It’s Dr Seuss Day!

Today is 2 March. Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904.

Geisel wrote 48 books, including some for adults. These have sold well over hundreds of million copies and been translated into multiple languages. 

Here are some fun facts about Geisel:

  1. He was the editor of his school’s humor magazine when studying at Dartmouth College, one of the top colleges in USA. That was when he adopted the pen name of “Dr. Seuss” even though he was not a medical doctor nor had a doctorate degree.
  2. He then studied at Oxford University where he met his first wife. She encouraged him to become a professional illustrator. Back in America, Geisel worked as a cartoonist for a variety of magazines and in advertising. He became quite rich and famous for his illustrations.
  3. The first children’s book that he wrote and illustrated, “And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street”. It was rejected by over two dozen publishers before making it into print in 1937.
  4. During World War II, he switched to illustrate political cartoons and animation for films. One of his animation won a TV prize in 1947 for best documentary feature.
  5. After the war, he returned to writing children books. His first bestseller was “The Cat in the Hat”, published in 1957.
  6. Many of his books became best sellers after that. Many were also made into movies, such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “The Cat in the Hat” and “Horton Hears a Who”. Have you watched any of these movies?
  7. In 1956, his alma mater Dartmouth College awarded him an honorary doctorate, fulfilling the Dr. in his name officially.
  8. Geisel died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 87.
  9. His books have sold over 600 million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages. Not many people can claim that type of fame. His books are special because they are written and illustrated to let children learn new vocabulary in a fun way. Who says reading is boring!
  10. 2nd March is now celebrated as National Read Across America Day. Not bad at all to have your birthday celebrated as a national reading day.
A doodle city fit for a Dr Seuss’s book – copyright 360 Education Pte Ltd

Go pick up a Dr Seuss book. Try to illustrate it in as fun a manner as you can without looking at his illustrations. Then create your own crazy stories!


 A Second Chance



(This composition is inspired by abridged news articles on crime from The Straits Times’ NewEd App which Is used at Yen’s Academy to Inspire writing and knowledge of current affairs)

Alex is a fatty!  Alex is a pig!”  All of Alex’s classmates started their sing-song chant as soon as he walked into the classroom.  Fighting back tears, Alex wondered why he was so unlucky.  He was constantly being bullied in school for being chubby, and at home, his father was cruel and mean and insisted that Alex follow in his criminal footsteps. 

When Alex entered Secondary School, he fell in with the wrong crowd.  He was tired of being bullied and decided to become a bully instead.  He started sniffing glue almost daily, and began to gamble with his new-found gangster buddies.  He even consumed drugs such as Ketamine and Erimin 5 to blank out and forget the cares of the world. 

In no time at all, Alex was playing truant almost every day and learnt all there was to learn about crime.  Shortly after, he dropped out of school and indulged in a life of crime.

Alex was feeling confident of his latest mission – to rob the Singapore National Bank.  He was cleverly disguised as a smartly-dressed security guard.  No one suspected that he was actually a criminal mastermind.  What a brilliant disguise!

Unknown to Alex, however, the bank vault was surrounded by state-of-the-art invisible sensors.  With an arrogant smirk on his craggy face, Alex thought smugly to himself, “Ah, I can just waltz into the bank.“ 

PRRRRRRRRRRRRNGGGG!  As soon as Alex had crossed the threshold, he triggered the security alarms.  The incessant shrill ringing of the high-pitched sirens pierced his ears and his heart filled with dread.  He looked up and found himself surrounded by the REAL security guards of the bank. 

Before Alex could blink, he was handcuffed and pushed roughly into the back of a police car.  “This is just a bad dream,” Alex whispered to himself.  He shut his eyes and saw his life flash before him.  When he opened his eyes again, he was behind bars.  Alas, it was not a dream at all. 

