March 2nd is National Read Across America Day 2016 : AKA Dr Seuss Day (March 2nd is Dr Seuss’s Birthday).

You’ll find some cool Dr Seuss printable activity downloads for kids (over 30 PDF printables) at the Official Seussville National Read Across America Day Site.

Dr Seuss children’s books like The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are awesome. Since Dr Seuss Day is fast approaching we had some fun reading some of our favorite Dr Seuss books and I thought I’d have a go at writing a bit like Dr Seuss.

It’s not easy to rhyme as well as Dr Seuss, but it can be fun trying, in theory!!! :-)

As a bonus persuaded Marie to create a quick illustration including a black and white version for printing out and coloring in.

The Goat in the Coat

The Goat in the Coat : by Marie Law

Click either image for a larger version.

The Goat in the Coat for Coloring In

The Goat in the Coat for Coloring In : by Marie Law

My Tribute to Dr Seuss : The Goat in the Coat Rhyme

One day we were sat,
with nothing to do.
We had sat there so long
we were bored, through and through.

There was nothing to play,
no, nothing at all.
So we sat in the hall
with our backs to the wall!

Then we heard a strange sound,
a strange sound by the door.
Something was causing
a noisy uproar.

There was banging and clanging,
a terrible din.
Then we heard a strange voice,
“Please can I come in?”

We jumped up,
we jumped up real quick!
“What was that noise?
Can we see who caused it?”

I looked through the window,
through a small little crack.
And there through the crack,
something strange looked back!

It was a Goat in a Coat,
what a strange sight to see.
A Goat in a Coat,
staring right back at me!

The goat was quite funny
in a weird sort of way.
With a nose that was runny
and one eye that looked gray.

“Should we open the door?”
whispered little Marie.
“Should we let him inside?
Can I call him Goatee?”

Before I could answer
we heard rat a tat, tat
as the Goat in the Coat
knocked fast with his hat.

“Please can I come in?
There is fun to be had.”
As the Goat in the Coat
scribbled fast on a pad.

“Can we, can we
please play with the Goat?”
little Marie cried
“He’s got a nice coat.”

Before I could answer
the Goat had a key!
He unlocked the front door
and stood right beside me!

“Hello” said the Goat
as he scribbled once more,
as a helmet from the pad
dropped to the floor!

“It’s a magical pad,
what I draw becomes real”
said the Goat in the Coat
as he drew a big wheel!

Out in the garden
he shook the notepad
out popped a strange trike,
the Goat looked rather glad.

I used the starting story line of The Cat in the Hat, but changed the character from a cat in a hat to a goat in a coat.

So the premise is a couple of kids bored at home and something happens…

I like the basic story line, a magic pad that creates things. I remember a cartoon series from my childhood “Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings”, whatever Simon drew became real.

Still recall the start of the song “When you know my name is Simon and the things I draw come true….”.

Anyway, if I find the time to continue The Goat in the Coat, it will follow the same sort of story as The Cat in the Hat: the Goat causes lots of mischievous, but fixes it in the end.

I wonder if we’ll ever get an iPad that prints 3D things, come on tech people we need an iPad with a built in 3D printer, though it can’t be bulky :-)

Writing The Goat in the Coat was an enjoyable writing practice. It’s nice to write something you have no intention of using in a picture book, no pressure.

Above is a first rough draft, it’s far from polished (or finished), only a few hundred words (Dr Seuss stories tended to be above 1,000+ words, many above 1,500 words) and the action has barely started and it lacks repeating rhyming. So if you comment be gentle, it’s all about having fun whilst celebrating Dr Seuss’s Birthday and National Read Across America Day 2016.

Would be fun to try to mimic this sort of rhyming from Dr Seuss:

DR Seuss The Cat in The Hat

“now look what you did!”
said the fish to the cat.
“Now look at this house!
Look at this! Look at that!
You sank our toy ship,
sank it deep in the cake.
You shook up our house
and you bent our new rake.
You SHOULD NOT be here
when our mother is not.
You get out of this house!”
said the fish in the pot.

“The Fish in the Pot” makes me laugh every time :-)

Dr Seuss pulled many of the earlier elements of the story into this page of the book, repeating many of the words used earlier.

Unlike The Cat in the Hat I didn’t limit the words used to the list supplied by William Spaulding (just 348 words*), so my task was much easier. I think it took Dr Seuss a year to write The Cat in the Hat (using a restrictive word list must be very difficult).

* Dr Seuss (Theodor Geisel) was challenged by William Spaulding, the director of Houghton Mifflin’s educational division to create a children’s book from a list of only 348 words! The 348 words were from a standard first grader’s vocabulary list, and Dr Seuss could use no more than 225 of those words.

Technically he failed, he used 236 words, but what a failure The Cat in the Hat is :-)

The Cat in the Hat is one of my favorite children’s books and I think it’s his best work.

For any kids reading this why not try this yourself or carry my story on from where I stopped (post it as a comment). If nothing else go grab a copy of The Cat in the Hat from your local library and read it.

David