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Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is the pen name of Theodore Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904 - September 24, 1991) who was an American writer and cartoonist best known for his collection of children's books.

Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1925, and entered Lincoln College, Oxford intending to earn a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, however, he met Helen Palmer, wedded her in 1927, and returned to the United States. He began submitting humorous articles and illustrations to Judge (a humor magazine), The Saturday Evening Post[?], Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. He became nationally famous from his advertisements for Flit, a common insecticide at the time. His slogan, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" became a popular catchphrase; Seuss supported himself and his wife through the Great Depression by drawing advertising for General Electric, NBC, Standard Oil, and many other companies.

In 1936, while he sailed again to Europe, the rhythm of the ship's engines inspired the poem that became his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

As World War II began, Geisel turned to political cartoons, drawing over 400 in two years. In 1942 he worked drawing posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board. In 1943 he joined the Army and was sent to Frank Capra's Signal Corps Unit in Hollywood, California, where he wrote films for the Armed Forces, including "Your Job in Germany," a 1945 propaganda film about peace in Europe after World War II, "Design for Death," a study of Japanese culture that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1948, and the Private Snafu series of army training films. His non-military films were also well-received; Gerald McBoing-Boing won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Animated) in 1950.

Although Geisel's political cartoons opposed the viciousness of Hitler and Mussolini, some depict Japanese Americans as traitors. One such cartoon appeared days before the internments started. These latter cartoons are troubling to some.

Life magazine published a report in May of 1954 on illiteracy among school children, which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. Accordingly, Geisel's publisher made up a list of 400 words he felt were important and asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words. Nine months later, Geisel, using 220 of the words given to him, completed The Cat in the Hat.

In 1960 Bennett Cerf[?] bet Geisel $50 that he couldn't write an entire book using only fifty words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham. Curiously, Cerf never paid him the $50.

These books achieved significant international success, and remain extremely popular in the present day.

He went on to write many children's books in a similar style, combining simple stories with rhythmic rhyming prose that children found easy and enjoyable to follow. Constructing the books with such minimalistic language was not easy, and reportedly Geisel labored for months crafting them.

He also wrote a book for adults called 'Oh, The Places You'll Go!'

Helen Palmer Geisel died in 1967. Geisel married Audrey Stone Diamond in 1968. Theodore Seuss Geisel died September 24, 1991.

Bibliography

  • And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street New York: Vanguard Press, 1937.
  • The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins New York: Vanguard Press, 1938.
  • The King's Stilts New York: Random House, 1939.
  • The Seven Lady Godivas New York: Random House, 1939.
  • Horton Hatches the Egg New York: Random House, 1940.
  • McElligot's Pool New York: Random House, 1947. Caldecott Honor Book.
  • Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose New York: Random House, 1948.
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck New York: Random House, 1949. Caldecott Honor Book.
  • If I Ran the Zoo New York: Random House, 1950. Caldecott Honor Book.
  • Scrambled Eggs Super! New York: Random House, 1953.
  • Horton Hears a Who! New York: Random House, 1954.
  • On Beyond Zebra! New York: Random House, 1955.
  • If I Ran the Circus New York: Random House, 1956.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! New York: Random House, 1957.
  • The Cat in the Hat New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1957.
  • The Cat in the Hat Comes Back New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1958.
  • Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories New York: Random House, 1958.
  • Happy Birthday to You! New York: Random House, 1959.
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1960.
  • Green Eggs and Ham New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1960.
  • The Sneetches and Other Stories New York: Random House, 1961.
  • Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book New York: Random House, 1962.
  • Dr. Seuss's ABC New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1963.
  • Hop on Pop New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1963.
  • Fox in Socks New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1965.
  • I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew New York: Random House, 1965.
  • The Cat in the Hat Song Book New York: Random House, 1967.
  • The Foot Book New York: Bright & Early Books, Random House, 1968.
  • I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! and Other Stories New York: Random House, 1969.
  • I Can Draw It Myself New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1970.
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? New York: Bright & Early Books, Random House, 1970.
  • The Lorax New York: Random House, 1971. National Council for the Social Studies Notable Children's Trade Book / Social Studies.
  • Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! New York: Bright & Early Books, Random House, 1972.
  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? New York: Random House 1973.
  • The Shape of Me and Other Stuff New York: Bright & Early Books, Random House, 1973.
  • There's a Wocket in My Pocket! New York: Bright & Early Books, Random House, 1974.
  • Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1975.
  • The Cat's Quizzer New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1976.
  • I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1978.
  • Oh Say Can You Say? New York: Beginner Books, Random House, 1979.
  • Hunches in Bunches New York: Random House, 1982.
  • The Butter Battle Book New York: Random House, 1984.
  • You're Only Old Once! New York: Random House, 1986.

Readers may also be interested in The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss (New York: Random House, 1995). It contains many full-color reproductions of Geisel's private, previously unpublished artwork.

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