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The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat

by Dr. Seuss
 Table of Contents


Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

One Book Two Book Me Book You Book

Shmoop loves books. Surprising, we know.

The Cat in the Hat doesn't let us down in this department. As it turns out, though, books aren't for reading. Not in this part of Seussville, at least. As with all the other household items the Cat uses for his tricks, books are meant to be tossed around, balanced on one's extremities, and, well, played with.

When you think about the children's literacy statement behind Seuss, it makes a lot of sense. In the 1950s, Dick and Jane primers were all the rage. Seuss was one of the first children's authors to react against this and teach kids to read using phonics instead of memorization. Oh, and to not be totally boring. Maybe those books being tossed around by the Cat are the Dick and Janes of the day. They can't amuse a kid on a rainy day by reading them—so why not toss them around?

The fact that we can toss around our books just screams, don't take books so seriously! Books are toys to be played with, not boring chores to be endured. Books, the Cat suggests, are meant to be interacted with, dug into, enjoyed. The more open, fun, and rule-free reading is, the more kids will love their books.

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