Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120

Councilman Cites Seuss for Students

Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Yarbrough made his annual trek through the life and times of Dr. Seuss this week, reading works of the popular children’s author to groups of kindergartners at Perris Elementary School.

This year the classes he visited got an added bonus.

Yarbrough brought along his hand-puppet, “Yarby,” who also extolled reading as a way to excel in school and later in life. Yarbrough is a graduate of Perris High School, operates two businesses, owns race cars and has served on the Perris City Council since 1997.

He calls reading to school children during the annual celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday one of the best perks of elected office. Hundreds of U.S. schools celebrate the noted author’s birthday during the first week of March by holding “Read Across America” sessions. Dr. Seuss is the pen name of American author Theodor Seuss Geisel, who was born in 1904.

“Reading is the nucleus of all knowledge,” Yarbrough said. “It’s how we learn, how we grow, how we express ourselves. It’s great reading to young children because they are so receptive. I had a lot of fun.”

Yarbrough read the Suess classic “Cat in the Hat” to five kindergarten classes.

All the while, Yarby served as his wingman, pulling at Yarbrough’s ear and turning pages in the book. The kids looked on enthralled and were delighted to learn that Yarbrough has raced at Perris Auto Speedway, owned racing teams and serves as a track sponsor.

“The kids had a great time,” said Perris Elementary School kindergarten teacher Loreen Mercado.”He kept them really engaged.”

Mercado said it is important for youngsters to see adults share their time by reading. The message it sends is critical.

“It tells kids that school is important not only to them but to leaders in the community and that reading is definitely important,” she said.

Yarbrough’s grade for the day: A+

Yarbrough said he has been fascinated with puppets since watching Edgar Bergen and his alter-ego, Charlie McCarthy, as a kid. He also grew up watching the classic television series “Beany and Cecil,” which featured a sea-serpent puppet. He said he asked his mother to make him a puppet and she came up with Yarby, a purple puppet that resembles a monkey. In the past, Yarbrough and Yarby have entertained children at the Cesar E. Chavez Public Library.