Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #142: Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat by Caroline Smith


When I put in my interlibrary loan request for The Cat Behind the Hat, I had no clue how large and heavy a book it was. Amazon has a shipping weight of over 5 lbs. for it which sounds about right. That’s what you get when you write a book meant to display Dr. Seuss’ never before seen “midnight paintings.” You can’t skimp on the size, paper stock, anything; nothing’s of a high enough quality for the last works of Dr. Seuss we’ll ever get.

But The Cat Behind the Hat isn’t just those “midnight paintings,” stark contrasts to his children’s books made late at night and withheld from public viewing by Dr. Seuss until his death. Also included is a retrospective of Dr. Seuss’ entire life and career. In addition to his “midnight paintings,” there are rough drafts of such classics as The Cat in the Hat, samples of his early work in advertising, etc., along with a detailed look into the events behind it all.

Except my favorite part of the entire book is the included Dr. Seuss diatribe where he’s critical of anyone who tries to lessen the importance and artistic worth of books written for children. I wish I still had the book in my possession and could include an excerpt, but you’re just going to have to read it yourself since I returned it to the library weeks ago.

If you consider yourself a Dr. Seuss fan, you won’t be disappointed. There’s the old, the new, the old with a new spin. Plus, you’ll get a work out if you try to walk and read it at the same time, like I did. Yet, in spite of its weight, it’s a light, enjoyable, and enlightening read.

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