Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

4.6 18
by Dr. Seuss, Lane Smith

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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.

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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.

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.14(w) x 11.29(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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