Published 1976 by Random House
This educational style book is not set up in a narrative manner. Like The Cat in The Hat Songbook or I Can Draw It Myself, The Cat’s Quizzer has a guiding character, but they are not telling a story. The book starts with the Cat in the Hat introducing the reader to Ziggy Zozzfozzle and his sister Zizzy. They got all the questions wrong. He then challenges the reader by asking, “Are you smarter than a Zozzfozzel?”
The meat of the story is made up of several short questions, riddles, or statements. These little sentences are somewhat organized into catagories like “True or False”, “Food Quiz” or “A Night Quizzer”.
The finale of the quiz is a large Where’s Waldo-like page full of random things like a bear juggling a pineapple, heart, vase and clock. There is also a hippo in a hammock with a vase of flowers on it’s belly. It is basically pure Seuss-caos. The Cat in the Hat tells the reader there are 100 things that begin with H in the picture and that the Zozzfozzle’s could only find 6! Then The Cat in the Hat asks one final question…
“So, how about it…
Are you smarter than a Zozzfozzle?”
All of the answers to the questions asked throughout the book are listed very simply on the last few pages without images, but with lots of color. The last page is the list of 100 things that start with H including…
“1 Cat with a Headache!”
Like most Beginner Books there is no dedication.
By this point in Seuss’s career The Cat in the Hat was a very recognizable character and one that kids were instantly drawn to and could trust to take them on a fun journey. Parents also recognized Dr. Seuss as an author that would entertain their children and make them excited about reading.
The Cat’s Quizzer is actually mocking the genre of “educational” children’s books, but still manages to be educational. Some of the questions are very silly and have equally silly answers, but some of them will stump even parents.
By introducing the reader to the Zozzfozzle’s and putting them at zero questions correct, Seuss is creating competition to strike the reader’s interest. He also sets the bottom of the grading curve so that even if the reader only gets one question right they are still smarter than the Zozzfozzles!
The drawings are not Seuss’s best. He did a series of Beginner Books because he suffered from Glaucoma and his eye sight was so bad that the “big books” were too much of a challenge to illustrate. He explained his jumpy line work by saying, “Lines seem to move as I draw them.”
I had a very difficult time finding good images for this book. I need to go through and scan some myself, but this quote was my favorite. It is such an innocent question and seems to make perfect sense. It feels like a question a child would ask and an adult with laugh at, but that would honestly make sense in a child’s mind.
for when it’s dark.
for when its light?”
This one actually took me a second and I’m sure it stumped most kids and even some parents. It feels like a bit of Cat in the Hat trickier and has a pretty classic Seuss look to it with the elephant and mustached man.
Thanks for reading,