I've got a new equal favourite Dr Seuss book - Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! It's not entirely his work because it was published after his death in 1991 using some notes, illustrations and fragments verse he left behind, but it's still unmistakeably Seuss in many ways.
The notes and drawings were fleshed out and pulled together by children's poet Jack Prelutsky and illustrator Lane Smith into a story about the unconventional Diffendoofer School in Dinkerville where the kids learn "lots of things not taught at other schools", like listening, and smelling and laughing and yelling and why a hippo can't fly.
The librarian is unconventional also.
Miss Loon is our librarian
She hides behind the shelves,
And often cries out "LOUDER!"
When we're reading to ourselves
I love that bit (sometimes I forget I'm not actually a librarian).
Anyway, one day the students are told they are to be given a special test to see which school is the best and if they don't do well, the school will be torn down and they will all have to transfer to "dreary Flobbertown"...
"Not Flobbertown!" we shouted
And we shuddered at the name,
For everyone in Flobbertown
Does everything the same.
A teacher called Miss Bonkers reassures the pupils:
"Don't fret!" she said,
You've learned the things you need
To pass that test and many more -
I'm certain you'll succeed.
We've taught you that the earth is round,
That red and white make pink,
And something else that matters more -
We've taught you how to think."
And of course they get top score of all the schools around and a holiday is declared to celebrate, Diffendoofer Day. Yays!
I just love kids books that carry a message about how it's OK to be different and to think for yourself (which is also why I love Aaron Blabey's books). Who the hell would want to live in Flobbertown?
The book also has a section at the back explaining how it came into existence, which includes Theodore Geisel's (Dr Seuss' real name) original pencil notes and drawings, which is pretty cool.