Modifying “Hop on Pop” So As To Make the Dad Less of a Cranky Killjoy

I love Dr. Seuss. One time I dragged a number of pieces of furniture out of an alley and custom-finished them with cutout illustrations from Seuss books.

Custom-Decorated Dr. Seuss Kids Furniture

Custom-Decorated Dr. Seuss Kids Furniture

I’ve used one of the pieces to track the growth of my children for the past 15 years.

First Measure

Caleb Measure, Spring 2004

I’ve always especially loved Hop on Pop, because it is centered on a dad and two kids, and because the main storyline is the physical joy of attempting to crush your father’s sternum, but being unable to do so.

The problem with the book is that notwithstanding the fact that hopping on pop is a legit fun thing to do, the book casts the father figures as hangdog workaholics who just want to come home and be left alone because of an ostensibly rough day at the office.


So I fired up Photoshop, cranked up Times New Roman, printed out modified versions of key portions of the story, and affixed them to our nighttime reader.

This book was given to my eldest child on his 2nd birthday by his aunt and uncle. I am glad they made an inscription— these are invaluable keepsake-makers.

The cover itself has some freelance customizations from one of the kids.

The first step was to name the characters. I kept the look of surprise on the dad’s face because it exuded a kind of radical “youth beats the olds” type of narrative.

The first off-putting spread is the one that introduces the concept of the sad dad. Boring boring boring.

So I removed “sad”, added “glad”, and removed extraneous obtuse reference to the nature of the father’s day.

Similarly, I switched up the discussion among the youth about what kind of day the parental figure had,. You can see how easy it was to turn everything around. I made a mistake with the terminal point, but I accounted for that by allowing the underlying exclamation to show through.

The last modification occurs at the denouement, where the same illustration from the cover page is the setup for the big reveal— the misguided belief that children must not hop on pop.

The simple change of stop to lots and turning frowns upside down was all it took.

Moments are over in a minute. Offspring outgrow the edges of our measures fast.

Hop on pop as long as you can.

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