Nooks for all his books

Students across Glendale and Burbank heard the riddles and rhymes of Dr. Seuss on Monday, in honor of the famous children’s author and illustrator Theodor Geisel.

Geisel, who wrote children’s books under the name Dr. Seuss, died in 1991, but Monday was his birthday, and teachers across the area took the opportunity to engage students in his work.

Children at Chamlian Armenian School in Glendale heard a parent read “Green Eggs and Ham,” after which they ate green eggs and ham, and classes throughout the Glendale and Burbank unified school districts spent time reading some of Seuss’ most famous titles, including “The Cat in the Hat” and “Fox in Socks.”

But nowhere was the celebration larger than at Providencia Elementary School in Burbank, where a group of more than 200 parents, teachers and students crammed into an auditorium Monday night to hear a reading of “Yertle the Turtle” by voice actor Tom Kenny, who plays cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.

“He was the best,” said 10-year-old Mario Mejia, who was one of the many students giggling as they listened to Kenny apply different voices to characters Yertle and Mack.

Some students and teachers had dressed up in pajamas for the evening, which also included take-home cakes for families, grade-specific activities to build on the inspiration from Seuss’ stories, and donated prizes and toys for students.

Providencia had similar events in honor of Seuss in recent years, but teachers and parents decided to make it a major activity this year, inviting a guest performer and getting donations from Nickelodeon and a toy distributor to add to the excitement of the evening, said Katherine Colvin Marvin, a fifth-grade teacher at the school.

“We tried to really revamp it and turn it into a special night,” she said.

Kenny, who spent the rest of the day reading at schools in the Compton Unified School District, hoped to use his voice to inspire students to read more, he said.

“A lot of my facility with voices and things came from reading to my younger siblings when I was a child,” he explained.

Children at Chamlian Armenian School were excited to hear parent Raffi Hamparian read one of their favorite stories, which most students knew by heart, first-grade teacher Hilda Gharibian said.

“They were just kind of saying the lines with him,” she said.

Seuss’ books were fun to hear out loud, 6-year-old Michelle Petrossian said.

“The books are so funny and his rhyming words [are, too],” said Michelle, who, along with some classmates, wore a red and white striped hat made of construction paper, like the one from “The Cat in the Hat.”

Tevan Gevorkian, 7, was most interested in the green eggs and ham served at the school, which were made green with food coloring, he explained.

“The eggs were green,” he said with excitement.


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