Dr Suess

What Was I Scared of?

Title: What Was I Scared Of?: A Glow-in-the Dark Encounter (Classic Seuss)

Author:  Dr. Seuss

Description:  A classic Dr. Seuss book that can now be purchased as an e-book – helpful in these last days of October if you need more Halloween books and have run out of time!  It includes Read to me, read it myself, and auto play options.


  • Perspective-taking.  (Why was the character afraid?   Who is really afraid?)
  • Reading facial expressions and body language.  (How do you know he’s afraid?)
  • Understanding white lies.  (Why does he say, I’m not afraid, when he is?)
  • Vocabulary (Halloween)
  • Phonological Awareness (rhyming)
  • Absurdity and humor
  • Inferencing
  • Feelings
  • Friendship and compassion

Why I like this book:  This is a typical Dr. Seuss story that speaks about real feelings and relationships in the most inventive and silly manner!  The unexpected ending supports new friendships.  Music can play throughout story even in the read it myself mode.

Ideas for this book: 

  • Discuss perspective and intent as you read the book exploring why the main character would be afraid of a pair of pants.   Note that the fear builds with each experience.  How does the character manage his fear?
  • Language describing physiological responses to fear and stress such as “shiver” and “heart thumping” provide opportunities to talk about how our bodies react to fear and anxiety and how we can work to control it through deep breathing, yoga, and other forms of relaxation.
  • The character lies about not being afraid when he clearly was.  This is a good way to talk about why and how some lies are OK.  This character felt calmer when he told himself he wasn’t afraid.
  • Lots of absurdities in this book are fun to talk about – What’s real and not real; what makes a particular scene comical.
  • Great book to talk about making inferences.  You could stop the book and have kids illustrate or act out how they think the book will end.
  • As an OT, I like to have kids act out books.  It provides opportunities for sequencing, ideation, collaboration, planning, adapting, and it’s fun!

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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