Cat – Chat – Chapeau

Celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday as part of Read Across America on March 2nd has meant revisiting some of my own “childhood” experiences.

Two of the schools held showings of the animated  Dr. Seuss‘s The Cat in the Hat . This short cartoon was a 1971 television special and by my calculations, I was 15 years old when it first premiered. That means that taking the average age of my brothers and sisters, the average age at my home for viewing this cartoon was 7 years old…exactly the audience for this cartoon.

Performing the voices of the Narrator/Cat and the Hat was the songwriter and lyricist Allan Sherman. As proof of his genius, the clever lyrics in this one song “Cat Chapeau” have stuck with me despite the years! I was singing the words as young teachers were hearing it for the first time….

1st verse:

CAT IN THE HAT:In English, cat, hat, In French, chat, chapeau.
It really is quite obvious, don’t you know.
In English, cat, hat, In French, chat, chapeau. Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, here we go.
I repeat, cat, hat, In French, chat, chapeau. In Spanish, el gato in a sombrero.
KIDS: He’s a cat in a hat, He’s a chat in a chapeau. He also is a gato in a sombrero. Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé-o.
CAT IN THE HAT: Cat, hat, in French, chat, chapeau. In Spanish, el gato in a sombrero.
And i’ll tell you something more now, you listen to me good. In German, I’m a katze und dies ist mein hut.
Ist das nicht ein katze hut?
KIDS: Ya, das ist ein katze hut! Katze hut! Katze hut! Ja, das ist ein katze hut!

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat, and Allan Sherman, a shared experience from generation to generation.

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