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By Sonny Jones

It was difficult to tell whether the children listening to “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” or the man reading it to them was having more fun late Thursday afternoon at Bladen County Library in Elizabethtown.

Elizabethtown native and NFL defensive lineman Larrell Murchison read the illustrated Dr. Seuss book to the youngsters, signed autographs and posed for pictures as part of Read Across America Day. The event was hosted by Bladen Smart Start as part of the Raising a Reader program.

“It was fun,” Murchison said. “In fact, I think I was having more fun than they were. They were paying attention and listening. They were so young and I was surprised. It was a great group.”

The children’s book encourages children to deal with life’s ups and downs no matter the challenges with such timeless lines as:

• “Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!”

• “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

• “I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.”

• “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)”

Murchison, who plays for the Los Angeles Rams, didn’t hesitate when asked to read to the children on Read Across America Day, especially when he was told it would be a book written by Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a Dr. Seuss. It’s no secret that Murchison is a fan of Dr. Seuss books.

“‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’ is one of my favorites,” he said, “but my favorite is ‘Cat in the Hat'”

It was the second time that Murchison had read the book to Bladen County children. In January, he read to second-grade classes at Emereau: Bladen Charter School.

Larrell Murchison Reads To Emereau Second-Grade Classes

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” was first published by Random House on January 22, 1990. It was Dr. Seuss’ last book to be published during his lifetime.

Read Across America Week begins each March 2, which was Geisel’s birthday, and continues through March 6. Geisel died of cancer on September 24, 1991.

The theme for this year’s Read Across America Week is Read, Grow, Inspire.