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He helped teach them to read.

He asked them what they would say, if on a day that was neither funny nor sunny, a cat in a hat showed up and for a few hours, wreaked havoc, and then as mom walked up the sidewalk, cleaned up the whole house with an incredible machine.

But Dr. Seuss was not just for kids.

He was for us grown-ups too. "You're only old once" explored the challenges of aging. "Oh the Places You'll Go" -- his very last book before his death in 1991 -- is a favorite for graduation gifts and speeches.

He and the Lorax reminded us to take care of the earth. A battle over butter cautioned us about war. An elephant taught us to look out for each other.

But it's the Cat in the Hat who gets all the glory. That famous red-and-white too-tall top hat has remained one of the icons of American literature since children first saw it in books in 1957.

Tilford students made their own Cat in the Hat mask on Friday, as the Tilford PTO party featured a Dr. Seuss theme. Such parties are common during the first week in March, as students everywhere honor the good Dr. on his birthday.

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born March 2, 1904. Americans first saw his work during World War II -- he created the cartoons encouraging sacrifice on the home front.

According to historians, Dr. Seuss tried more than 20 times to have his first book, "To think that I saw it on Mulberry Street," published, but was repeatedly rejected. "Green Eggs and Ham" (video reading below) was the result of a challenge from a book publisher: Write an entire book using only 50 different words, or less. Dr. Seuss used exactly 50 -- 175 fewer than "Cat in the Hat."

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