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There's no excuse not to know Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss has set the stage

For readers of most any age

For his birthday let's take a peek

At Read Across America Week.

This week, all across the county schools will be celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday. At the Buice Center, a preschool and special needs preschool, kids have been gearing up for weeks, assembling pictorial book reviews into a giant bookworm named Bobby. Their goal is for Bobby's body to circle the whole cafeteria in time for the big day, which is tomorrow.

School board member Carol Boyce and volunteers from Union Grove Baptist Church, Sam's Club and Publix will read to the students at Mulberry Elementary, and if they time it right, could be treated to some green eggs and ham. Kids at Chattahoochee Elementary will put the finishing touch on a weeklong celebration by drawing postcards showing Oh, the Places You Will Go!

Adults will really hit the books at Harmony Elementary, where guest readers include CBS Atlanta News anchors Stephany Fisher and Bill Gaines plus athletes from the Gladiators Falcons and former Force. Chopper, the Gwinnett Braves' mascot, will lead a book character parade as the grand finale.

Though Dr. Seuss's works are associated mainly with children, he actually did some writing for adults. In fact, his first published work was a poem, "O Latin," a parody of Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!," bewailing how much he hated Latin. What toddler could possibly appreciate that?

During World War II, he produced more than 200 political cartoons, which you can find at the library in "Dr. Seuss Goes to War," by Richard Minear.

Seuss-ophiles have written dozens of books about him and his works, including such treasures as"The Gospel According to Seuss," by James W. Kemp. To really top off the list, University of Kentucky professors Terry and Jennifer Tunberg translated "The Cat in the Hat" into Latin.

I asked some Latin teachers if they use the book in class. No one does, but several teachers noted that the Tunsbergs are leading proponents of teaching Latin as a spoken, living language, and not the dead one we merely translated back in the last millennium. Robert Patrick invited me over to Parkview to listen.

I came. I saw. I heard. Everyone was so involved. And so vocal.

"It's fun to learn the language and connect to words you use today," Andrew Perez said.

"The way Mr. Patrick teaches is fun. He interacts with us and it's not all bookwork," Ben Kim added.

"He repeats everything like 80 times and helps us memorize it when we don't realize we're memorizing it," Kurian Elakatt said.

"I switched languages. I was really struggling in the other language, but now I have a B-plus. Latin is more fun," Kyle Oatis said.

Hmmmm.

Too bad there was no reason or rhyme

That fate might cause a warp in time

And pull a cosmic Cat-in-Hat trick

To let Seuss learn Latin from Mr. Patrick.

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4

@yahoo.com