TikTok's Viral 'Rapping Dr. Seuss' Puts a New Spin on Classic Children's Books

It's a fresh—and catchy—way to relive these classics for children of all ages. And it keeps these books relevant for every generation.

Dr. Seuss books on a shelf

Joe Raedle / Getty

You know what's given me so much joy lately? "Rapping Dr. Seuss," which has been trending on TikTok. If you've yet to check it out, TikToker Jordan Simons opens up favorites such as The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and literally raps them from beginning to end a la Jay-Z or Eminem. The rhymes and cadence of the books were made for rapping—that Dr. Seuss sure was ahead of his time! And you already know all the words, so it's impossible not to rap along. I may or may not have been rapping beats from Fox in Socks while in line at CVS this morning.

It's such a fresh and creative spin on the books that I loved as a child—while breathing new life into them for me—and for my 8-year-old daughter. She's loved Dr. Suess since she was in utero. Recently, I worried she was slowly moving past them—which made me sad but is also part of growing up. In addition to books and reading, she's also coming into her own with music—and has slowly discovered rap (mainly, however, from the Broadway soundtrack from "Six," but I digress)—making these TikTok videos the perfect way to keep Dr. Seuss alive and well in our house. It may seem small or silly, but I'm grateful TikTokers like Jordan ensure these important, multi-generational books—and traditions—are kept alive.

For my baby shower, guests were asked, in lieu of a card, to top their gift with a favorite children's book and a note about what that book means to them. Of course, a majority were Dr. Seuss books—and that was fine by me. Though Dr. Seuss has been seen as controversial in recent years, with some of his books now out of print due to racist imagery, we've been careful to vet all that we include in our home library.

Since Mila was born, Hop on Pop, Oh Say Can You Say?, Cat in the Hat, and Green Eggs and Ham have been staples of our bedtime reading. Watching life come full circle, with my daughter reading and absorbing books from my own childhood, never ceases to amaze me. When I was pregnant, I too contributed to her bookshelf with other childhood favorites, including Madeline, Strega Nona, and Frances the Bear. Early on, we attempted to limit the number of toys in the playroom (the key word is attempt) but have never put a budget on books or capped how many sit on our overflowing bookshelves. It was no surprise when Mila eagerly chose Dr. Seuss books as the ones she wanted to first master when she began learning to read. Now, she's in the second grade and has moved into chapter books—but, every now and then I'll still catch her reading Dr. Seuss (usually to herself, sometimes to a group of baby dolls).

Passing Down a Love of Books to Our Children

Since I was 2 years old, I knew I wanted to grow up and become a writer. I used to memorize my favorites, making a great party trick for my parents. I made it look as if their toddler was "reading." As I got a little older and could actually read on my own, I devoured series like Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins—because that's what my mom loved as a child.

I can pinpoint how books have played a huge part in every stage of my life. In elementary school, I wrote "bonus" chapters to my beloved Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club books because I was so impatient while waiting for the next editions to hit bookstores. When my sister was born (she's eight and a half years younger than me), I was so thankful to Beverly Cleary because I related so much to Beezus' plight as a big sister to the precocious and mischievous Ramona. I re-read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, Forever, Deeinie, Just as Long As We Are Together and every other Judy Blume book thousands of times, starting from my adolescence to even as recently as last week. To this day, I can honestly say that no books make me laugh as hard as any in the Fudge series.

This is why it's mind-boggling that all those books (and many many others) are now on my 8-year-old daughter's bookshelf and reading list. Together, we've read all the Fudge books, every one of the Ramona books and have been making our way through The Babysitter's Club. It's provided us with hours of bonding time as we discuss favorite characters, LOL moments, and even more serious topics as they arise in the plots. I love knowing when a great twist is coming and holding my breath waiting for her reaction. Now she's starting to reread all those books on her own, finding new perspectives and questions since. She's literally growing up with the books, finding new things to identify with because she's starting to experience many of them firsthand.

I'm so thankful for these timeless classics that I can keep alive and reread them through my daughter's eyes. But to rap along with them too? Priceless! Maybe it's time to share with my daughter a few (albeit clean versions!!) of the rap albums that defined my youth. I'll date myself here but perhaps Beastie Boys, License to Ill, is a good place to start?

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