Home

Login to enhance your shopping experience.

Login or Create an Account
Categories
Information
Quick Store Search

Advanced Search
Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.

~ $ 8.95 Shipping within Australia ~

Dr. Seuss - Biography

Untitled Document

Dr. Seuss Biography

 

Early Years

Childhood
Yes, there really was a Dr. Seuss. He was not an official doctor, but his prescription for fun has delighted readers for more than 60 years. Theodor (“Ted”) Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father, Theodor Robert, and grandfather were brewmasters and enjoyed great financial success for many years. Coupling the continual threats of Prohibition and World War I, the German-immigrant Geisels were targets for many slurs, particularly with regard to their heritage and livelihoods. In response, they were active participants in the pro-America campaign of World War I. Thus, Ted and his sister Marnie overcame such ridicule and became popular teenagers involved in many different activities.

Despite some financial hardship the Geisels encountered due to Prohibition, Ted enjoyed a fairly happy childhood. His parents were strict, but very loving. His mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel, had worked in her father’s bakery before marrying Ted’s father, often memorizing the names of the pies that were on special each day and ‘chanting’ them to her customers. If Ted had difficulty getting to sleep, she would often recall her ‘pie-selling chants.’ As an adult, Ted credited his mother “for the rhythms in which I write and the urgency with which I do it.” (Morgan, p. 7)

Dartmouth
If you’ve never seen a photograph of Dr. Seuss, you probably picture him as a young child or a grandfatherly gentleman. You may not have considered his robust years as a college student.

Ted attended Dartmouth College and by all accounts was a typical, mischievous college student. According to Judith and Neil Morgan, co-authors of Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel and personal friends of his, “Ted grew to respect the academic discipline he discovered at Dartmouth—not enough to pursue it, but to appreciate those who did.” (Morgan, p. 28) He worked hard to become the editor in chief of Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine.

His reign as editor came to an abrupt end when Ted and his friends were caught throwing a party that did not coincide with school policy. Geisel continued to contribute to Jack-O-Lantern, merely signing his work as “Seuss.” This is the first record of his use of the pseudonym Seuss, which was both his middle name and his mother’s maiden name. It was a perfectly ingenius pseudonym; it squeaked Ted’s work past unsuspecting college officials, yet clearly identified him as the creator.

Oxford
Graduation from Dartmouth was approaching, and Ted’s father asked the question all college students dread: what was Ted going to do after college?

Ted claimed to have been awarded a fellowship to Oxford University and the elder Geisel reported the news to the Springfield paper, where it was published the following day. Ted confessed the truth—Oxford had denied his fellowship application—and Mr. Geisel, who had a great deal of family pride, managed to scrape together funds to send him anyway. Ted left for Oxford intending to become a professor. (He couldn’t think of anything else to do with an Oxford education.) It would be the first of many turning points in his career.

Sitting in his Anglo-Saxon for Beginners class, his doodling caught the eye of a fellow American student named Helen Palmer. Helen suggested that he should become an artist instead of a professor. He took her advice and, eventually, he took her hand in marriage as well.

 

books for children
bookshop
bookstore
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 11.5cm x 16cm x 0.5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacture more here.....

books for children
bookstore
Dr Seuss on the Loose! Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 11.5cm x 16cm x 0.5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers businesses and individuals to take respons much more info

books for children
bookstore
Hunches in Bunches Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 11.5cm x 16cm x 0.5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers businesses and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax published in 1971 weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone wrong: the irresponsible ambitious Once-ler builds a huge thriving business at the expense of Truffula trees and the creatures who depend on them. Ted remained true to the Seussian style but still managed to click the link

get
children stories
books kids
I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 11.5cm x 16cm x 0.5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers businesses and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax published in 1971 weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone click to go

get
books kids
The Sneetches and Other Stories Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 11.5cm x 16cm x 0.5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers businesses and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax published in 1971 weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone wrong: the irresponsible ambitious Once-ler builds a huge thriving business at the expense of Truffula trees and the creatures who depen full details

