Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dr. Seuss

Underneath my High School yearbook photo next to the word Ambition: I wrote “to be the next Dr. Seuss”.  Even then I knew that you were magical: 
Happy Birthday Dear Man, Happy Birthday.
The more I study the art of children’s literature the more this man’s ingenuity becomes apparent. A decade before even Edward Dolch had made his famous list of High Frequency words; Dr. Seuss was writing and publishing books incorporating them. “The Cat in the Hat” uses just 236 words.  A man of great persistence.  His first children’s book, "To Think That It Happened on Mulberry Street" was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.  
Seuss’ given name was Theodor Seuss Geisel.  Seuss was not only his middle name but his mother’s maiden name.  He used Seuss as a pen name during his college years when he was caught drinking gin with nine of his buddies at Dartmouth during Prohibition.  The college punished him, by refusing Theo Geisel articles for their college newspaper. So to circumvent this ban, Dr. Seuss was born! He also wrote books under: Theo LeSieg, which is his given name Geisel spelled backwards. Truly brilliant!
He married Helen Palmer, the author of my most favorite children’s book ever, “A Fish Out of Water.” Marvelously, enchanting!  A must for every teacher’s book shelf. Unfortunately, Helen committed suicide, after a long battle with cancer, and her grief over her husband’s long time affair with Audrey Stone. Kind of gives you a different picture of the dear man, doesn’t it? But my admiration will not be tainted, my love for his work, runs deep.  His stories filled my childhood with wonderful loving memories of my mother reading them to me.  And now, I read them to any child who will listen.
Happy Birthday Dear Seuss, Happy Birthday.

1 comment:

  1. He's such an intriguing figure. Wish I could sit down and talk with him.