Nataliya's Reviews > The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
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Mar 30, 12

Recommended for: Horror afficionados

This "kids' book" is, in my opinion, a nightmare-quality horror story. Why, you ask? What's scary about a funny-looking cat? *shudder* Well, what's so scary about these cute things?

description
(Well, there actually is nothing scary about that last one. That still doesn't make it any less of a nightmare.)

Sometimes I have nightmares where everything goes wrong, but I am helpless to do anything about it. What's worse, the voice of reason is gone. Well, that pretty much sums up the plot of this book. As a horror story, it gets solid 3 stars. Quick, somebody call Stephen King!

Two kids are left alone on a dreary rainy day - which by the way is a perfect setting for a horror story. (Sidenote: I am not that outraged with the mother leaving the kids unsupervised. In Eastern Europe parents do it all the time. And we survived ). Suddenly a stranger barges in and insists that the kids join him in his games (*cue ominous music here*). And he refuses to leave.

Yeah, if this creature barged into my house, I'd be curled up in a ball in a corner, wailing and wetting myself.

DUN DUN DUN!!!!!..........HELLO THERE, KIDS!

The sentient fish, who appears to supervise the kids and is the sole voice of sanity here, sensibly protests (He should not be here. He should not be about. He should not be here When your mother is out!) - and immediately gets physically threatened and abused. Terrified, it demands the abuse to stop - "This is no fun at all! Put me down! [...] I do NOT wish to fall!" - and narrowly avoids death. Hilarious, right?

Not to mention that, for a fish, seeing a cat is like you answering the doorbell just to greet a Grim Reaper.

description

Next, the terrifying delinquent Cat unleashes Things (perfect name for horror creatures) who wreck havoc on the house. Then the Cat cleans up and vanishes. Basically there is zero evidence left of this horrific intrusion even if the kids tried to tell. But likely the poor little victims will keep quiet. And who knows what will happen the next time the Cat shows up, knowing there are no consequences...
*shudder* / *ominous music* / *Nataliya keeps her light on at night to avoid nightmares*
"Should we tell her The things that went on there that day?"
YES. YOU SHOULD, KIDS. ALWAYS. PLEASE DO TELL YOUR PARENTS!
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Ok, enough about the story. 1 star rating for lazy writing and lazy rhyming. Apparently, the author spent months coming up with a long poem that is almost fully monosyllabic. Here is the issue. If children is old enough to read this long poem by themselves, they should be able to read more than a syllable at the time. I know I did. Let's not be condescending to kids - they are capable of a lot if we give them the benefit of the doubt.

Now, rhyming. I guess you run out of words quickly if you are limited to single syllables but still need to maintain the poetry rhythm. Still, it's not a justification for pathetic excuse of lines that go "Cold, cold wet day", "Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit!", "We sat there we two", "The sun is not sunny", "Fun that is funny", "So so so..." That is just lazy. Just because the story is for kids does not mean it's okay for the writing to be subpar.

The story has enough exclamation points to drive you mad. "And then something went BUMP! How that bump made us jump! We looked! Then we saw him step in on the mat! We looked! And we saw him! The Cat in the Hat!"
To quote (and take slightly out of context) the great Terry Pratchett,
"Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind."
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Yeah. Not a fan of this one. Maybe it's because I am a few decades past the target audience. Maybe it's because the book scares the bejeezus out of me. 2 stars total for the horror potential (which is higher than my initial 1-star rating, so yay?). Sorry, kids.

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Comments (showing 1-50 of 102) (102 new)


Nataliya Alright. The (almost serious) review will go up tomorrow.


message 2: by Richard (new)

Richard The Cat in the Hat seems almost as horrific as Lucy Clifford's story, "The New Mother." (I was going to add multiple exclamation marks but decided against it.)


Nataliya (I was going to add multiple exclamation marks but decided against it.)"

:D

p.s. I can't believe I just replied with an emoticon. What would my mother say....


message 4: by Richard (new)

Richard She would say: >:o


message 5: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim That was the best review of a Dr. Seuss book I've read


Kaethe Brilliant.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Kim wrote: "That was the best review of a Dr. Seuss book I've read"

I second that!


message 8: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Kim wrote: "That was the best review of a Dr. Seuss book I've read"

Seconded.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways LOL

A fixture of my unhappy childhood compared to Chucky and Edward Glittershanks! The horror, the horror!


