Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh! The Places You'll Go... Rediscovering Dr. Seuss at the Springfield Museums

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted but mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin.
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”

Dr. Seuss
From: Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

Thus describes the Springfield Museums in Springfield, Massachusetts. While not in the best of neighborhoods, if you dare to go into the city of Springfield, you will consequently gain a truly wonderful experience.

As a long time fan of Dr. Seuss, I recently ventured on a road trip to the place of his birth to see the National Memorial Sculpture Garden in his honor. There are 5 bronze sculptures in all and, beyond a doubt, worth the trip. My kids LOVED strolling through the Garden. All of their favorite characters were represented; The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, Things One and Two plus a 14-foot Horton the Elephant! The garden incorporates Suess’ words and characters. There is even a statue of him, his chair and a book with the words to Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

The Seuss on the Loose exhibit was sadly closed for renovations, however, we enjoyed browsing through the gift shop where most of his books are available along with Suess inspired board games all of which I would highly recommend. My favorite is the Cat in the Hat game. This physical activity game is not only fun, but also teaches reading and counting skills. Our most recent purchase is the Green Eggs and Ham Speedy Diner game. This award winning game is very amusing and motivates children to work as a team. “Sam-I-Am” has opened a diner with very silly menu options and it’s up to the chef and the waiter to move as fast as they can to satisfy their customers. Both games are designed to promote positive social interactions for children and families.

In regards to his books, I think I enjoy them more now than I did as a kid. Dr. Seuss makes our family storytime fun! His books awakened my desire to become an author and my kids love his rhythmic narrative. They will sit and listen to anything of his, no matter how long. My personal favorites are; Horton the Elephant Hatches an Egg and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. However, I would recommend buying them all. By the time of his death, Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books, most of which were translated into more than 15 languages. If you haven’t read them in a while, I would suggest looking at them again.

The Springfield Museums also offer Art, History and Science. They are comprised of 5 different museums all for the price of one. Adult admission is only $12.50, Children ages 3-17; $6.50 and admission is free for children 2 and under.

Check out their website, www.springfieldmuseums.org

“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”
Dr. Seuss

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"The Bubble" Taking a Stand on Materialism

We unfortunately live in a world where people place importance on material things. But should we? Brian McClure shows us what this obsession can do in his imaginative and inspirational children’s book “The Bubble”.

The cover art gives us some hint of the message as it depicts a boy who has quite a lot of toys but is seemingly unhappy. The story begins with:

“Once there was a little boy, who didn’t want anyone to play with any of his toys”

Thus intrigued, we read further to find out that this little boy turns into a man that is so fixated with material things that they become his only joy. He continues not to share and we watch what his selfishness does in return. As an old man, all of his possessions leave him and he is left all alone in his bubble. The story ends with this same little boy seemingly waking up from a dream and discovers the valuable lesson about the pleasures of sharing.

Plumlee’s artful illustrations add just the right touch to this heartfelt story. This book is a great teaching tool. I would recommend it to any teacher or parent interested in teaching good values to their children.

Please visit www.UniversalFlag.com to learn more about Brian McClure and his cause.