Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

4.6 18
by Dr. Seuss, Lane Smith

View All Available Formats & Editions

Started by Dr. Seuss, finished by Jack Prelutsky, and illustrated by Lane Smith, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! is a joyous ode to individuality starring unsinkable teacher Miss Bonkers and the quirky Diffendoofer School (which must prove it has taught its students how to think—or have them sent to dreary Flobbertown). Included is an introduction by Dr.


Started by Dr. Seuss, finished by Jack Prelutsky, and illustrated by Lane Smith, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! is a joyous ode to individuality starring unsinkable teacher Miss Bonkers and the quirky Diffendoofer School (which must prove it has taught its students how to think—or have them sent to dreary Flobbertown). Included is an introduction by Dr. Seuss's longtime editor explaining how the book came to be and reproductions of Dr. Seuss's original pencil sketches and hand-printed notes for the book—a true find for all Seuss collectors!  Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith pay homage to the Good Doctor in their own distinctive ways, the result of which is the union of three one-of-a-kind voices in a brand-new, completely original book that is greater than the sum of its parts. For all of us who will never forget our school days and that special teacher, here is a book to give and to get.

Editorial Reviews

NY Times Book Review
The book is sure to make many friends in the younger school-age crowd.
Family Fun
This quirky posthumous collaboration has all the earmarks of yet another classic.
New York Times Book Review
The book is sure to make many friends in the younger school-age crowd.
Chicago Parent
If you thought nothing could top Geisel's last book, Oh, the Places You'll Go! — think again. Read Diffendoofer Day with your children and talk about what is most worth learning.
Parents Editors
Dr. Seuss would be proud.
Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
When Theodor Seuss Geisel died in 1991, he left behind an unfinished manuscript about a teacher he named Miss Bonkers. Janet Schulman had been his editor for eleven years and at first she didn't know what could be done with the fourteen pages of sketches and notes. When she realized that the basis of the story was a celebration of individuality and creative thinking, she decided to ask poet Jack Prelutsky and illustrator Lane Smith to finish the book. A section titled "How This Book Came To Be" contains background information and the original words and drawings. It is apparent from this that Prelutsky and Smith did more than finish the book. In a way, they collaborated with the beloved children's book writer, Dr. Seuss. It often seems unfair to publish a work the author never had a chance to rewrite and complete, and questionable to have another writer take over the job. However, this book works and children will enjoy the sing-song verse and the fanciful illustrations of the corridors and characters of Diffendoofer School. Dr. Seuss' drawings appear here and there and everywhere throughout the book as does his spirit.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
The teachers at Diffendoofer School educate with creative abandon and boundless joy until the principal announces that the students will have to take a standardized test. If they do not do well, the school will be torn down and they will have to go to Flobbertown. "Not Flobbertown!" we shouted,/ And we shuddered at the name,' For everyone in Flobbertown/ Does everything the same." Miss Bonkers calms her students, the school gets the highest test scores and the children learn happily ever after. This is the perfect gift for a teacher who gives the gift of real learning to a student.
School Library Journal
The original talents of Prelutsky and Smith bring an unfinished Dr. Seuss story to life -- and what a story it is! The tale revolves around Diffendoofer School, a place where teachers make their own rules and students are taught to think. Their curriculum is an unusual one, covering such topics as 'smelling,' 'laughing,' and 'how to tell a cactus from a cow,' and the school is staffed by people who break all the stereotypes. When the principal informs the students that they must pass a rigorous test or risk being sent to dreary Flobbertown, the tension is palpable, but the inimitable Miss Bonkers is certain they'll pass. In fact, they receive the highest score, saving their school and their rather unorthodox education as well.

The story fairly jumps off the page, as do the bright, exuberant collage and oil illustrations, which look like a combination of the familiar Seussian style and Smith's own. A sense of fun reigns supreme, and school comes off looking like a great place to be. Dr. Seuss's well-known books and characters (and even Ted Geisel himself) make cameo appearances throughout the work. The editor's notes on the process of creating the book include original sketches and ideas from Geisel's notebooks. This outstanding work is a must for all collections. Buy extra copies-and be sure to include one for the professional shelf as well. It's a great tribute to the importance of creative thinking in the classroom. -- Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI

