The Payson Public Library’s Dr. Seuss family reading night Wednesday attracted more polka dot footsie pajamas, fleece bathrobes and fuzzy slipper-clad children than any sleepover in history.
The 16th annual event, a pajama party to celebrate Seuss’ “Sleep Book,” had one of the largest turnouts ever, organizers said.
And even though the kids were decked out in their sleeping gear, not one closed his or her eyes for the entire two-hour affair.
The kids stayed glued to Dr. Seuss, played by Harry Kuperberg, as he read off trivia and quizzed the kids’ Seuss smarts. As Kuper-
berg read from the “Sleep Book,” the Payson High School drama department acted out scenes behind him.
The whole event created much fanfare among the children, so much that it was hard to even hear Seuss or his partner, the Cat in the Hat, played by Margaret Goodell.
This didn’t seem to bother any of the kids though, as they screamed out at their favorite parts or talked merrily with their neighbors.
The point of the event, Goodell explained, was to get children interested in reading and familiar with the library.
It was also a time to celebrate Seuss’ birthday.
From the front of the magazine room, which was without its furnishings to allow for the influx of nightgowns and nightshirts, Dr. Seuss proudly exclaimed that he was 107 years old or 5,583 weeks or 937,328 hours old that day.
While this fact was probably lost on the children, Dr. Seuss’ rhymes were not.
Eleven-year-old Nikki Huffman said she had read almost all of Seuss’ books and was excited to tell her friends all about the event.
“I love reading his books,” she said.
All around Huffman sat several hundred boys and girls.
Goodell said it was one of the event’s larger crowds. No one can really pinpoint when the first event occurred.
A new addition to this year’s event was free face painting.
Students from the high school’s Future Educators Association (FEA) used eyeliner to trace whiskers and black noses on the children’s faces. Attendees also made cat ear headbands.
“We had a massive turnout,” Kuperberg said. “We were victim of our own success, but we were really, really happy.”