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Dr. Seuss birthday bash held at Erving Elementary

  • Roger Tincknell performs children’s songs and singing games during a family concert celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss at Erving Elementary School, on Sunday. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAN LITTLE

  • Children and their families play along with entertainer Roger Tincknell while he performs children's songs and singing games during a family concert celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss at Erving Elementary School, on Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Children and their families play along with entertainer Roger Tincknell while he performs children's songs and singing games during a family concert celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss at Erving Elementary School, on Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Roger Tincknell performs children's songs and singing games during a family concert celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss at Erving Elementary School, on Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Children and their families play along with entertainer Roger Tincknell while he performs children's songs and singing games during a family concert celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss at Erving Elementary School, on Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Children and their families play along with entertainer Roger Tincknell while he performs children's songs and singing games during a family concert celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss at Erving Elementary School, on Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

ERVING — For the majority of his books being published more than 40 years ago, Dr. Seuss has left a multigenerational imprint on readers.

Grandparents, parents and children gathered at the Erving Elementary School Sunday to belatedly celebrate the beloved author’s birthday, which was March 2. Dr. Seuss would have been 114 years old.

Dr. Seuss’s real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, but fans spanning multiple generations know him best by his pseudonym. He has a bit of a local legacy; he was born in Springfield in 1904.

A birthday bash

Erving Elementary has celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday for the past five years, according to school librarian Jane Urban. This year, they welcomed two-time Parent’s Choice Award-winning recording artist Roger Tincknell to entertain the crowd with his instruments, songs and humor.

Tincknell was surrounded by instruments of all kinds: a mandolin, banjo, harmonica, guitar, assorted drums and much more.

Before beginning his songs, he chatted with the youngsters and their parents about Dr. Seuss.

“What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?” he asked the audience, calling on one child at a time.

“Fox in Socks!” exclaimed one child.

“The Sneetches!” cried another.

“Oh boy,” said Tincknell. “All these memories are coming back to me. Wow!”

“Now, what’s the one with the truffula trees?” he asked.

“The Lorax!” was the resounding yell from almost all audience members, young and old.

Tincknell revealed that his favorite Dr. Seuss book is Bartholomew and the Oobleck. He read it as a third grader, and his now-adult daughter enjoyed it as a third grader, too. This is just one of the many examples of the effect the author had on multiple generations of readers.

When the musical show began, Tincknell encouraged audience participation — adults, too — as he sang songs about trains. The audience members pulled their imaginary train horns and clapped their hands on their thighs to mimic the clickety-clack of a train on the tracks as the performer strummed the banjo.

Widespread appreciation

“Dr. Seuss appeals to everybody,” Urban said. “It’s nice to get families out together.”

Families outside of Erving even joined in the fun, thanks to Gillian Budine, the coordinator for Community Network for Children Program. The program seeks to work with families in the local school union and gets the word out about upcoming family events, like the Dr. Seuss party. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care funds the program through a grant.

One of the biggest goals for the program is to help families with early literacy, and encourage them to participate in events related to reading, encouragement, play and the community.

Budine agreed that Dr. Seuss has fans from every generation. Her top two favorite Seuss books are “Hop on Pop” and “Go Dog Go.”

A Seussical song

“Dr. Seuss was famous for saying silly things with silly words,” said Tincknell as he led the crowd in a Seuss-esque song. Then, he encouraged a call-and-response in Spanish. Later, he pulled out an African ashiko drum and led the group in a lively song from Ghana. By this time, the entire crowd was dancing, wiggling and singing along.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, Ticknell also led children and their parents in an Irish jig as he beat an Irish bodhran drum.

After the performance, the crowd migrated to the cafeteria where a build-your-own ice cream sundae social was held. Here, children could choose from a pile of donated books of all types so they could keep the literary spirit going.

The event was sponsored by the Erving Elementary School PTO and the Erving Cultural Council, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


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