Skip to Content

News in Youth Services

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dr. Seuss

One of my favorite childhood authors growing up was Dr. Seuss and I passed that love onto my children by reading many of his stories to them.  I remember having to read my daughter The Foot Book over 100 times at bedtime.  My son enjoyed Green Eggs and Ham.  I could recite both of the books by memory (and probably still can).

Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, 1904.  He wrote 48 books which have sold well over 200 million copies and have been translated into multiple languages.  Dr. Seuss books are known for their whimsical rhymes and quirky characters. 

I found out a few things I did not know about him and thought it would be fun to share them with you.

Dr. Seuss's real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Theodor (without an "e") was the grandson of German immigrants.  He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904.  Seuss used his mother's maiden name, which in German rhymes with "voice."  It was the American pronunciation, rhyming with "juice," which stuck.

Teddy Roosevelt left Dr. Seuss with a permanent case of stage fright.

During World War I, 14-year-old Boy Scout  Ted Geisel was one of the top ten sellers of war bonds in his home town of Springfield.  Ted was going to be recognized by former president Theodore Roosevelt for his efforts.  However, Roosevelt was only given nine medals and when he reached Geisel, the tenth person in line, Roosevelt gruffly bellowed, "What's this little boy doing here?"  Ted felt humiliated  and the event scarred him so much that he dreaded public appearances for the rest of his life.

A chance sidewalk encounter led to Dr. Seuss's first children's book.

Dr. Seuss received 27 publisher rejections for his first manuscript.  One day while walking down Madison Avenue, he bumped into his friend Mike McClintock from Dartmouth.  Mike had just started as an editor in the Vanguard Press children's section that morning.  Hours later, the men signed a contract and the year 1937 marked the birth of  Dr. Seuss' career with  "And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street."

During World War II, Dr. Seuss wielded his pen for the U.S. Army.
Captain Theodor Geisel reported for duty in 1943 with Frank Capra's Signal Corps.  He got to work producing animated training films, booklets and documentaries for the war effort.

Dr. Seuss never had any biological children.

His first wife, Helen Geisel, was never able to have children.  After Helen's death, he married his second wife, Audrey, and became a stepfather to her two daughters.  He was often asked how he was able to connect with children in spite of not having any of his own.  His common response was, "You have 'em, and I'll entertain 'em."

His first bestseller was "The Cat in the Hat."
His publisher challenged him to write a book using 220 new reader vocabulary words that could serve as an entertaining alternative to the boring school primers students had to read.  The story of the mischievous cat in a tall striped hat was born.

Some of his books tackled serious issues.

In 1971, he spoke up about the environment in the book "The Lorax."  In 1984, he published "The Butter Battle Book" which was about the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during Ronald Reagan's presidency. 

The library will be celebrating the life of Dr. Seuss  by hosting a program on Saturday, March 3 from 2:30-3:30 PM for children in grades K-3.  Join us for a storytime and activities focusing on science and art.  If you have never attended a library program before, let me leave you with some words by Dr. Seuss.

If you never did,
you should.  
These things are fun,
and fun is good. 



Blog Home

Get updates to
News in Youth Services
in your email

Book Links

Check out what we're reading
in Youth Services
in the original kids book blog

Blogger Book Club


Powered by Blogger