ARA) – We read it as children, a book we adored. With the cat in a hat, and the kids who were bored.
Then Hollywood called, said he should be a star. Reporters were writing, this Cat will go far.
Now more kids are reading, it’s even translated. This short little tale, Theodor Geisel created.
Who would have thought a simple story about a free-spirited cat who entertains two bored children on a rainy day would become such a powerhouse? Published in 1957, “The Cat in the Hat” has always been a perennial children’s favorite, but recently it seems to be getting the attention normally reserved for a new blockbuster.
The “Cat” is everywhere you look this year: the new Hollywood movie, the Cat-themed merchandise, the Latin translation. Latin translation?
Yes, the book is one of three Dr. Seuss classics that have been translated into Latin. After the success of the Latin “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” scholars Jennifer and Terrence Tunberg turned their attention to the mischievous cat and his disorderly friends. The result is a Latin version in rhyming verse that echoes the sound of the original, presented with the same whimsical artwork of Dr. Seuss.
“They really did a great job translating this one,” says Marie Bolchazy, co-owner of the book’s publisher Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. “This book was difficult to work with; in English, it’s amusing, but a literal translation into Latin wouldn’t be.”
The Latin words wouldn’t rhyme that way Geisel’s English phrases did and the verses wouldn’t have the same pleasing rhythm in a different language, and so the Tunbergs had to work hard to make “Cattus Petasatus” just as amusing and poetic as the original.
“They really captured the whimsy of Dr. Seuss,” adds Bolchazy, whose company also published the Latin translations of “The Grinch” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Even Bolchazy was caught off guard by the amount of media attention generated this year by the story of the disruptive cat. USA Weekend, the Associated Press, United Press International and many regional papers such as the Chicago Tribune have done stories and the company has also worked with movie theaters on some promotions. “It has really taken off, the book has a universal appeal, and it is a fun way to begin learning about Latin,” says Bolchazy.
Since its publication, “Cattus Petasatus” has sold over 35,000 copies and shows no signs of slowing down. Soaring enrollment in Latin classes and an increased interest in the language could be part of the reason. “Latin is a ‘hot’ language again,” says Bolchazy, who says that studies have shown that students of the language outperform all others on the verbal portion of the SAT.
“In English or Latin, the story appeals to the mischievous nature in everyone,” she adds.
The Latin versions of “The Cat in the Hat,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “Green Eggs and Ham” can be found at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Borders. For other classical books, visit www.bolchazy.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
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