Did you know that yesterday was the birthday of Dr. Seuss? You didn't? Well, that's probably because Wikipedia says that his birthday was March 2nd. But if you go to school with The Dormouse, yesterday was THE day.

I often think that it'd be loads of fun to teach pre-schoolers. Whatever you tell them they believe. Did you know that radishes grow on the moon? Yep. That's where they all come from. We send specially trained warthogs up in the space shuttle and they root around in the craters until they smell the telltale odor of burning hair, that's when they know that that radishes are near and they bring them back in a purple backpack. Uh huh. That's the way it is.

But I digress.

When I picked up The Large One on Tuesday, her teacher took me aside and asked if I'd like to come to the classroom on Wednesday and read a Dr. Seuss book to them for their Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration. I said "sure", because, you know, I'm involved like that - or at least I like people to think so. So I left work a little early yesterday and carted my Big Book O' Seuss off to the preschool.

Considering what to read, I figured that they'd already done The Cat in the Hat a hundred times, and when I entered the room on Tuesday, The Dormouse was reading Green Eggs and Ham to the other kids, so I knew that was old hat. (ha ha, Cat... Hat... funny right? Ahem.) So I decided to go back into the recesses of my childhood and selected one of the lesser used stories: Yertle the Turtle.

I hadn't read Yertle in years and I didn't even remember what the story was about, so I went over it just before I got in the car, you know, so I could perform up to expectations. You don't want four year olds pointing at you and laughing at your reading skills, you know. The cool thing about the collection I have is it's an anniversary edition so before each book, there's a little prologue with back story, telling how he wrote it or what was going on with him at that point in his life. Needing to do my research, I read that too. I come prepared, dammit. Here's something I didn't count on having remembered from my childhood:
Few readers - young or old - realize that Yertle is Adolf Hitler...

...But Yertle is Hitler. Here's what Dr. Seuss said in a 1987 interview: "Yertle was Hitler or Mussolini. Originally, Yertle had a mustache, but I took it off. I thought it was gilding the lily a bit."

How many other people knew this because I? I. Did. Not.

Reading the story today, it's oh so obvious.
And the turtles, of course... all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

I must say, I feel totally swindled. Here I thought I was getting a fun story about silly turtles who managed to do circus tricks without the aid of a trainer and it turns out that along I was getting taught a lesson! Are you kidding? Next you'll be telling me that
The Butter Battle Book is a statement about the nuclear arms race. Or that The Lorax is supposed to be have some sort of ecologically sound message Al Gore would salivate over.

Oh wait.

Never mind.

Answering the question: are they GREEN eggs and ham?
green eggs AND ham?

Apparently, it's the latter.

Many happy returns, Dr. Seuss!