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 16 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

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

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. 

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, 13 years old Written bypicardisbetter May 13, 2015

A summary of the Cat in the Hat

This book's educational
And like it I do
You don't believe me
Ask Things 1 and 2
(Tee Hee)
Teen, 13 years old Written byKeyarra March 1, 2021

Has a little violence!

Ok so, this book is pretty darn scary! I remember when I was about 5 years old, and I was horrified by this book. Just the thought of a man in a cat suit tellin... Continue reading

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love silly rhymes and early reader books

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate