Of the many marvels of the work of Dr. Seuss, the ability to exist in a kid-oriented imaginary universe is one that surely will always attract scores of readers. Who hasn’t wondered what it would really be like to live in a Seussian world, where anything can happen and earth rules do not apply?
Beginning July 2, visitors to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) can experience a part of that world with an innovative exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Dr. Seuss enterprises. Oh Seuss—Off To Great Places, created entirely by CMOM and running for a year, encompasses all the magical fun that Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) brought to life in his stories. Most of this interactive, 400-square-foot exhibit is based on the theme from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, but it also includes other works. There are 25 areas of activity for all ages. One is “The Great Balancing Act” based on If I Ran a Circus, where visitors will experience a shower of words falling down upon them via trick photography, and attempt to balance them on their hands and head.
Kids can build their own Throm-dim-bu-lator, and older kids can use specially designed computer-based programs, such as one in which they have to navigate a ball through all types of hazards on land and in the air; and another called the Sneetches Graffiti Wall, where they drag visuals and text onto a moving wall as they see fit. Specially designed areas for kids under 4 are based on Green Eggs and Ham and Horton Hatches the Egg, popular books for younger readers. In these exhibits, children can drive a Green Eggs and Ham train, car, and boat and hatch their own eggs in a “nest” that doubles as a slide. Also on hand are photos, sketches and manuscript pages (replicas as well as originals) that illustrate how Geisel’s pictures and words help kids learn to read and, more importantly, learn to love to read.
While the kids are playing, adults can read up on many Dr. Seuss facts, such as how his style of writing helps kids sound out the words and take chances on words they don’t yet know. Andrew S. Ackerman, executive director of CMOM, explains that Geisel was the first author to connect the pictures in a book to the words. Pointing out that each child acquires reading and language skills in her own way, Ackerman says that one of the best things about Dr. Seuss books is that they “allow all different types of learners to find a way to learn.”
Where: Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street
When: Summer hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
How much: $7 person
For more info: (212) 721-1223; www.cmom.org