Published in 1978 by Random House
I Can Read With My Eye’s Shut is narrated by that delightfully mischievous Cat in the Hat, but he is being very educational, while still whimsical, in this particular book.
He starts out simply by saying,
“I can read
I can read
I can read in
He continues to name different ways he can read, including in a circle and upside down.
Then he states that he can read Mississippi even with his eyes shut! Not only Mississippi but Indianapolis and Hallelujah, too! We quickly learn that reading with his eyes shut makes the Cat in the Hat’s eyebrows get read hot and that it frizzles out his hat.
He points out that when you read with your eyes open you can read much faster.
“And when I keep them open
I can read with much more speed.
You have to be a speedy reader
’cause there’s so, so much to read!”
Then he starts to list the things you can read about, like trees, and bees and knees! Or a combination of these words. You can also read about anchors and ants and crocodile pants!
“Young cat! If you keep
your eyes open enough,
oh, the stuff you will learn!
The most wonderful stuff!”
Even more things you can learn about are fishbones, and wishbones, and trombones! Then of course Seuss adds in some more made up creatures like Foo-Foo the Snoo.
so many things
you can learn about.
the best things
if you keep
your eyes shut.”
Then to make reading and learning even more wonderful The Cat in the Hat points out the many places you’ll go and things you can learn.
“The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.”
You can learn how to make money, or donuts or kangaroo collars. You can learn to play the Hut-Zut (but only with your eyes open.) The full page spread is of signs pointing all different directions with all different kinds of locations (including Oz). He leaves the reader with this last note:
that’s why I tell you
to keep your eyes wide.
Keep them wide open…
at least on one side.
The final image is of The Cat in the Hat and the young cat sharing a book, winking at each other.
Unlike most Beginner Books there is actually a dedication that reads:
David Worthen, E.G.*
As I’ve stated in the other recent post, Seuss was having eye sight issues which was the cause for his scratching drawings and why he made so many Beginner Books in a row rather than any larger books. With this in mind he wrote a book about reading and what you miss out on if you read with your eyes shut. The dedication is to his ophthalmologist.
The second to last page has lots and lots of signs leading all different directions. One of the signs says:
Curtis A. Abel”
This is a reference to one of Ted’s many friends from Oxford that he added in just for fun.
The newer cover is surprisingly similar to the older cover. It is still a yellow background and The Cat in the Hat reading a green book with his eyes closed while the young cat looks on with his eyes open. The newer one just has a bit more motion to it because they’re walking.
My favorite image is actually the first page. Including the text, I just think it’s a great layout and super fun and I love the silly glasses.
“You can learn about SAD…
I really enjoy that Seuss not only includes objects you can learn about, and jobs you can learn about, but that he also includes emotions. So much of the reading children do is educational and instructional, it’s nice to remind young readers that you can also learn about people and your own emotions through reading.
Thanks for reading (with your eyes open),