Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dr. Seuss Day: A scavenger hunt and my thoughts on hollywoodization

A Scavenger Hunt that corresponds to One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. 
As we read the story, children can circle or cross out 
the pictures they see in the story.
We're doing it BINGO style!
I write this post with just a little uncertainty about how it will be taken.

I hope you can see my point, even if you don't agree.

My courage to click the "Publish Post" button comes from this quote, often referenced to Dr. Seuss though its origin is up for debate:

Be who YOU are
and say what YOU feel
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind.

Last week, the teachers and I decided to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday.  The day after I sent out an announcement about our celebration, I saw a commercial on television for the upcoming movie, "The Lorax".  A dark cloud drifted over me and my husband asked "What's wrong?".




I tried to explain to him why I will never be able to read The Lorax to another group of children without them all calling out "I've seen that movie!".  They will arrive at story time with preconceived notions about the the story and characters.  They will fixate on the characters rather than the message. Why? Because the movie business has spent millions of dollars researching how to sell products to children through movie and television characters.  Not even to mention how corporate sponsors will capitalize on this children's movie.  Can we not keep corporate greed out of a movie based on a book whose target audience is young children????

Those teeth! I love those teeth! 
I still remember the first time that I read this book. 
When I got to this page I laughed out loud!!!
Ah, great memories of Dr. Seuss books. 
They are something worth celebrating!


I felt the same way when Where The Wild Things Are came out in a movie. I haven't seen the movie and I'm sure it's great. However, I haven't been able to bring myself to read the book to the children for the same reason I don't like reading books about other heavily commercialized characters.


I was so impressed with my ability to copy Dr. Seuss' art.

I'm sad that for money and without even an iota of concern for what will benefit children, commercialism has begun the consumption of the great Dr. Seuss.  Teacher Tom offers some great insight on the topic as well.  Tomorrow we will celebrate the legacy that is Dr. Seuss and all of the pure and good that comes from his works.  But I had to share my sadness about the possible loss of The Lorax from the Beansprouts curriculum henceforth.  And I can't help thinking that by celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday, I am somehow helping to build it into a great big holiday where all of the CVS and Toys R'Us chains start stocking their shelves with crap for us to buy, as everyone tries to capitalize on this new "holiday".

~~~
I promise, PROMISE, that my next post will be a HAPPY one!!!
~~~

You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...
-Dr. Seuss
from Oh! The Places You'll Go!


If you're feeling how I'm feeling, scoot on over to The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and help take a stand against hijaking The Lorax movie for commercial gain.  

*Stephanie*

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie - never apologize - We all love your passion and devotion to children. I have often felt the same way about Winnie the Pooh characters - kids will recognize the Disney version and draw a blank on the original drawings. The Lorax is one of my favorite books and I am sure the movie will have little to do with the original. Ask a high school student how the Little Mermaid ends and they will tell you Ariel and the prince live happily ever after (nevermind the message that you have to physically change yourself to marry the man of your dreams). They sadly have no concept of the original version (which, granted, has its own issues). I am hoping that the movie will open the dialogue of the real issues behind it, even if it has been watered-down. When Dr. Seuss was still alive, he was very skeptical about any of his stories being produced in Hollywood - I am sure he would be very sad.

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