There are so many great things that can be said about this truly classic book: the witty plot, hilarious rhymes and wonderfully quirky illustrations. Now, with the release of a new children's film, the original story will be brought to a whole new generation of readers.
However, the initial concept of this book: specifically intended to be a unique teaching aid should never be overlooked.
When Dr Seuss designed this book, the words he chose were no accident. He deliberately set out to construct a story using a strictly limited vocabulary of short, easily recognisable words ... repeating them at regular intervals. In the hands of a lesser author the result could have been deadly dull, but Dr Seuss creates a story with a real page-turning plot, a vibrant central character and a great ending! As the simple words are read over and over again, the deveoping young reader soon starts recognising them.
The rhyming format was no coincidence either. Once a young reader can identify a word such as POT, it is a simple step for them to attempt deciphering the likes of NOT, HOT and LOT etc. The cunning use of rhyming couplets also enables the inexperienced reader to make a calculated guess at some words even if they can only identify the first letter or two ... and as an inevitable result, their confidence in reading for themselves is swiftly increased.
I have used this book with struggling young readers and watched their progress with delight. The slick wittiness of the text and illustrations will even prevent older children with reading difficulties from feeling they are attempting something too babyish.
For the very youngest (not reading yet but following the finger along as they are read to out loud) the repeating rhymes encourage them to join in too ... and gradually the words on the pages start to become recognisable.
I recommend following this book up with 'Green Eggs and Ham' another Dr Seuss specifically designed to work in the same way.