March 2016

The Tale of Despereaux

What Pet Should I Get? 

by Dr. Seuss

This previously never-before-seen book by Dr. Seuss was just published in 2015, and it is the literary equivalent of buried treasure. What happens when a brother and sister visit a pet store to pick a pet? Naturally, they can’t choose just one! The tale captures a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and uses it to illuminate a life lesson: that it is hard to make up your mind, but sometimes you just have to do it! 


A Note from the First Lady:

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

There has never been a better time to focus on reading! Last month, Tennessee launched a new early literacy campaign Read to be Ready – building thinkers in Tennessee with a goal to see the 43% of students who are reading on grade level in 3rd grade move to 75% by 2025. While education continues to improve in Tennessee, our reading scores among students have remained chronically stalled. You can be an important part of this initiative improve literacy in our state. Visit the Ready to be Ready website to learn more about the campaign and how you can be a part of the reading movement.

This month, our featured book celebrates Dr. Seuss, one of the most creative and iconic children’s book authors of all time. Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904, and he would have been 112 years old this year! Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated his books to inspire readers to use their imagination and enjoy being silly. Children love his use of rhyming words, creative characters, and whacky illustrations. His unique, creative style will continue to inspire readers for generations to come.

What Pet Should I Get? is a very special book. Although Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated the story more than 60 years ago, it was just recently discovered and published last year! So this month, why not host a fun, whimsical reading party in honor of Dr. Seuss? Reading together can be a lot of fun. Pick up a Dr. Seuss book and get ready to use your imagination, be silly, and have great time reading!

Keep up the great work,

Crissy Haslam
First Lady of Tennessee


Family Activities

  1. What Pet Should I Get? tells the story of how two siblings must make up their mind choosing a new family pet. Do you have a family pet of your own? Write a story about how you chose your family pet or how you might choose a family pet in the future. What challenges did you face? How did you make up your mind? 
  2. Dr. Seuss used his artistic talent to draw illustrations that bring a visual realization to his fantastic and imaginary worlds. Test out your artistic skills by drawing the illustrations to your story! 
  3. Reading aloud is important, because it helps build fluency. Fluent readers can read accurately, quickly, and with appropriate expression. Reading to a family pet can be a great way to practice reading aloud in a comfortable, unintimidating way, and it is fun to spend time with a beloved pet. Spend 20 minutes reading with your family pet to help build reading fluency. If you don’t have a pet, check with your school or local public library. Many offer special “Paws to Read” programs for kids to read with trained therapy dogs and other animals.
  4. Dr. Seuss believed that books and learning to read should be fun and exciting for children. He wrote more than 44 incredible books that stretch the imagination make reading a blast. Visit your local library to check out other Dr. Seuss books.  You can also visit Suessville—the official home of Dr. Seuss on the Web. It is a great website for children of all ages to play and learn with Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully whimsical books and classic characters.