Thursday, June 21, 2012

If I Ran the Zoo by Dr Seuss

If I Ran the Zoo by Dr Seuss

Rate: 4 stars

I'm not sure if we could have had a more perfect first day of summer.  My day started at 5 (thanks, Kiefer), with the other boy (that'd be Ben) joining us shortly.  We woke Sleeping Beauty (aka sweet Lorelei).  By 7:30 we were all dressed, breakfasted, and heading to the National Zoo.  I think the sloths were still snoozing when we got there.

Heat advisory?  Bah!  We laugh at thee.  

We live about 45 minutes from the "big zoo," as we call it (not to be compared to the "little zoo," which is approximately 8 minutes or one Eric Carle book away).  The great thing about this book is it takes almost 45 minutes to read.  It's one of those books that you suggest your child request when it's your spouse's turn to read bedtime books.  And then settle yourself into the sofa, because it'll be a while.

In truth, it's not my all-time favorite Dr Seuss tale (in case you're wondering, it's a tie between "Yertle the Turtle" and "The Big Brag").  It's soooooooooooooo long.  I get a little tired of the crazy new animals and the crazy new places they come from.  And the crazy new methods that the crazy new zookeeper uses to capture them.  

However, there are some things that I DO like about this book:

Lorelei, reading book #519 of the day.
First, I spend a lot of time asking my older crazy questions, and listening to their answers.  We talk about places we would like to travel (they insist on China, and have begun to dig a hole in our backyard to get there...geez...), places we all remember traveling to (Colorado.  Sigh...), animals that we want to see (always a giraffe!).  And then there's the made-up stuff: it could just be a name or place that they come up with, but also animals like those in Dr Seuss' creative mind.  I ask them about their made-up animal, what it looks like, how big it is, what it eats, where it would live in our house, just fun stuff.  This book lends itself to creative talk like this.

This is the stuff that happens when you don't have a DVD player/TV in your car.  Just sayin'.

Second, the whole book is about a young boy saying "This a cool zoo, but I'd run it differently."  I'm always asking my kids that--how would you paint a flower?  what would you have done in that situation?  why do you think he wanted to do that?  I want them to be able to see something and figure out how they'd make it better or just do it differently.  We emphasize, in our house, that there are more than one way to do something, mostly because I hate being railroaded with "it's my way or the highway" attitudes.

Lorelei is in a huge Dr Seuss stage; we checked out The Bippolo Seed last week, and she read it three times from cover to cover that I know of.  Who knows if she's already started to read with a flashlight under the covers after I ask her to stop?  She loves the rhyming, she laughs out loud at the silliness of the words, and the pictures are equally entertaining.   She actually woke up Kiefer while reading this book, laughing at something she read.  Luckily he passed right out again.

Oh, and how did our perfect summer day end?  Well, since you didn't ask (but since I know you want to know, Mom)...  We zipped home to feed our hounds and let them out, though the kids didn't even get out of the car.  Then we went to the library because there was a Summer Reading Kick-Off party with a magician.  We couldn't miss that!  From there we came home and collapsed, still wilted from the morning's heat.

Then we played baseball in the kitchen, chased Guidry around the table a few hundred times, and clapped for Kiefer every time he took a few steps.  We ate pancakes for dinner, danced before clean-up, and bathed the sweat and sunscreen away.

Yup, I'm pooped.  In a great way.

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