CELEBRATING NATURE IN RHYME, ONE RHYME AT A TIME by best-selling Dr. Seuss author Tish Rabe

Like many of us, I remember the first time my mother read The Cat in the Hat to me and I was delighted by all those fun words, wonderful rhymes and wacky pictures. I later learned that Dr. Seuss wrote it as a way to introduce kids to the 100 words they needed to know in first grade. He saw the words “cat” and “hat” and literary history was made!

Five years after he died, I was asked to take over a project he started but never finished—a line of non-fiction science books featuring the Cat in the Hat. The creative challenge was that the books needed to be factually correct and also have the classic rhythmic style Seuss made famous. My goal was to get kids excited about the natural world and the animals that share it with us. The fun rhymes were designed to inspire students to “go find out more” about each subject:

When birds want to go on a winter vacation

They all take a trip and that’s called migration.

Throughout the years I have written about lots of aspects of the natural world: reptiles, butterflies, sea creatures, weather, bugs, dogs, cats, deserts and space—just to name a few! I always learn something new while researching each book and love adding “who knew?” facts for young readers. Like… seagulls can drink salt water. (Who knew?)

When I was asked to write a guide for kids entitled How to Help the Earth, I knew the Lorax was the perfect character to take on this important topic:

Hello! I’m the Lorax. I speak for the trees,

and the fish and the birds and I’m asking you please

to help out the earth. I am counting on you.

Together I know there’s a lot we can do.

I wanted to be careful not to just list things kids can do, but make the book inspiring and uplifting too. I think sometimes kids feel they’re just one small person so what difference can they make? But if we all chip in we can make a BIG difference.

If we work together, the earth will get better.

The land will be clearer. The soil will be wetter.

The sun will shine brighter. The trees will be greener.

The sky will be bluer. The air will be cleaner.

I never met Dr. Seuss, but I like to think he’d be proud of how we continue to inspire kids and let them know they can make a difference—one rhyme at a time!

Tish Rabe has written over 160 books for children including The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, which has sold over 4 million copies. A television series based on these books premiered on PBS Kids in 2010. She is also a television writer and professional singer. To learn more go to www.tishrabe.com


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