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Smart Start throws a birthday bash for Dr. Seuss

Birthday bash

Home-schooler Lizzie Brilliant shows off her fish bowl craft. Susan Shinn/Smart Start Rowan

Home-schooler Lizzie Brilliant shows off her fish bowl craft. Susan Shinn/Smart Start Rowan

Millie Nelson, N.C. Pre-K coordinator from Smart Start Rowan, made this fun Dr. Seuss birthday cake. Susan Shinn/Smart Start Rowan

Millie Nelson, N.C. Pre-K coordinator from Smart Start Rowan, made this fun Dr. Seuss birthday cake. Susan Shinn/Smart Start Rowan

By Susan Shinn

Smart Start Rowan

If you rhyme with Dr. Seuss, you will quickly see,

Your children will become good readers, just like you and me!

Granted, Theodore Giesel could have done much better. But Dr. Seuss, as he was known, wrote books to help children learn how to read. Plus, they’re just so darn fun!

That combination has made Dr. Seuss a perennial favorite among children’s authors, and some 117 children and their caregivers gathered Monday in the Children’s Room of Rowan Public Library to celebrate his birthday.

Smart Start Rowan sponsored the Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash. Children’s librarian Robert Jones — another perennial favorite with the preschool set — read two of Seuss’ books to the well-behaved crowd, which included youngsters and their parents and grandparents, homeschoolers and Head Start groups.

Rhyming, explained Mary Burridge of Smart Start, is a terrific way to help children learn to read. “And obviously, Dr. Seuss is a big hit with the audience we serve, children birth to age 5.”

Lizzie Brilliant, 7½, a homeschooler, had been celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday since breakfast.

“We dyed some eggs green, and then we had some Black Forest ham to go with it,” she said. “And Mom made cupcakes with red, white and blue sprinkles for Thing 1 and Thing 2.”

Lizzie’s enthusiasm pleased her mom, Michelle, who’d stayed up late the night before decorating the kitchen.

“She appreciated it,” Brilliant said, “which was nice.”

Craft time is always a popular part of any Smart Start event, and children kept busy gluing different colors of fish into a fish bowl — reminiscent of Seuss’ “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” book.

At another table, Jessica Moscardini and her 18-month-old son, Gian-Parker, colored a picture of the Cat in the Hat.

“We go over to the Smart Start play room, and we also come over every week to the reading program with Robert Jones,” Moscardini said. “We love Mr. Robert!”

Tiffany Waters watched her three daughters Zoey, 7, Daleiah, 5, and Piper, 3, busily gluing away.

“We come to a lot of different library activities,” Waters said. “They love Dr. Seuss. Zoe’s gotten to be quite a little reader this year. Those are easy, go-to books. Children learn best through word repetition.”

Jones pointed out that Seuss wrote “Green Eggs and Ham” using only 40 words.

“So some of his books are easy to read, but other books are hard to read,” Jones said, “because if he needed a rhyming word, he just made up words!”

Jones first read “Yertle the Turtle,” noting Seuss’ social message that all creatures should be free. He then read a book with examples of made-up words, “The Glunk that Got Thunk.” He was rewarded with lots of giggles as he told Seuss’ story of a little girl with a big imagination.

Not only was it Dr. Seuss’ birthday, it was also Luke Brearly’s first birthday. Young Luke is eager to walk, but held on tightly to his mom’s hands.

“He wants to keep up with the big kids,” Sarah Brearly said. “We go to the Smart Start playroom and check out toys. It’s really a great resource.”

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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