Life in prison jolted Alex and he resolved to turn over a new leaf.  He decided to learn some new skills so that he would not return to his old life of crime once he was released.  He signed up for some cooking courses and learnt coding in Prison School.  He practised daily and became a Master Chef and an expert coder.  He also spent his free time reading many self-help books and worked hard at becoming a better person.  Although seven years crawled by slowly, finally, the day came when Alex was released.

Alex went back to his father and refused to commit any more crimes. 

“I am walking the straight path now!” he declared proudly. 

“I can’t believe I kidnapped a useless fool like you,” his father grumbled and threw his hands up in disgust.

Alex froze with horror when he heard his father’s kidnapping confession.  Reeling with turmoil, he walked away from his kidnapper and set out to track down his real family. 

After months of searching high and low for his family, Alex was ready to give up.  He had left no stone unturned but Lady Luck was not on his side.  Just as he was about to close the chapter on reuniting with his real family, the shrill ringing of the telephone jolted him out of his reverie. 

“Alex!  We’ve found your family!” Sherlock Sam, Singapore’s best detective, announced with a whoop of delight.  Tears of joy ran unchecked down Alex’s ruddy cheeks.  

“Thank you for a second chance,” Alex whispered.  “Thank you.”


A Good Citizen



(This composition is inspired by abridged news articles on upskirt video crimes from The Straits Times’ NewEd App which Is used at Yen’s Academy to Inspire writing and knowledge of current affairs)

Mr Tay glanced at his watch for the umpteenth time.  The beast in his stomach growled impatiently.  “Lunch time!  Me hungry!  Feed me!”  Mr Tay walked as briskly as he could to the food court in Bishan’s most popular shopping centre – Junction 8.  He whispered a prayer to the Food Gods that he would be able to beat the ravenous lunch crowd. 

As Mr Tay stood on the escalator, he tapped his feet impatiently.  “Please hurry!  I’m starving!” he muttered under his breath.  As he stared ahead, moaning and groaning, Mr Tay noticed the man in front of him holding his phone at an extremely weird angle.  Mr Tay’s curiosity was piqued so he observed the man’s strange behaviour for a while more.  The longer he studied the man’s actions, the more uneasy he grew. 

Sensing something amiss, he realised that the man was filming underneath the skirt of the woman in front of him.  Mr Tay immediately saw red.  How could anyone outrage the modesty of a woman like that?  In a fit of anger, Mr Tay snatched the mobile phone from the suspect’s outstretched hand, pushed past the offender, and scrambled to the top of the escalator where he waited to ambush the vile man.

Mr Tay did not consider himself an athletic person so he was most surprised when he lunged forward, delivering a flying kick that Jackie Chan would be proud of.  The man tumbled forward and landed face-down on the floor.  Mr Tay let out a triumphant war cry and pounced on the man to restrain him.

“Help!  Someone call the police!  I’m sitting on a disgusting pervert!” Mr Tay wheezed, winded from his physical activity.  Passers-by immediately whipped out their mobile phones and called the police.  Shortly after, the men in blue arrived.  Mr Tay heaved a sigh of relief.  He did not know how long more he could keep the burly man pinned beneath him.  He quickly related all of the events to the police as calmly as he could.  He then handed over the man’s phone.  

“That was some quick thinking, Mr Tay!  Well done!  We need more good Samaritans like you!” the police praised him.  

Mr Tay turned red with embarrassment.  “I was only doing what’s right!” 

After looking through the man’s phone, the police confirmed Mr Tay’s suspicions.  He was indeed a serial upskirt offender.  One of the police officers handcuffed the wrongdoer and they led him to the police car.  The man hung his head low while suffering the walk of shame.  He tried to avoid the crowd of curious onlookers who had gathered to take pictures and videos. 

One month later, Mr Tay was lauded for his act of heroism.  The assistant commissioner of Police presented him with the Public Spiritedness Award.  Mr Tay’s photograph and story were featured in The Straits Times.  Mr Tay puffed up with pride and hoped that ordinary people just like him would be inspired by his actions.  If everyone does their part, Singapore will be a safe country with no more crime!