Nataliya Thanks, guys!


message 11: by Molly (new)

Molly Please teach me how to write reviews like you...all mine are lame.


Nataliya Molly wrote: "Please teach me how to write reviews like you...all mine are lame."

I have, as my mom would say, a serious case of verbal diarrhea. And an unhealthy love for Terry Pratchett quotes. That's all :)


Kaethe Terry Pratchett love is never unhealthy.


Nataliya Kaethe wrote: "Terry Pratchett love is never unhealthy."

Point taken. Of course, you are right.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways What is a "Terry Pratchett"? It sounds unwholesome.


message 16: by Richard (last edited Mar 21, 2012 10:07AM) (new)

Richard Richard wrote: "What is a "Terry Pratchett"? It sounds unwholesome."

It's a hatchet wrapped up in terrycloth, used by stand-up comics doing pratfalls on stage. The terrycloth is so that they don't hurt themselves if they happen to pratfall on top of the hatchet.


Kaethe A "Terry Pratchett" is incisive satire and wit for days, with a keen insight into the human need for stories. And footnotes.


message 18: by Richard (last edited Mar 21, 2012 10:06AM) (new)

Richard Kaethe wrote: "A "Terry Pratchett" is incisive satire and wit for days, with a keen insight into the human need for stories. And footnotes."

Re: Footnotes. See also: Susanna Clarke.


Kaethe I think Douglas Adams started the footnote trend with the Hitchhiker's Guide. Is it wrong of me to love footnotes? And I agree, the footnotes in Jonathan Strange were awesome. I'm quite partial to the ones in Good Omens, too.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Kat wrote: "Richard wrote: "What is a "Terry Pratchett"? It sounds unwholesome."

Sounds like a snazzy robe that you lounge about the house in."


Something Victoria's-Secret-y. Unwholesome.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Touché, madame!


Kaethe Ha! Now I'm imagining a Terry Pratchett Snuggie, with footnotes.


Nataliya Kaethe wrote: "Ha! Now I'm imagining a Terry Pratchett Snuggie, with footnotes."

This. Is. Awesome. (*)
* I want that Snuggie. Dear Santa, pretty please?


message 24: by Kaethe (last edited Mar 23, 2012 05:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kaethe Which book which you want the text from?

Which book whichwould you want the text from?


Nataliya Kaethe wrote: "Which book which you want the text from?"

"Night Watch" and "Hogfather" are my favorites. But the text from any of Granny Weatherwax books will do!


Kaethe Those are all great choices. I love me some Granny Weatherwax. I think I might go with The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, or The Wee Free Men, or Good Omens, for the bonus Neil Gaiman.

But it's not like any of them would be a bad choice.


message 27: by Alyson (new)

Alyson Norman Will you guys stop repeating eachother, thanks


Nataliya Alyson wrote: "Will you guys stop repeating eachother, thanks"

???


message 29: by Edgar (new) - rated it 1 star

Edgar Allan Honorable


Nataliya Thanks ;)


Wendy Unsworth I love this review, Natallya!


Brandi Interesting take on a children's classic. I can't remember reading the book, but I remember nodding off during the movie. It was way too crazy for me.

I've noticed that a lot of children's books are actually pretty horrific. I can't think of any right now, but I know I've read a few.


Wendy Unsworth Brandi - in my experience children love a little zing of scariness - I didn't see the movie but my children loved this book! There is another one The Spooky Old Tree that I am going to review - again, my kids just loved it!


Brandi Wendy wrote: "Brandi - in my experience children love a little zing of scariness - I didn't see the movie but my children loved this book! There is another one The Spooky Old Tree that I am going to review - ag..."

I haven't read that one. But I did think of another one - Where the Wild Things Are. It's a great book, but it would make a terrifying horror movie.


Nataliya Wendy wrote: "I love this review, Natallya!"

Thanks, Wendy!

Brandi wrote: "Interesting take on a children's classic. I can't remember reading the book, but I remember nodding off during the movie. It was way too crazy for me.

I've noticed that a lot of children's books a..."


