Seussology: Moral Parables and Consumer Culture

byAmanda L. Davis-Holloway

The essential questions for this unit are: What are the themes and social and political hierarchies that are represented in Theodor Geisel's political cartoons? What does Geisel (as Dr Seuss) have to teach us about these themes? How did political cartoons and advertisements exploit prejudices to create fear, in an effort to create and sell products? How did wartime experiences shape children's literature? What are the ties that bind human beings? Seussology amounts to the effort to answer these questions in the lives and work of Theodore Geisel.

Usingart activities, community based instruction, blogs, cooperativelearning tasks, and closed readings, students will gain a new perspective of Theodore Geisel,and understand the influence he had in encouraging racial tolerance andsocial consciousness in both parents and children during WWII and the Cold War. Students will use art activities, graphic organizers and cooperative reading groups as described in the unit, to discuss the moral parables in Dr. Seuss' writings and illustrations.

The strategies in this curriculum unit will be integrated with the subjects of personal finance, art, reading, writing and social studies and will be introduced over the first quarter of the school year, starting with the theme of students as engaged consumer citizens. The unit is recommended for Personal Finance, Art, and US/VA History classes.

(Developed for U. S./Virginia History, grade 11; recommended U. S./Virginia History, grade 11, and Personal Finance, grades 9-12)

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