Horn Book Magazine
After Dr. Seuss's death, editor Janet Schulman retrieved the unfinished manuscript on which this book is based: 14 pages of sketches, snippets of verse, and jottings of names -- but no plot. With becoming respect for both Seuss unique creativity and their own, Prelutsky and Smith have brought this fragment to fruition in a style that does credit to all three artists. Prelutsky's was the easier task. Long a master of the kind of rib-tickling verse that Seuss pioneered, he has come up with a satisfying conflict: if the kids at freewheeling Diffendoofer School don't pass a demanding test, they'll be sent to school in dreary, regimented Flobbertown. Fortunately, their wacky teachers have taught them how to think (a worthy message, though it's hard to fathom just how the pictured classroom activities would have that result, but never mind); therefore, they pass with a resounding '10,000,000%' Since Seuss's entire manuscript is reproduced here as an endnote, it's possible to see how Prelutsky has folded it into his own deliciously Seussian text, which features a preposterous school staff ('Miss Twining teaches tying knots / In neckerchiefs and noodles, / And how to tell chrysanthemums / From miniature poodles,' while librarian Miss Loon '...hides behind the shelves / And often cries out, 'LOUDER!' / When we're reading to ourselves'). Illustrations were a greater challenge. Though the absurdity of Smith's art has always been akin to Seuss' antic spirit, his mixed-media collages, with their smoothly rounded forms, complex textures, and subtle palette, are a far cry from the deceptive simplicity of Seuss's deft, airy cartoons. Smith's illustrations here are like translations: satirical renditions, in his own distinctive, sophisticated style, of such zany folk and weirdly expressive settings as Seuss might have dreamed up to finish this book. As an additional tribute, Smith tucks a number of Seuss drawings (e.g., a surprised Horton) into his pictures. It works, and it's fun, though comparing the whimsical energy of Seuss' sketches with Smith's polished art is a telling reminder of what made the good Doctor's work so popular, and so great. Grown-ups will enjoy figuring out who's responsible for what here. Kids will simply delight in the teachers' outlandish capers. What better honor could be paid to the memory of Dr. Seuss?
Editors Parents
Dr. Seuss would be proud.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
A testament to the value of being different, a fine tribute to the legendary Seuss.
Midwest Book Review
Dr. Seuss' Horray For Diffendoofer Day! here receives help from Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith as it explores the zany Diffendoofer School and the special teacher Miss Bonkers who works there. This strange school will delight the young enthusiast of rhyme.
Kirkus Reviews
When Theodor Geisel died in 1991, he left behind a half-sketched idea for a book, an ode to joy and eccentricity in education. Enter Prelutsky and Smith to finish the project, about a school run by a gaggle of latitudinarians—'Miss Bobble teaches listening,/Miss Wobble teaches smelling,/Miss Fribble teaches laughing,/And Miss Quibble teaches yelling.' Their charges take to the curriculum like bees to honey, until the dour principal Mr. Lowe ('We think he wears false eyebrows. In fact, we're sure it's so. We've heard he takes them off at night I guess we'll never know') informs them that they must pass a standardized test, or the school will be closed and the students shuffled off to dreary Flobbertown. They pass muster, wholesale, and send choruses of the 'Diffendoofer Song' to the heavens.

The magic here is in the marriage of Seuss, Prelutsky, and Lane: The Prelutsky voice is delightfully obvious, but he has blended whole slices of Seussian verse into his lines, while Smith has laced the crazy, deliciously colored artwork with cameos of characters and books that any of Dr. Seuss's fans will recognize. A lengthy afterword (containing reproductions of Geisel's early drafts) by his editor, Janet Schulman, explains how the book evolved. It's a model collaboration, because the spirits involved—including Schulman's—are so obviously kindred.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.31(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

For 30 years, Jack Prelutsky’s inventive poems have inspired legions of children to fall in love with poetry. His outrageously silly poems have tickled even the most stubborn funny bones, while his darker verses have spooked countless late-night readers. His award-winning books include Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, and The Beauty of the Beast.

While attending a Bronx, New York, grade school, Prelutsky took piano and voice lessons and was a regular in school shows. Surprisingly, Prelutsky developed a healthy dislike for poetry due to a teacher who “left me with the impression that poetry was the literary equivalent of liver. I was told it was good for me, but I wasn’t convinced.”

