Book review: The Cat in the Hat = El Gato Ensombrerado, by Dr. Seuss, translated by Georgina Lázaro and Teresa Mlawer

Dr. Seuss. Translated by Georgina Lázaro and Teresa Mlawer. The Cat in the Hat = El Gato Ensombrerado. “Bilingual edition.” Random House Childrens Books, 2015. $15.00. ISBN 9780553524437. Ages 2-8. P8 Q8

Seuss Cat in the Hat El Gato EnsombreradoOriginally published in English in 1957, this newly translated edition of  The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss includes Spanish translations of the original text. Both languages are located on the same page and can be compared easily for comprehension to aid in the acquisition of a new language. Rhythm is preserved in the translation more often than rhyme. Dr. Seuss’s branded repetition is missing; most notably the bookend found at the beginning and end of the story:

I sat there with Sally.                                                Me senté allí con Sara,
we sat there, we two.                                                 en el lugar aquel.

Then our mother came in                                           Cuando llegó mamá
and she said to us two,                                                nos preguntó a los dos:


The meaning is maintained, but the effect of repetition is lost. Because Dr. Seuss’s intention was to write exciting literature to help children learn to read English, he followed certain rules that don’t work similarly in Spanish. However, since the rhythm and some rhyme are included in the translation, it is still a fun read for those learning English or Spanish.

December 2015 review by Lillian Curanzy.


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