by F. C. Blake
For the Independent.
Modeling her purposely-outlandish hat, artist, author, and Shady Cove Library Branch Manager, Denali Grace welcomed approximately 35 children and 14 adults to March 7th’s event. The occasion commemorated Dr. Seuss’s 110th birthday, with festivities, decorations, and cookies provided by the Friends of the Library (FOL.)
Volunteers, staff, parents, grandparents and children encouraged the festive spirit by making and donning the zaniest looking hats their imagination dictated.
Yet, through all the lively fun, organization and order somehow prevailed. At the 10:30 a.m. start time, Grace explained the plan to eager youngsters and their family members. Armed with degrees in Fine Arts, Science, and a Masters of Education, Grace obviously plied her versatility with ease. Asked who made the lovely, authentic-looking Seuss Character poster gracing a column next to the front desk—“I did,” she replied. “I’m an artist and an illustrator.”
Her gracious manner of addressing children speaks well for the training she received from Southern Oregon University.
What’s so special about Theodor Seuss Geisel, born March 2, 1904, that prompts educators, librarians, and others to revere his birth month annually? (This year, even Medford’s Committed Alliance to Strays (CATS) announced that their facility would conduct a “read-to-cats” for Seuss’s birthday.)
Seuss radically changed the way kids read, and he made it fun. Before his books’ time, children’s elementary school primers consisted of boring, mundane, uneventful passages. Some great-grandparents and grandparents may recall “Dick, Jane, and their dog, Spot.” To reinforce word recognition, these books’ authors practiced constant repetition. Kids and their parents had their fill of “See Spot run. Run, run, run. Oh, run, Spot.”
Seuss revolutionized the entire concept of reading by employing rhyming, and rhythmic sentences. His cat in the hat leaped out of the pages to become a memorable, and lovable character. Decades later, brisk sales of his red and white horizontal-striped hat, and his stuffed images continue his soaring popularity.
Shady Cove Mayor, Tom Anderson sported that trademark towering stove-pipe hat for the first round of reading aloud to kids during March 7th’s gala celebration. Also taking turns, Assistant Branch Manager, Susie Gabiempa, FOL’s Marta Wilson, Volunteers Cynthia Oliver, and Ian Lambert, plus David Christian. “Oliver does the display windows, and Christian runs our Radio Program in Shady Cove—101.1,” Grace said.
Mary Stirling who guides the children’s crafts on Fridays, helped the kids complete Seuss-style hats for the occasion. She wore a towering feather creation for the morning’s party.
Kathryn Hardy, F.O.L. member in charge of Hospitality, sported an amusing jester-type cap. She grinned and admitted she’d had it for so long, she couldn’t recall where she first obtained it. It fit in so perfectly with the premise of originality that prevailed.
The cookies furnished the yummy touch to cap the morning’s enjoyment.