In his early twenties, Prelutsky spent six months drawing imaginary animals in ink and watercolor. One evening, he wrote two dozen short poetry verses to accompany each drawing. A friend encouraged him to show them to an editor, who loved his poems (although not his artwork!) and urged him to keep writing. Prelutsky listened and he is still busy writing.
Jack Prelutsky lives on Mercer Island in Washington with his wife, Carolynn.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 2, 1904
Date of Death:
September 4, 1991
Place of Birth:
Springfield, Massachusetts
Place of Death:
La Jolla, California
B.A., Dartmouth College, 1925; Oxford University (no degree)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a 4th grade teacher and I read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day every year right before my students take their standardized high stakes test. It is funny, engaging, and the kids love the silly poetry. What's more, it helps my students to feel confident during an otherwise extremely stressful time for them. We do several projects with this book. We talk about multiple intelligences and activities that teach us how to be good thinkers, and we also do a fun art project where the students design their dream schools. This is a great book for teachers, parents, and students of all ages.
JB300 More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my fellow teachers in my last faculty meeting before I retired after 33 years in the classroom. I challenged each of them to become that special teacher. This book is an excellent motivator, and it reminded me to do something special in the lives of my high school students. Many of my fellow teachers told me that they had been inspired by the words of Dr. Seuss. What a wonderful experience!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a teacher, I use this book before state testing every year.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is as interesting for the section that explains its origins as it is the for story and illustrations themselves. Before he died, Dr. Seuss was working on a book about teaching. He couldn't get it quite right because 'Miss Bonkers was driving him bonkers.' After his death, the material was passed along to his long-time editor who filed it away. One day she had the good thought of inviting talented poet, Jack Prelutsky, and outstanding illustrator, Lane Smith, to complete the project. The book shows you the Seuss sketches and his work in progress. It's really quite interesting. Prior to the origins section, you get the actual story. The result is a book that is a combination of wonderful children's story and multifaceted paean to Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss's books are wonderful for celebrating differences among children. This book moves beyond that excellent base to point out the benefits of differences among adults as well as children. The creation of Flobbertown (where everyone does everything the same, and life is dreary) is a stroke of genius, for it creates an archetype to react against. Near when the poem begins, a student is speaking. 'My teacher is Miss Bonkers, She's as bouncy as a flea . . . I'm glad she teaches me.' That's the sort of sincere flattery all teachers should receive from their students. Miss Bonkers's specialization is summarized as follows, 'Miss Bonkers teaches EVERYTHING!' She's a free spirit, as evidenced by her use of a trampoline. She does her own thing, and the principal (who worries a lot) 'treats her like a queen.' Most teachers would love that kind of support, as well! The rest of the teaching and support staff are equally unique and interesting in their own ways. While many children's stories stick just to the main story line, this one develops many characters to establish a sense of place and context that build a very solid base for the plot. Working from 'some characters, a setting, and a few verses' the story revolves around the benefits of teaching children to think for themselves. This is a good theme, because you can use it as a starting point to encourage your children do the same. The story does a nice job of providing an interesting and amusing tale, with contemporary references that make it more relevant. As much as I liked the poetry and its imaginative interweaving with Dr. Seuss's original thoughts, I must say I was even more impressed with the illustrations. You will see a vivid, exciting, Seuss-like world, yet this place is distinct from Dr. Seuss. But, Lane Smith incorporated many images from Dr. Seuss into the details for the illustrations, like cut-outs from the newspaper in a Picasso collage. The result is rather intriguing and richer than either style alone would be. After you have finished enjoying the story with your child, I suggest that you encourage your child to notice the 'invisible' people in her or his life. What are they like? What are they focusing on? How can thinking for themselves make a difference? Encourage independent thinking! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
maryob More than 1 year ago
I will use it for sure with my Church Youth Ministry Group. Older kids will love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Suess has always written classic children books, young children today are still enchanted by his books. The first book I ever read [by myself] was 'Horton Hears a Who' by Dr. Suess. From then on I have enjoyed reading. It has been a favorite book of mine from then on. 'Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!' was read to me by my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Amburgey. We read the book in class, during Dr. Suess week. After reading the book, we were to write a report on it. I finished my report in ten minutes and it was a whole page long. This book is an amazing book for all ages. Today this book is still the only book that puts me to sleep at night, and its the only book that I could never get tired of reading it. I love this book. I reccomend anyone reading this review should definatly read this book. I also reccomend that any teacher [of any grade] reading this, should get the book and read it out aloud to his or her class. Dr. Suess was a literay genuis. He was an amazing author, and an amazing rhymist. He is why so many young children enjoy reading. This book, though he did not finish it by himself and had help from Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith, is just another classic from Dr. Suess.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my favorite Dr.Seuss books. My first favorite Dr.Seuss book is Oh the places you'll go. I would reccomend this book to everybody! READ THIS BOOK! READ THIS BOOK! People of all ages will love this book even teachers will love it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i did a report on this book. it was one of the most fun book reports i have ever written
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really is my favorite picture book. The rhyming and the flow of the words is excellent and the whole story is great and the pictures are neat and you feel good after you've read it. I would love to go to that school!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very encouraging book whether you are a student, or a teacher, or a parent. It emphasizes the most important goal of an educator - but you have to read it to find out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe that this book can be enjoyed by all ages. It has the great rymes of Dr. Seuss with the enjoyable lyrics of Prelutsky. Over all, i think this book is the best book out by these two people. A great combination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful gift idea for a graduate with an education degree, particularly elementary education. It's inspirational and makes a nice addition to their children's book collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are about to have a test read this book to pump you up before a big test!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i didn't like the book that much not enough detail