Suess. Doctor Suess.

When you spend your summer with people who still laugh uncontrollably at the word “fart” and consider booger a legitimate food, you have to find ways to stimulate your mind while keeping them from killing each other with spitballs.┬áDr. Suess was the answer to our troubles. I had the audacity to propose that we read all of his books. The nannying gig is over but my mission is not – so look out, unsuspecting children who need to be read to! You could be next…

I’d always been dimly aware that Dr. Suess was talented, but never realized just how brilliant he was. In every book, he leads us into his colorful, whimsical world and teaches us something new about life, or shows us something we knew in bright, new colors. He puts things upside down and convinces us that we are the ones who are not right side up. He sprinkles magic over mundane moments, splashing colors and music all over the place. The books I’ve read recently and what I see in them:

I discovered this one this summer. It’s about appreciating where you are and what you have. Although the message is ancient, it comes to life in a funny, colorful way. The kids loved it (and if they’d had their way, we’d be reading it every night – but I was on a mission).

This one is a similar idea. Just stop complaining and look at what you’ve got.

If you’ve never read this book, you’ve probably never learned to read, and it is unlikely that you are reading my blog. So assuming you’ve all read (or at least watched!) this one, I will admit that I think it is overrated, but still a good story with a memorable main character.

I do, however, recommend the Jewish sequel written by my dad and myself: The Cat in the Hat Kept Shabbat. Not kidding.

The pinnacle of Suess-ness. The ultimate birthday/graduation/new job/anything gift. You can read this one on the bus and not get looked at like the guy reading Spot Goes to School.

The pictures in this one are less appealing than those in his later work, but the story is complex and funny with an unexpected (and somewhat sinister) ending.

This is the one for those of us who are afraid of trying new things. Um…everyone? After reading this too many times, one of the kids decided he wanted to eat green eggs and ham for breakfast. For those of you in a similar situation, I will impart some of my wisdom: 1) Cabbage makes eggs go green. 2) Five year olds are likely to believe that salami is ham.

This is a collection of stories, the best of which is King Looie Katz. It paints a ridiculous picture of the working world and hierarchical society with lots of cats holding up each other’s tails…

Another one that makes the world as we know it look like a joke. There’s no way this was written for kids.

Different from his others – this one hardly rhymes and is quite long. It’s about the power of words and how to say sorry.

I can recite most of this by heart. Sometimes I find myself saying, involuntarily, “So-o… if you want to go bump bump, just jump on the hump of the wump of Gump”. One could argue that this book teaches about diversity, but mostly it’s a stage for Dr. Suess’ brain to dance on. His imagination is doing cartwheels.

A little boy with an imagination like Suess’.

Another place for Dr. Suess’ imagination to go wild.

Once again, he shows us his crazy universe and makes us feel silly for not knowing it existed.

And so my blog-reader, now I ask you,

to please leave your comments and tell me your view!

Do you agree that the Doctor’s fantastic?

Or have I once again been a little bit drastic?

How do you think I should continue my quest?

And which book is his worst? Which one is the best?


24 Hours Off in Paradise

As soon as the clock started ticking for my twenty four hours off I set off for a hike. The trailhead was just around the corner but I somehow managed to spend 45 minutes looking for it. I started the hike hungry, frustrated, and unfortunately, with a very honest heart rate monitor.

The Ute trail is one way to get to the top of Aspen Mountain, also known as Ajax. I’ve hiked longer and higher, but I don’t think I’ve ever done a full hike with an average heart rate of 161. That’s what it is when I run. Fast.

Like with every mountain, you spend spend long, desperate hours huffing and telling yourself it’s worthwhile, then at the summit, you spend about fifteen seconds feeling proud of yourself and another ten taking pictures and then… you’re ready to go down. Anticlimactic.

But this is Aspen. A gondola takes you down. And this is Aspen, so the gondolas play music while you ride. And – have I mentioned this is Aspen? – the music system is solar-powered. And little blond angels float around showering you with hundreds of dollars in cash…

Everyone who is not here to be blond and spend money (or to be a young Israeli and make money) is here for the Aspen Music Festival. It’s a big deal. So after my hike I headed over to the music tent to hear Mozart, Haydn and the gang. I don’t know if it’s because I was alone, because it was free or because I was so happy to be free myself, but the concert was 100% classical and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I visited the library (one of Aspen’s hot spots, in my eyes) and then strolled into an enticing little French restaurant. As if I were not a nanny but a chic young woman on vacation. My delicious crepe was overflowing with rich cheese and caramelized onions, and with my book and my surroundings, I felt very close to heaven.

The next morning I went to a yoga class. When the teacher started pouring sandalwood on us, and talking about our “inner heels” and feeling like mountains, I lost her a bit. But, so what if I was just lying down with my eyes closed and calling it a yoga pose? I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

No one stays in paradise long, though; I, too, tasted the forbidden fruit by answering my phone and heading back to work.