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Children’s Illustrators #1: Dr. Seuss

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Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, children are introduced to the basic elements of Dr. Seuss’s artistic style.  They will make a simple “Cat in the Hat” style hat and decorate it to make a class display.

Lesson Plan:


Identify and describe the artistic style of Dr. Seuss.

Suggested Time:

45 min – 1 hour

Success Criteria:

Students will be able to recognize a Dr. Seuss picture book and describe basic elements of his style.  Students will also complete Cat in the Hat hat using the style of Dr. Seuss.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction

If you have studied other illustrators, briefly review what the children have learned.  Introduce author and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel, commonly known as Dr. Seuss, by holding up a few books whose covers the children may recognize.

2. Main

Today we’ll look at the work of one particular author and illustrator, Dr. Seuss.  We’ll do the following things together:

  1. Look at some illustrations.
  2. Read a story together.
  3. Watch a short Brain Pop segment on Dr. Seuss;
  4. Create a piece of art in the style of Dr. Seuss.

Show some Dr. Seuss books and characters. Ask the children to describe Dr. Seuss’s works. Record their ideas.  They may come up with ideas to describe either the words or the illustrations like:

  • Stories rhyme
  • Stories have a beat or rhythm
  • Lots of word play
  • Unusual characters
  • Very few straight lines
  • Full of imagination

Read The Cat in the Hat together. Many children will know it, but you may be surprised at how many have never read the book!

If your school has a subscription to Brain Pop, watch the segment in Brain Pop, Jr. entitled “Dr. Seuss.” Because Dr. Seuss did not grant interviews, it is not possible to watch a video interview.  Check for understanding using the Brain Pop quizzes at the end.  If you do not have access to Brain Pop, skip this part of the lesson plan.

Using the Dr. Seuss activity kit linked in the “Resources” section, draw a simple Dr. Seuss hat that takes up half of a sheet of paper. Photocopy enough so that each child has one hat.  Ask the children to create a striped hat in the style of Dr. Seuss, but encourage each child to choose just one color and alternate that with white.  So, instead of a red and white hat, a child might make a green and white or purple and white striped hat.  For variety, add a bit of glitter to the lines or a few small pompoms on the bottom strip.

(Add photos when more work samples are available.)

3. Conclusion

Encourage the children to read Dr. Seuss books and look carefully at his illustrations.  Although the children may be familiar with easier books or books that have been made into movies, they may not know all of his titles.

Resources :
  1. Official Dr. Seuss website from Random House Children’s Books: http://www.seussville.com/?home – /home
  2. The art of Dr. Seuss (for adults, not designed for children): http://www.drseussart.com/
  3. Cat in the Hat Activity Kit: http://www.seussville.com/activities/RAAEK13_Booklet_WEB.pdf
  4. Brain Pop Jr., “Dr. Seuss” segment.

If you do not have time for all of the illustrator lessons, leave this one out. Most kids are familiar with Dr. Seuss and there may be less material here which is new.  Also, the language in Dr. Seuss books can be quite difficult for English Language Learners, so if you are pressed for time, this is the lesson I’d give up.

The extension activity I’ve included, making a simple Cat-in-the-Hat style hat, is very simple and gives you more time to concentrate on the language and literature.  However, there is no end to the number of activities you can find based on the work of Dr. Seuss.

I like to do this one because the kids love it so much.  Also, I like to be sure that students see and browse Dr. Seuss titles that are less well known.

National Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day, is celebrated in early March.  The next Dr. Seuss Day is 2 March 2018, so mark your calendars and get ready for some school-wide, Dr. Seuss fun!

Recommended Books For This Lesson:
  1. The Cat in the Hat
  2. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
  3. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  4. Fox in Socks
  5. Hop on Pop
  6. The Foot Book
  7. The Lorax
  8. Horton Hears a Who
  9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  10. Happy Birthday to You!
  11. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
  12. Yertle the Turtle
  13. The Sneeches and Other Stories
  14. I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
  15. Oh, The Places You’ll Go
  16. McElligot’s Pool
  17. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
  18. Bartholomew and the Oobleck
Key Terms:

Cats, Stories in Rhyme, Dr. Seuss

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