The Cat in the Hat is back, and hot! This year several companies with strong sidelines are pulling Dr. Seuss products out of their bags of fun.
The Cleveland-based Creativity for Kids, part of Faber-Castell USA, the international company best known for its high-quality art products for both kids and adults, has just released three products licensed by Dr. Seuss Enterprises: a do-it-yourself garden, hats and cards. Children—as well as older Seuss fans—will enjoy the Grow a Lorax Garden, which comes with a growing dish, two figures (the Lorax and Humming Fish) and purple gravel; pipe cleaners and marabou combine to form Truffula trees. Add dirt, seeds and beans, and presto! A great (and relatively tidy) diversion for a dark, rainy day.
For those who want to wear their Seuss, the Make Silly Hats set contains four colored bands to form four basic hat shapes, with pipe cleaners, feathers, a bell, pom-pom beads, wavy plastic discus, a pinwheel, metallic ribbon and "flowers" to make it your own. To top off the hat, as it were, add one or more of the two-sided Seuss character cards of the cat, the fish and others.
For the wee-est ones, Color and Lacing Card sets include large lacing cards and four smaller, related coloring cards. One side of the card is printed in bright colors with Dr. Seuss characters and images, while the other side contains similar depictions but without colors so that young scribblers can fill them in as they like. Phone (216) 589-4800; fax (216) 589-1298; www.creativityforkids.com.
Peaceable Kingdom in Berkeley, Calif., is adding some Valentine's Day cards with Seussian whimsy to its sidelines series. The Boxed School Valentines, designed for pre-school to elementary-aged children, now have a Dr. Seuss packet, with five each of four 3.5"×5" designs, all recognizable to anyone who's ever laughed over the doctor's rhymes. (Other new titles in the series include Stuart Little, Girls Rock and Giant Robot.) They join such book-related stalwarts as Curious George, Madeline and Wild Things.
The Boxed Valentine Quicknotes, which contain 10 3.5"×5" notecards, include a one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish and cat cards. The same designs are also available on Peaceable Kingdom's traditional 5"×7" cards, joining Harold and the Purple Crayon, Madeline and Wild Things in classic children's literature company.
Peaceable Kingdom is also debuting a Dr. Seuss calendar for 2003, complete with 50 stickers. The annual Celebrating Children's Books wall calendar highlights, as usual, the delightful work of 12 outstanding children's-book illustrators, among them, for 2003, Laurent de Brunhoff, H.A. Rey and Thacher Hurd. Included in the calendar are brief biographies of the artists, quotations from the books and reminders of many illustrious illustrators' birthdays. Phone (510) 558-2051; fax (510) 558-2052.
Yes, it's that time of year—time to find space for those gazillion new calendars. Andrews McMeel, in Kansas City, Mo., has a striking new David Austin's Roses calendar, with gorgeous photography by Clay Perry. In a spiral-bound, week-at-a-glance format, it gets you up close and personal, in very living color, with some of the most luscious petals anywhere. Holidays are noted with the international set in mind. For a different crowd (think tweens), Andrews McMeel offers the silly and charming Rubba Ducks wall calendar celebrating Ernie's best bath friend. Phone (816) 932-6700; www.AndrewsMcMeel.com.
Tide-mark of East Hartford, Conn., offers an attractive, new four-color African-American Masters wall calendar that features work from the Smithsonian American Art Museum traveling exhibition of the same name. Among the selections are paintings, sculptures and photographs by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff and Purvis Young.
Perhaps one of the most creative, book-related calendars ever made is Tide-mark's The Book of Fictional Days, a wire-bound desk diary that cleverly collects "events that did not really happen." Compiled by Bob Gordon from classic and contemporary books as well as movies, the diary lists occasions such as the day Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee arrived in King Arthur's Court (June 19) or the day Isabella eloped with Heathcliff (March 11). Gigi Bayliss's pen-and-ink images add to the agreeably imaginary ensemble. Phone (888) 461-4619; fax (860) 289-3654; www.tide-mark.com.
U.S. Games Systems, of Stamford, Conn., is back in the game with several new card products. Just released is The Complete Tarot Kit, which combines the two quintessential tarot decks—Rider-Waite and Crowley Thoth—with an instructional book by Susan Levitt. Next month, the company is releasing a series of playing decks that should delight anyone interested in history, animal life—and fun. These include Flags of the Civil War and Uniforms of the Civil War; Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish (from the Natural Word collection); Power Sharks; Squadron Scramble; and Nutty Neighbors. Phone (800) 544-2637; fax (203) 353-8431; www.usgamesinc.com.