"I wish we could do what they do in Katroo . . . ." Thus begins Dr. Seuss's amazing conception of the birthday party EACH person should have.
Guided by the special brainy bird, the Birthday Honk Honker, you will find yourself in the middle of a marvelous day. You are awakened by the bird, "Wake Up! For today is your Day of all Days!" He then heads for your bed. "He knows your address . . ." and quickly comes to give you the special birthday handshake. This involves touching your right index finger with his equivalent digit while you touch your left big toe with your left index finger (while he mimics the same motion).
Throughout, Dr. Seuss makes it clear that just being born and being you is all that is required to deserve such classy treatment. "If you'd never been born, well what would you do? . . . be? Why, you might be a WASN'T."
Your day includes a trip through the Birthday Flower Jungle while being carried in a boat through the air by Funicular Goats. The flowers smell like licorice and cheese.
For lunch, you eat hot dogs, rolled out on a spool, for an endless meal. With so much mustard on you, cleaning off in a Mustard-Off pool is required.
You sing loudly, "I am lucky!"
And that's before you go to the Birthday Pal-alace with its 9,403 rooms to play games in. You get to make such a mess that it will take 20 days just to "sweep up the mess."
Then, you meet drummers, strummers, zummers, and of course, plumbers.
Dr. Derring's Singing Herrings spell out, "Happy Birthday to You."
Then, you get the most amazing cake.
And all of this because, "There is no one alive who is you-er than you."
Now, you might wonder about the wisdom of reading this book to a child. Whatever you do cannot match up. Well, Dr. Seuss thought of that point also.
As he reminds us in the end,
What the Birthday Bird
Does in Katroo."
"And I wish
I could do
All these great things for you!"
As you can see, the book is set up to convey your deepest conviction that the honoree (usually your child) is well worth whatever the positive limits of imagination can bring. But, of course, being a mere parent, you cannot do that much. Whatever you do will naturally be received with greater enthusiasm, realizing its symbolic intent.
A fun way to use this book would be to create birthday elements that build on it. For example, you could draw a birthday palace, and buy one of those games as a gift that contains hundreds of variations in it. Then, you could attach your drawing to the gift. With good imagination, your child can feel like she or he has had such a day.
Carrying on with that theme, you could reenact other parts of the book. You could dress up like the Birthday Bird and give the handshake in the morning, for example. If it's a weekend, you could have hot dogs for lunch (if your honoree likes them). If it's a week day, you could have them for dinner. You get the idea.
There's another message here, too. Each other person deserves this princely treatment as well. That must mean that being a person is pretty special. I know of no book that stakes out such a strong statement in favor of each person. Be sure to build on this lesson to help you child learn to respect, appreciate, and eventually care about everyone!
"And I wish I could do all these great things for you!" And I do so wish.