That's right. Children love a healthy dose of scary. Brothers' Grimm fairy tales immediately come to mind - they are rather cruel and bloody, but the kids love them. I think it's the clear division between good and evil and the fact that the evil always gets brutally punished, combined with children's sense of invulnerability that makes all those horrific for adults stories so much fun for children. (I, for instance, loved reading horror stories as a pre-teen and in my early teen years because, I think, I could never imagine that any of the scary things could actually happen to me. I was immune to the danger!)

I decided to look at this book through the eyes of a horrified adult (and had quite a bit of fun doing that) - but had I been a kid, I probably would have loved this book to pieces. Like Wendy said - "in my experience children love a little zing of scariness".


Emily The story was cute until the cat scared me :3


Nataliya Emily wrote: "The story was cute until the cat scared me :3"

Hehe.


Wendy Unsworth Emily wrote: "The story was cute until the cat scared me :3"

Maybe you should try Mog, The Forgetful Cat - he starts out cute and stays cute!!


message 39: by Jeannette (new)

Jeannette This scared me as a kid, and, as a result, I never subjected my daughter to any Dr. Seuss when she was a kid. Great review. :)


Ronyell Awesome review Nataliya! I love the images!! How do you get the images to line up like that?


Nataliya Kaethe wrote: "Ah, Mog the Forgetful Cat: 30th Anniversary Edition."

I kinda want that now. The cover is definitely memorable :)

Jeannette wrote: "This scared me as a kid, and, as a result, I never subjected my daughter to any Dr. Seuss when she was a kid. Great review. :)"

Thanks, Jeannette!

Ronyell wrote: "Awesome review Nataliya! I love the images!! How do you get the images to line up like that?"

Thanks, Ronyell! I just put html codes for images right next to each other, and I make sure to specify their widths so that they do not spill over to the new line.

Now I mostly mash them up together in a word processor, then make a jpg file and upload that.


Ronyell Nataliya wrote: "Kaethe wrote: "Ah, Mog the Forgetful Cat: 30th Anniversary Edition."

I kinda want that now. The cover is definitely memorable :)

Jeannette wrote: "This scared me as a kid, and, as a result, I nev..."


That's awesome!!! I'll have to try that in my reviews!


Allie So, what books should children read then? The Left Behind series?


Nataliya Children should read whatever they want and form their own opinions about books - that was the approach my parents took with me, and I'm happy with how it worked out.

I do hope they read a children's book that is better crafted than this one (I, for instance, would suggest Pushkin and like because it's never too early to start developing good taste). All I know is that the popularity of books by Dr. Seuss baffles me. Terrible and sloppy writing is not okay - and I stick by that opinion. And I love having fun when writing reviews.


Allie Okay, but just because it was your approach, doesn't mean it should be everyone's, or that kids who read Dr. Seuss should/will be traumatized or have bad taste. I learned to read because of books like Cat in the Hat and was one of few who entered kindergarten who could already read.


Nataliya In all honesty, Allie, I don't think I ever suggested that the way I view this book or what I think is good for kids should work for everyone. It's a matter of personal choice, and it's just my opinion which I tend to state pretty loudly but would never impose on others. What I write in my review is only my opinion, and it's applicable to me. And I hope it is pretty obvious that I was having a bit of fun with it.

I'm glad to meet another early reader here - I was taught to read when I was 3, and because of that I was allowed to skip our kindergarten alphabet lessons. I chose to spend that time reading my books while everyone else was learning what letter 'A' looked like. Good times :)


message 48: by Linda (new)

Linda brilliant review, nataliya! i definitely remember being aghast at the cat making a mess of things, and being very much on the side of the fish. i guess i was always the responsible one :P


Nataliya Linda wrote: "brilliant review, nataliya! i definitely remember being aghast at the cat making a mess of things, and being very much on the side of the fish. i guess i was always the responsible one :P"

Thanks, Linda! Yes, poor victimized fish... that poor creature will be in need of some serious counseling in the future ;)


message 50: by Mike (new)

Mike Well spoken, and I enjoyed your review, although I totally disagree for no reason I can put words to.

Keep in mind, this was ground-breaking work in children's 'primers', basically written on a challenge that there were not enough books for schools that everyday children could not put down, with a short list of very-beginning-reader words.


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