Hop on Pop
by Dr. Seuss
Hop on Pop Tone
Take a story’s temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Plain. Simple. Fun.
Since Hop on Pop is all about phonics and language acquisition, the tone of the poem needs to be one accessible to both children and parents alike. The parents need to enjoy reading the book to their kids until the kids get a grip on the words and enjoy reading it to their parents.
To hit this target range, three key principles need to be met: the poem must be plain, it must be simple, and, above all, it must be fun. Just take a look:
WHERE IS BROWN?
THERE IS BROWN! (42.1-2)
Mr. Brown is out of town. (43.1).
It’s simple in its word choice; there’s nothing here that requires much parental guidance. And we doubt you'll be itching for a trip to the dictionary with this one. Chances are toddlers already know all these simple words as it is. What they are coming to grips with isn’t the word itself but reading the word on the page.
As for plain, well, those lines couldn’t be plainer in their construction. And the idea of Mr. Brown flying out of town is old-fashioned, cartoony fun. Adding to the tone is a drawing of Mr. Brown looking seriously flummoxed that such a little pup could rocket him so far and high. In comes the fun.
So does Hop on Pop hit its tonal targets? That’ll depend on you as a reader, but we’d say it hits all three before it nails the landing.