A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Arthur Geisert (Ice; Oops!), Catherine Thimmesh (Team Moon), Michael J. Rosen (Elijah's Angel), and Donald Hall (The Ox-Cart Man).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Miska Petersham (1888-1960) The Rooster Crows.
- Author Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) was also born on this day. Read Muckrakers: How Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair and Lincoln Steffens Helped Expose Scandal, Inspire Reform, and Invent Investigative Journalism by Ann Bausum.
- In 1663, Galileo Galilei was tried before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for teaching students the Earth orbits the Sun. Read Starry Messenger by Peter SĂs.
- In 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science was created. Read Science Verse by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith.
The heroes of our book of the day do not even have names. But the canines in P. D. Eastmanâ€™s Go, Dog. Go!, an offering for National Dog Week, which takes place the last week of September, are some of the fastest, and funniest, dogs to appear in a childrenâ€™s book.
After the success of Dr. Seussâ€™s, Cat in the Hat, Bennett Cerf of Random House convinced Seuss, his wife Helen, and Cerfâ€™s wife Phyllis to form an editorial board that would shape stories suitable for children just learning to read, the Beginner Books series. Seuss would not only write two other very successful books for the series, Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, but he would also published P. D. Eastmanâ€™s Are You My Mother? Philip Dey Eastman followed up this great book with an even more exciting title, Go, Dog. Go!
In a mere seventy-five words, Eastman manages to portray a group of dogs engaged in high-speed activities and madness. â€śDogs in cars again./Going away./Going away fast./Look at those dogs go./Go, dog. Go!â€ť These dogs drive around in cars and finally meet at a party. Three times a pink poodle asks a yellow dog, â€śDo you like my hat?â€ť And he doesnâ€™t! Then on her fourth try, the dog adores the poodleâ€™s outrageous party hatâ€”and they drive off into the sunset together.
As an antidote to the boring Dick and Jane stories found in school readers, such a text canâ€™t help but engage young readers with a small vocabulary. Who wouldnâ€™t want to read about speeding dogs rather than slow children! As our first National Ambassador for Childrenâ€™s Books, Jon Scieszka wrote in Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Childrenâ€™s Book:
â€śAt school I was trying to learn to read by deciphering stories featuring two lame kids named Dick and Jane. They never did much of anything exciting. And they talked funny. If this was reading, I wondered why anyone would bother.
Then I found Go, Dog. Go! . . . The book seemed so much more real to me (so much more like my family of five brothers) than the books about those strange kids with funny speech patterns.
And that hat. That hat may mean more than we ever know.â€ť
Well, even if this book saved only Jon Scieszka as a reader, we would owe Eastman a debt of gratitude. But, of course, Go, Dog. Go! continues to convince millions of children that books can contain wild and crazy stories. And you can even learn punctuation from the titleâ€”a comma, period, and exclamation point. Go, Dog. Go!
Originally posted September 20, 2011. Updated for .