BY Molly Congdon
After the school day came to a close, 25 children ranging in age from 4 to 8 gathered in Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library’s activities room Feb. 27 to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
The famed children’s writer was born March 2, 1904.
In the back of the room, propped up on a table, were countless Seuss classics such as “Fox in Socks,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “Hop on Pop” and “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket.”
The library has commemorated this wonderful, wacky author for several years. “It’s a tradition; our job is to support literacy,” Youth Services Librarian Marybeth Hassett-Murphy said. “One parent said to me last year, ‘You guys do all the fun stuff that’s literacy-based that there’s not time to do in school anymore due to the educational curriculum.’ ”
As the Cat In The Hat would say: “It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”
They began, where the beginning was best, with a book being read in front of the rest.
The children sat quietly on the floor on a blue rug scattered with colorful geometric shapes and gazed at the pictures as Hassett-Murphy read “The Sneetches” out loud.
“It’s a really important book about differences and changes and it’s subtle,” Hassett-Murphy said. “Only it’s not so subtle, but to a little kid you’ve got Sylvester McMonkey McBean who’s going to take all your money from ya.”
Parents sat back at the cafeteria-style tables and enjoyed the recitation. “Dr. Seuss is part of everyone’s childhood and you don’t outgrow it,” Hassett-Murphy said.
“You can find magic wherever you look,
Sit back and relax.
All you need is a book.”
Time for a game
Then it was time for a game, but instead of musical chairs they played musical Sneetch stars. The ground twinkled with cutout stars of pink, lime, red, yellow, purple, white, orange and gold. The rules were slightly different from the original version.
First of all, there were no chairs to be found, and when the song came to a halt the kids had to put a foot on a star. More than one could occupy a star; one was only eliminated if the color of their star was chosen from the folded pieces of paper within a round, glass container.
One boy, a little skeptical of being able to secure a star, slid a green one under his shoe right along with him. Better to be safe than sorry.
Next was an arts-and-crafts element where the kids were able to construct Thing 1 or Thing 2 by smothering their hand in blue paint, putting a print on the page, washing that hand, dipping their hand in the red paint, flipping the paper around and making a mirror imprint. The two hands merged at the palms.
Large button-up collared shirts served as smocks to prevent clothing from becoming the canvas.
“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”
“Paint is something that a lot of kids aren’t getting to do,” Hassett-Murphy said. “It’s messy, but there’s nothing like paint.”
The first masterpiece completed was 5-year-old Brennan Cain’s Thing 1. “I only want Thing 1,” Brennan said. “He’s the best.”
‘Cat in the hat’ parfaits
The festivities finished off with food. It was far superior to green eggs and ham; the children were able to make their own “Cat in The Hat” parfaits that replicated the tall, red and white striped hat that the cat is always wearing.
A massive bowl of red Jell-O was divided into several smaller bowls to be scooped out and placed within 9-ounce plastic cups in between layers of white whipped topping.
“The Jell-O is escaping!” shouted one boy as a small piece almost jiggled onto the table.
They were able to have the Cat in The Hat’s hat and eat it too.