The Cat in the Hat

Book review by
Robyn Raymer, Common Sense Media
The Cat in the Hat Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
The kids' classic that put Dr. Seuss on the map.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Simple vocabulary for beginning readers. Good introduction to poetry.

Positive Messages

Although not as clear-cut as Dr. Seuss' other stories, the overall message of this tale is about fun -- very important to have, but also necessary to set limits on when the time and situation calls for it. When you make a mess, clean up after yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite his bad behavior, The Cat in the Hat is an enduring, and much loved, character. The true voice of reason in this story, however, is the family's pet fish who constantly opposes the Cat's exuberant, reckless behavior. The brother and sister have a strong sense of responsibility when it comes to setting limits on the fun that the Cat insists on having. Despite all the chaos he's caused, the Cat is able to clean up the mess he made moments before the mother returns and he disappears without a trace. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat is a classic early reader book, originally published in 1957. Young readers will mostly side with the reckless, fun-crazed Cat and his sidekicks, Thing 1 and Thing 2, not the guilt-tripping goldfish who serves as the voice of reason. The book's colorful illustrations capture the Cat's exuberant spirit and match the rapid-fire rhyming text, which will encourage multiple readings. A bilingual (Spanish and English) edition, The Cat in the Hat/ El Gato Ensombrerado, is avaialable. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLebron12James3 March 19, 2020
Parent of a 7 and 9-year-old Written byMrs. C. B. September 22, 2017
Teen, 16 years old Written byShowman movie13 April 23, 2020

Really good for young kids to hear

I rating this 5-star not because I liked it, but it is such a good books for toddlers to hear. All though the Cat in Hat does some mischief; it really is good... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 20, 2019

Overrated but still solid

While I think it isn’t 5 star material, It’s a good book.

What's the story?

Two children, Conrad and his sister Sally, are moping indoors on a rainy day when in strolls THE CAT IN THE HAT. Making one of the most unforgettable entrances in the history of children's literature, the lanky feline, stylishly dressed in a candy-striped stovepipe hat and oversized bow tie, creates a whirlwind of misbehavior that the kids are at first powerless to halt. He opens a box and releases Thing 1 and Thing 2, who cause even more trouble. But the goldfish is the voice of reason, and Conrad sends the Cat and his friends packing. The mess gets cleaned up before the kids' mom comes home.

 

Is it any good?

This is a must-read classic for every child. In response to a pivotal Life magazine article titled "Why Johnny Can't Read," children's author Theodor S. Geisel -- aka Dr. Seuss -- spent over a year shuffling a minimal assortment of words, polishing and polishing, until he produced this wacky, offbeat story for very young readers. 

The Cat traipses into the house, juggles possessions, and invites his odd pals to help him trash the place. But the children's grumpy goldfish, a self-appointed babysitter/morality czar, is a perfect foil for the mischievous Cat. And after the boy finally asserts himself and orders the fun-loving feline to "pack up those Things" and hit the road, the Cat is the picture of remorse -- even his whiskers and bow tie droop. The Cat in the Hat is a wonderful read-aloud and a rollicking good time for kids and grown-ups alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dr. Seuss's unique use of language in The Cat in the Hat. What's fun about a book that uses rhyming to tell the story? 

  • How many sets of rhyming words can you find in the text? Do you notice any kind of pattern with rhyming pairs?

  • What would happen in real life after the Cat's crazy behavior?

  • Do you think the children will be honest with their mother about what actually happened in the house that day?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love silly rhymes and early reader books

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