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Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!


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About the Author

For 30 years, Jack Prelutsky's inventive poems have inspired legions of children to fall in love with poetry. His outrageously silly poems have tickled even the most stubborn funny bones, while his darker verses have spooked countless late-night readers. His award-winning books include Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, and The Beauty of the Beast.

While attending a Bronx, New York, grade school, Prelutsky took piano and voice lessons and was a regular in school shows. Surprisingly, Prelutsky developed a healthy dislike for poetry due to a teacher who "left me with the impression that poetry was the literary equivalent of liver. I was told it was good for me, but I wasn't convinced." In his early twenties, Prelutsky spent six months drawing imaginary animals in ink and watercolor. One evening, he wrote two dozen short poetry verses to accompany each drawing. A friend encouraged him to show them to an editor, who loved his poems (although not his artwork!) and urged him to keep writing. Prelutsky listened and he is still busy writing.
Jack Prelutsky lives on Mercer Island in Washington with his wife, Carolynn.


K-Gr 6ÄThe original talents of Prelutsky and Smith bring an unfinished Dr. Seuss story to life-and what a story it is! The tale revolves around Diffendoofer School, a place where teachers make their own rules and students are taught to think. Their curriculum is an unusual one, covering such topics as "smelling," "laughing," and "how to tell a cactus from a cow," and the school is staffed by people who break all the stereotypes. When the principal informs the students that they must pass a rigorous test or risk being sent to dreary Flobbertown, the tension is palpable, but the inimitable Miss Bonkers is certain they'll pass. In fact, they receive the highest score, saving their school and their rather unorthodox education as well. The story fairly jumps off the page, as do the bright, exuberant collage and oil illustrations, which look like a combination of the familiar Seussian style and Smith's own. A sense of fun reigns supreme, and school comes off looking like a great place to be. Dr. Seuss's well-known books and characters (and even Ted Geisel himself) make cameo appearances throughout the work. The editor's notes on the process of creating the book include original sketches and ideas from Geisel's notebooks. This outstanding work is a must for all collections. Buy extra copies-and be sure to include one for the professional shelf as well. It's a great tribute to the importance of creative thinking in the classroom.ÄNancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI

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