On Beyond Zebra

In seventh grade we had a library period each week. We were supposed to acquire the skills needed to navigate the card catalogue or tap the knowledge of the Information Please Almanac. We did get that instruction but there was plenty of time to spare. So to fill that time, our librarian, Florence Brenaman decided that it was a great idea to read aloud to her charges. Keep in mind that we were trying, oh so hard, to be more grown up. Her choice of material was a bit let’s say, unusual.


From behind the desk of the library, the place where your books got stamped with the return date, she pulled out a colorful oversize volume with a glossy – you will be able to wipe off the spilled jelly – cover. I recognized it as part of my younger brother’s
“baby” collection. She opened it up and began reading. We sat with a mixture of disbelief and barely suppressed laughter.

“And it’s on beyond zebra!” She exclaimed with genuine enthusiasm. We all rolled our eyes. And she read with such excitement! “Why it doesn’t hurt at all ‘cause his drum tummy’s numb.”

I am now second to none in my admiration for Dr. Seuss, but I did not feel that way at the time. Can you imagine in today’s world of “accountability and standards” ever experiencing such a moment?