It’s March Madness With The Cat in the Hat!


Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. He published over 60 children’s books over his long career, including classics like Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by over 20 publishers before being published in 1937. But his big breakthrough came in 1957 with the publication of The Cat in the Hat.

The Cat in the Hat tells the story of two children, Sally and her unnamed brother, who are visited by the anthropomorphic cat while their mother is away. The cat shows the children all kinds of chaotic tricks and games before their mother returns. The book was written using only 236 different words from a prescribed list of 348 words provided by William Spaulding, who thought a book with a limited vocabulary could entice young readers. The Cat in the Hat was an instant success and helped launch Dr. Seuss’s prolific career writing children’s books.

Publication Date

The beloved children’s book The Cat in the Hat was first published on March 1, 1957 by Random House. According to the original 1957 edition on eBay, the book lists the publication date as March 12, 1957 (Source). However, most sources confirm the official release date as March 1, including the Wikipedia summary for the book (Source). March 1st is significant as it coincides with the birthday of author Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Story Summary

The Cat in the Hat tells the story of two children, Sally and her brother (who is unnamed in the book), who are left home alone on a cold, rainy day. While their mother is out, a talking cat wearing a tall striped hat shows up at their house. The cat comes into the house and starts creating chaos for the children, bringing in a number of friends and things, including two things named Thing One and Thing Two. The cat balances all sorts of household items and performs all kinds of tricks while Sally’s fish looks on in disapproval. Just as their mother returns, the cat manages to clean up the mess before she sees it. After the cat leaves, the children wonder if they should tell their mother about the strange cat that visited.

The story was written using only 236 words, many of them one syllable, so it could be an enjoyable reading experience for young children learning to read. The main characters are the mischievous Cat, the wary Sally, and her curious brother. The book shows the conflict between rule-following Sally and the irrepressible Cat.

March Setting

The story provides several clues that indicate it takes place in March. For example, in the original book published in 1957, the children are wearing light clothing, there are no signs of snow on the ground, and the weather appears pleasant for playing outside (Is ‘The Cat in the Hat’ Racist?).

While the text does not outright state the month, the author Dr. Seuss includes illustrative details about March weather and the school calendar that suggest the story happens during this springtime month. The children are home from school, implying it may be spring break or the weekend. Sally specifically mentions that “our mother is out of the house for the day” so they are home from school unsupervised (The Cat in the Hat). March is a common month in the U.S. for schools to have a weeklong break.

The animated TV specials clarify the March 1st date through balloons and other text indicators. Overall, the story’s cues about climate, the school calendar, and direct references to March 1st provide convincing evidence that The Cat in the Hat takes place in March.

March 1st

The Cat in the Hat was published on March 1, 1957 by Random House. This specific date holds significance, as March 1st is Read Across America Day, an annual reading motivation and awareness program in the United States that calls for every child to celebrate reading. The day also coincides with the birthday of famous children’s author Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel.

The publication date of The Cat in the Hat on March 1st ties in with the greater celebration of reading and Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Releasing such an iconic children’s book on this date helped promote literacy and reading for young audiences across America through the unforgettable characters and rhymes of Dr. Seuss. Even today, Read Across America Day activities often incorporate The Cat in the Hat and other Dr. Seuss books to encourage reading.

Read Across America Day

The Cat in the Hat was first published in March 1957. Since then, it has become a beloved children’s book that is now connected to Read Across America Day, held annually on March 2nd. This nationwide reading celebration was established in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA) to get kids excited about reading.

On Read Across America Day, many elementary schools have students dress up as Dr. Seuss characters like the Cat in the Hat. It’s a fun way to celebrate reading while honoring Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The Cat in the Hat is now an icon of this special day that encourages kids to read and adults to motivate children’s literacy.

Other March Holidays

The Cat in the Hat was published in March 1957 and has become closely associated with March holidays and events, especially those related to reading and Dr. Seuss. Some key March holidays and events relevant to The Cat in the Hat include:

Read Across America Day: Held annually on March 2nd to coincide with Dr. Seuss’s birthday, this nationwide reading celebration emphasizes the importance of motivating children and teens to read. Many events and activities revolve around Dr. Seuss books like The Cat in the Hat (Source).

National Reading Month: March is designated National Reading Month in the United States. Reading The Cat in the Hat and other Dr. Seuss titles is a popular way to participate (Source).

The connection to these and other March events helps explain the enduring popularity and cultural significance of The Cat in the Hat.

Educational Value

The Cat in the Hat promotes early literacy education and reading skills. As the book was originally created in response to a desire for entertaining yet educational children’s books, Dr. Seuss intentionally incorporated simple vocabulary and rhyming words to support beginning readers. The charming story introduces concepts of rhyming, letter recognition, and phonics in an engaging way. Teachers often use The Cat in the Hat to celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2nd, as the book motivates children to read.

The Cat in the Hat also provides various educational themes that teachers build upon. The antics of Thing One and Thing Two demonstrate the importance of rules and responsibility. The story promotes honesty as the children must confess to their mother what happened while she was away. The appearance of the magical cat encourages imagination and creativity. With rich illustrations and minimal text, the book leaves room for children to think critically. Overall, the classic Dr. Seuss story creatively promotes literacy and other educational skills.

Lasting Popularity

Despite being published over 65 years ago in 1957, The Cat in the Hat remains one of Dr. Seuss’s most popular and iconic books. There are several key reasons why this book has maintained such enduring popularity over the decades:

The book’s brilliant use of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition makes it delightfully fun to read aloud. The playful language helps young children learn to read. As this article notes, “The Cat spoke in a syncopated anapestic tetrameter, a pleasing rhythm scheme reminiscent of rap decades before rap.”

The wacky characters like the Cat, Thing One, and Thing Two capture children’s imaginations. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with humor and mischief that keeps kids engaged.

It promotes literacy and reading for young children in an entertaining way. Many see it as the perfect beginner book to get kids excited about reading independently.

The iconic illustrations by Dr. Seuss are instantly recognizable. The Cat’s red and white striped hat has become a symbol of the entire Dr. Seuss brand.

Nostalgia also plays a role. Generations of parents fondly remember the story from their own childhood and want to pass it along to their kids. As Dr. Seuss’s most famous book, it holds a special place in American pop culture.


The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss has become a classic children’s book that is now a staple of early education. Though the story takes place on a rainy day in March, its popularity endures throughout the year. With its simple rhyming verses, imaginative plot, and emphasis on reading, The Cat in the Hat teaches basic literacy skills and encourages a love of books in young children. March 1st’s designation as Read Across America Day further cements the connection between this iconic Seuss story and the month of March. Over 60 years after its publication, parents continue to read The Cat in the Hat to their kids as an introduction to reading, and the Cat’s antics remain a source of delight for children of all ages.

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