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (Dr Seuss)
‘The water ran out and then I saw THE RING!
A ring in the tub! And, oh boy! What a thing!
A big long pink cat ring! It looked like pink ink!
And I said, “Will this ever come off? I don’t think!” ‘
[If you want to soak in the general goodness of the whole book, this link will let you read all the text – and see a few pictures too.
But please, go and buy your own copy too, if you haven’t got it. It really is that worth it.]