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The Cat in the Hat
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The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat is a fictional cat created by Dr. Seuss. He appears in two of Seuss's rhymed children's books.

The Cat in the Hat

In the first of the series (1957), the Cat brings a cheerful and exuberant form of chaos to the household of two young children one day while their mother is out. Bringing with him Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat does every trick a naughty child might wish, vainly opposed by the family pet, who is a sentient and articulate goldfish. The children (Sally and her older brother, who is the narrator) ultimately prove exemplary latchkey children, capturing the Things and bringing the Cat under control. He cleans up the house on his way out, disappearing seconds before the mother arrives.

The book has been very popular since its publication.

Seuss wrote the book because he felt that there should be more entertaining and fun material for beginning readers; the text includes only 220 common words. From a literary point of view, the book is a feat of skill, since it simultaneously maintains a strict triple meter, keeps to a tiny vocabulary, and tells a very entertaining tale. Literary critics occasionally write recreational essays about the work, having fun with issues such as the (slightly disturbing) absence of the mother and the psychological or symbolic characterizations of Cat, Things, and Fish.

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

The Cat in the Hat made a return appearance in this 1958 sequel. On this occasion, he leaves Thing One and Thing Two at home, but does bring along Little Cat A, nested inside his hat. Little Cat A doffs his hat to reveal Little Cat B, who in turn reveals C, and so on down to the microscopic Little Cat Z, who turns out to be the key to the plot. The crisis involves a pink bathtub ring.

The book ends in a burst of flamboyant versification, with the full list of little cats arranged into a metrically-perfect rhymed quatrain.

Adaptations

Television

A 30-minute animated musical adaptation of The Cat in the Hat was produced for television in the early 1970s. One of the producers was Chuck Jones, who also produced the animated adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Allan Sherman provided the voice of the Cat.

Film

Long after Dr. Seuss's death, his widow Audrey Geisel authorized a very different filmed version, released in late 2003. This was a live-action movie, featuring Mike Myers in the title role. The film filled out its 82 minutes by adding new plot and characters quite different from those of the original story, and the script strongly emphasized sexual and scatological humor.

This filmed Cat in the Hat was flayed by critics, receiving an average grade of D+ from critics in the interpretation of Yahoo's film website (see link below). A characteristic evaluation was that of Ty Burr, writing in the Boston Globe: "The big-screen Cat represents everything corrupt, bloated, and wrong with mainstream Hollywood movies." A number of critics also said that the MPAA should have given the film a stricter rating than "PG".

The film was also generally hated by ordinary viewers, with many reporting feelings of anger and indignation. Web data suggest that the most harshly negative opinions were held by individuals who knew Seuss's book and felt that the film was a desecration. However, the film did receive some A+ ratings, notably from fans of scatological humor and of Mike Myers's previous work. Fans say it should be watched with a lighthearted attitude and without expecting it to be the same as the books.

Box office receipts for the film topped all competition for the first two weekends, then plummeted. U.S. box office receipts ultimately failed to match production costs, although it appears likely that the film will turn a profit once foreign receipts and home video sales are factored in.

External link

The Yahoo film website gives a compendium of reviewer and public reaction to the 2003 film, as well as its box-office history.

ISBNs

Both books were published by Random House.