Although it is now a classic, when it came out, it was considered too silly to be a good book for learning how to read, and was teaching bad behavior to children. After all, the cat is a trouble maker.
The Cat In the Hat was written in response to the Dick and Jane books, which were de riguer in educational circles but were considered to be boring. In fact, in the Dick and Jane books, Sally is the younger sister, but in The Cat In the Hat, Sally is the main character!
|Fascinating book about the evolution |
of The Cat In The Hat
The book was not popular initially with educators, but the book was VERY popular with parents. By the early 70's when I was learning to read, the Phonics method was just becoming popular. My reading class experimented with it, and that's how I learned to read.
There's a fascinating book called The Annotated Cat that has some of the original drafts that Seuss wrote, along with a line by line annotation that shows the struggles that Dr. Suess had in making this such an amazing book.
There are also two great articles that go over this history well:
On a side note, I also want to point out Dr. Seuss's hilarious and non-phonic book The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs The Dough, in which 4 words that end with ough are pronounced 4 different ways. The book features the early (and mostly adult-oriented) drawings and cartoons of Dr. Seuss. I highly recommend it.
So Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! And Happy 60 years of Cat in the Hat!