Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

The Cat in the Hat

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

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The Cat trashes the kids' house and partakes in reckless behavior, but redeems himself in the end. 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. Readers may admire the two siblings' sense of responsibility as it encourages similar behavior that outshines the recklessness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Well, it is the Cat in the Hat. Despite his bad behavior he 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, and oftentimes reckless, behavior. The two siblings also possess 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 has caused, the Cat is able to clean up the mess he made moments before the mother returns as he disappears without a trace.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that young readers will likely side with the fun-crazed Cat and his sidekicks, 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 likely encourage multiple readings.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjillianlovescats October 22, 2010

Children 4 and older will love it!

The Cat in the Hat is very, very Educational!
Parent Written bydct August 31, 2010

5 Hats out of 5 for the Cat

I love reading The Cat in the Hat to my 2 yr old. We have lots of fun reading through it. The first time through he thought it was too long, but now he asks f... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bytobe998 March 22, 2010
i think the book cat in the hat is a good book.for younger kids...
Teen, 13 years old Written byrebma97 June 16, 2010

great, funny book for kids learning how to read

i've always enjoyed the cat in the hat. The simple writing makes it easy for beginner readers to read. It's a cute book and there isn't any inapp... Continue reading

What's the story?

Two children 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.


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 what must have seemed like a meager assortment of words, polishing and polishing, until he produced THE CAT IN THE HAT. And when the Cat strode into primary classrooms, boring old Puff and Spot slunk out forever.

The Cat is almost amoral: He traipses into the house, juggles possessions, and invites his odd pals to help him trash the place. (That's why the children's grumpy goldfish, a self-appointed baby-sitter/morality czar, is a perfect foil for the mischievous Cat.) That said, the Cat is hardly shameless. 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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dr. Seuss's unique use of language and can even use the book to introduce the concept of rhyming.

  • How many sets of rhyming words can you find in the text?

  • Do you notice any kind of pattern with rhyming pairs? Parents can also reinforce the real-life ramifications of 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

  • Author: Dr. Seuss
  • Illustrator: Dr. Seuss
  • Genre: Humor
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publication date: January 1, 1957
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
  • Number of pages: 61

Our editors recommend

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 and learning potential.

Learn how we rate