Cat in the Hat makes a ‘purrfect’ Friday for kids at two Michigan schools


Children, teachers and education support professionals at two Michigan schools had plenty to meow about Friday, as Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat” made stops at Green Acres Elementary School in Warren and Pattengill Middle School in Lansing as part of NEA’s Read Across America Day.

Now in its 16th year, the NEA’s Read Across America program continues the NEA’s ongoing commitment to building a nation of readers and mobilizing school employees around an issue they care deeply about: making sure all students have access to books and the skills and support they need to read and learn.

Numerous local and national dignitaries joined about 200 students at Warren’s Green Acres on Friday morning for a special reading of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” by NEA Executive Committee Member Christy Levings and former Detroit Pistons forward Earl Cureton.

“I thought it was a wonderful event,” said Warren EA President Jon Fielbrandt, who along with every student and adult donned a towering red-and-white stovepipe hat as part of the festivities (his favorite Seuss books are “Green Eggs and Ham” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.”) “The students were very excited to have everyone come to Green Acres to be a part of the celebration.”

They were indeed excited to see the Cat in the Hat enter the room midway through the program. Excitement turned to elation once Read Across America sponsor Delta Dental presented a giant $1,000 check to buy new books for the school’s library; young cheers and cries of “thank you!” cascaded through assembly room upon the announcement.

The 300-plus students gathered at Lansing’s Pattengill Middle School — many from Fairview Elementary around the corner — were also thrilled to meet the nation’s most famous cat. Along the way, they were treated to a reading of “Green Eggs of Ham” by Levings and state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, as well as a reading of “Open Wide: Tooth School Inside” by author Laurie Kelleher.

Pattengill and Fairview also received $1,000 checks from Delta Dental for their school libraries. Upon the announcement, students jumped out of the chairs and waved their felt hats above their heads in joy.

In addition to contributions for their school libraries, students in attendance at both events Friday received gift bags stuffed with a copy of “The Cat in the Hat,” a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other oral health and literacy related items.

Best of all: They all got to keep their hats.