The Most Important Book Ever – HOP ON POP
By Liz Coley
The most important book in my life was Hop on Pop by Dr. Suess. My mom brought it home one day—I think I was four—sat me down at bedtime, and started helping me sound it out. We’d done letters and letter sounds on signs, on cereal boxes, on doors and light switches, on refrigerator magnets. Animals made noises, so it made perfect sense to me that letters did too. A cat says meow, a dog says woof, a cow says moo, and a P says Puh. An H says Huh. And O says ahhh.
Put them all together: Huh-ahhh-puh HOP!!! HOP!!! Ahhh-nuh ON!!! Puh-ahhh-pop POP!!!
It was an epiphany moment. The world was suddenly bright and full of possibilities. I knew I could read anything now. Thanks to phonics and my mom’s perfect Julie Andrews British diction I could tell the difference between POP and PUP, between SIT, SAT, and SET. The important words in the book were spelled in capital letters—no b, d, p, q confusion possible—then the little letters were repeated underneath. Genius.
Each little vignette told a simple story, often with humorous conflict: “We play all day. We fight all night” was completely recognizable sibling behavior. I was the big sister. I got it. There was psychological support for kids; a less than patient parent at dinner could be explained by reference to “Dad is sad. Very, very sad. He had a bad day. What a day Dad had!” The big words, “Constantinople and Timbuktu,” became recognizable and fun to say. They promised great things ahead—the idea that as you grew up you’d learn new and wonderful words.
Mom and I worked through the book night after night. I went back to it by myself over and over again. It was the most powerful tool I had ever held in my hands.
Thanks, Liz! I remember reading Dr. Seuss with my dad and those books really got me going on reading. It's always great to hear about a fellow childhood Dr. Seuss lover!
Everyone: Do you remember reading Dr. Seuss as a child? What is the most important book ever for you?
In 2011, she self-published the YA novel Out of Xibalba, a story that begins when the world ends. The same week Out of Xibalba launched, Liz sold the dark contemporary thriller Pretty Girl-13 to HarperCollins for international publication. Liz is happy to speak on comparing these two experiences.
Liz started out in hospital administration after majoring in biochemistry at Yale and pursuing a management degree at MIT. She put this paid career on hold to raise three children --- her happiest accomplishment was teaching each of them to read at age three.
Now she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, her teenaged daughter, a snoring dog and a limping old cat. The two older boys have flown the nest. Her passions beyond reading and writing include singing, photography, and baking. She plays competitive tennis to keep herself fit and humble.
Taped to her computer are her "lucky charms" --- the 15 Chinese cookie fortunes collected over the years which spoke to her writing aspirations and encouraged her along her journey.
Find her at any of the following online venues:
Check out the book trailer for the recently-released Pretty Girl-13: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHiHYZ4eglo