Sharon Hale alias the "Cat in the Hat" reads her favorite Dr. Seuss story to Redoubt Elementary students in celebration of Dr. Seuss's 104th birthday.
Dr. Seuss may have been dead for the last 17 years, but his legacy of fun and joy of reading has never been more alive as it was last week at Redoubt Elementary School where a community read-a-thon celebrated the famous author’s 104th birthday. Perhaps the 20th century's most famous author for children, Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated nearly 50 books of quirky children's verse during his lifetime that became popular to the baby boomers that today enjoy reading his lyric rhyme aloud to a new “Cat in the Hat” generation, many of which are their grandchildren.
Thanks to Sharon Hale at Redoubt Elementary, Dr. Seuss’s birthday has become an annual occasion to enlist community volunteers to come into the K-6 grade classrooms and read aloud their favorite children’s stories. Hale started the event some 10 years ago to encourage students to read and check out books from the library as well as to expose them to community members who still love to read children’s stories out loud. In the past they have even been known to serve green eggs and ham for lunch during the special day, “That turned out to be not as popular as the Cat in the Hat costumes and community readers, so now we go with what works best Sam I am,” Hale told the Dispatch. “I had 24 members from the community come in today that included city mayors, firemen, radio personalities, and retired teachers. This year I actually had people calling me and asking me if they could come in and read to the kids, so I was thrilled,” said Hale.
The volunteer readers were also thrilled, “It’s one of my best days of the year because the kids are so appreciative and love to hear their favorite stories read by members of the community,” said Soldotna Mayor David Carey. The story selection was not limited to books by Dr. Seuss, but included other favorites such as the story of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby by Uncle Remus. Uncle Remus was actually a fictional character and narrator of a collection of African American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris and published originally in period dialect in 1881. “My favorite part was when Br’er Rabbit gets all stuck up in the tar baby and then has to trick Br’er Fox to keep from becoming barbeque for dinner,” commented 12-year-old Donna Rae. “His stories are still my favorite to read, because they still relate to real life events that kids experience on today’s playground and gives them fun animal characters to relate with that inspire kids to use their minds to solve everyday problems,” commented a volunteer reader, “And speaking of everyday problems I was amazed at how principal John Pothast has the student pick-up traffic organized. It’s always good to come back and visit our schools even after your kids have grown up.”
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