The Cat in the Hat came to Hinesville in a jiffy, but he did not take note that he would look so spiffy to children and pre-Kers all down on the floor, who looked up to him while the room filled with a roar.
On Monday, more than 40 children and parents gathered at the Hinesville library to watch children’s entertainer Reuben Haller bring to life Dr. Seuss’ famous book, “The Cat in the Hat.”
As a part of “Read Across America” week, Haller is presenting the show at various libraries throughout Georgia to promote literacy and what he calls the genius works of Dr. Seuss.
“Playing Cat in the Hat is a privilege. Dr. Seuss is a genius,” Haller said after the show, his black painted-on eyebrows smeared and dripping just a bit. “You’re enjoying genius [when you get to act this out] and the children are so delighted by The Cat in the Hat.”
Haller, who has performed with Cirque du Soleil and has appeared at various venues as a musician and variety entertainer, said he loves performing for children and has a background in early childhood development.
Children watched curiously as multi-colored umbrellas and wacky-shaped balloons popped over the top of a red curtain decorated with printouts of characters from the book. Shrieks of joy came from the audience each time an item popped up after children’s librarian Jessica Garner read the opening of the book.
Haller performed balancing on a ball while hoisting a cake, ship, book and fish in a bowl above his head, pretending to swerve over the front row in an act of silliness. He selected volunteers from the audience to play Thing 1 and Thing 2. The blue-haired creatures flew balloon kites and re-enacted the book’s “runaway scene.”
But things didn’t go as planned and Haller improvised when a shy Thing 2 refused to move from her spot in the front of the room. The entertainer chased down Thing 1, who darted around the library, much to the delight of children and parents alike.
“Children act unpredictable in shows,” Haller said, referring to Thing 2 and a wandering toddler who made his way to the front of the room and stood still staring up at Haller in costume. “I just go with the flow. The life of the show isn’t based on the script.”
Parent Heather Fortier, sat cross-legged with her son, Matthew, on her lap, grinning and laughing throughout the show.
Both frequently attend events at the library but never had been to a live character interaction show and were pleased with Haller’s performance.
“It was a great show,” Fortier said. “We read him [Dr. Seuss] at home … it is something out of the ordinary. I think it’s great that someone’s out doing this for kids. I just think it helps them grow.”
The famous children’s author and cartoonist would have been 106 this year, on March 2, according to a Georgia Association of Educators news release.
Garner said the library wanted to find a way to participate in “Read Across America,” an annual reading initiative that celebrates literacy on Seuss’ birthday.
The Hinesville library hosted the event two years ago and Haller agreed to come back again this year, Garner said. Five different day cares brought their students out to the event, as did parents in the community.
“He’s a real big hit. He’s just so energetic,” Garner said. “It takes what they read in the books and makes it come alive for them.”