© Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. 2009.

In fall 2010, PBS Kids will debut The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, the first animated TV series based on a Dr. Seuss character. Inspired by the nonfiction Beginner Books series The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, the show will focus on natural science and will complement PBS’s other science-themed preschool programming, including Curious George, Sid the Science Kid and the upcoming Dinosaur Train. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is from Random House Children’s Entertainment, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and producers Portfolio Entertainment and Collingwood O’Hare Productions.

The spark for the show came from Linda Simensky, PBS’s v-p of children’s programming, whose son was a big fan of The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library series. She made a connection with Learning Library author Trish Rabe and the idea grew from there. “One thing PBS is really interested in is building the next generation of science-literate kids,” says Lesli Rotenberg, senior v-p of children’s media at PBS. “That’s why we went after this property with a vengeance. We’re looking for a science curriculum, and who better than the best-known character in children’s literature to be the guide? With the Learning Library, they were already using the Cat in the Hat in a science curriculum.”

Random House will oversee a limited licensing effort based on the show, as well as a tie-in publishing program. “Our goal with the tie-in books is to emphasize the science,” explains Kate Klimo, v-p Random House Children’s Entertainment, who sees the books as field guides of sorts. “My grandmother used to say that not knowing the names of the flowers and trees is like not knowing the names of your brothers and sisters. We’re introducing kids to their brothers and sisters.” The show also presents an opportunity to expand Dr. Seuss’s presence in formats such as Step Into Reading and coloring and activity books.

The producers are developing a companion Web site and parent and teacher resources in conjunction with the series.