australian
online
australia
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover Condition : New Dimensions : 21cm x 29cm 1cm You hold in your hands the rarest of things... a collection of lost stories by Dr Seuss! Originally published in magazines in 1950 and 1951 the seven rarely seen short stories in this book feature: A scheming feline and a greedy duck A rabbit who is saved from a bear because of a single eyelash A goldfish who grows as a big as a whale A set of twins who don't always agree An Ikka a Grith a Grickle a Nupper and a pari of Wild Wheef in search of a steak dinner A small spot that becomes a gigantic splotch of a problem A boy with far-flung career fantasies With an intr details

australian
australia
The Lorax Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover Condition : New Dimensions : 27cm x 20cm x 1cm "I speak for the trees." The Lorax is the original eco-warrior and his message rings loud today. In this fable about the dangers of destroying our forests he tries to save the trees from the wicked Once-ler's axe. The Dr Seuss blend of zany pictures and unique rhyme rhythm and repetition means that all ages will love this wonderful book. Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current details

australian
australia
On Beyond Bugs! All About Insects I'm the Cat in the Hat and I'm glad that I found you. Right now if you look you'll see insects all around you. Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Paperback Condition : Used as new-slight damage to corners of book. Dimensions : 23cm x 17cm x 1cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers businesses and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax published in 1971 weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone wrong: the irresponsibl further data

australian
australia
The Wonderful World of Dr Seuss Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : 20 Hardcover books with dustjackets in display case Condition : New Dimensions : 22cm x 16.5cm x 12.5cm (box) 12cm x 16cm x 1cm (individual books) Books in this set : And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street Dr Seuss' ABC Dr Seuss On The Loose Dr Seuss' Sleep Book Fox in Socks Green Eggs and Ham Hop on Pop Horton Hears a Who How The Grinch Stole Christmas Hunches in Bunches I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew If I Ran The Circus If I Ran The Zoo Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? Oh The Places You'll Go! One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Reading is Fun With Dr Seuss Scrambled Eggs Super! The Best of Dr Seuss The Cat In The Hat The Cat in the Hat Comes Back The Sneetches and Other Stories Join a colourful cast of crazy characters in this fabulous collection of twenty of Dr Seuss' best-loved stories. Filled with hilarious tales told in rollicking rhyme. Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of much more info

australian
australia
Scrambled Eggs Super! When it comes to scrambling Peter T. Hooper isn't content with any old egg! He claims to use something extra special for his super-dee-dopper dishes! By combining the funniest stories craziest creatures and zaniest pictures with his unique blend of rhyme rhythm and repetition Dr Seuss helps children of all ages and abilities learn to read. Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Paperback Condition : Used as new-slight damage to corners of book. Dimensions : 23cm x 17cm x 1cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were i click on

children stories
shop
online
Dr Seuss - The Cat in the Hat Story and Activity Book Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover Condition : New Dimensions : 21cm x 29cm x 1cm Madcap adventures await you inside this story and activity book. Open up and the Cat in the Hat will bring you on a roller-coaster ride of mayhem and wacky activities! You can read the story and then enjoy the activities the Cat in the Hat has left behind! Inside you'll find colouring in word searches crosswords mazes and more! Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum howev more.....

children stories
online
Scrambled Eggs Super! Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 11.5cm x 16cm x 0.5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers businesses and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax published in 1971 weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone wrong: the irresponsible ambitious Once-ler builds a huge thriving business at the expense of Truffula trees and the creatures who depend on them. Ted considerably more details

children stories
online
Dr Seuss's Pocket Box of Fun! - Pocket Library Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : 5 mini board books in one set Condition : New Dimensions : 9cm x 9cm x 5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as more details.....

children stories
online
Dr Seuss - A Classic Treasury Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 21cm x 28cm 4cm Stories in this book : The Cat in the Hat When the Cat in the Hat steps in on the mat Sally and her brother are in for a roller-coaster ride of havoc and mayhem. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back When the Cat in the Hat steps back on the mat with a team of miniature mischief-makers in his hat Sally and her brother are in for another uproarious ride. Green Eggs and Ham When Sam-I-am pesters a grumpy grouch to eat a plate of green eggs and ham we soon find we an't know what we really like until we have tried it! Fox in Socks Join the irrepressible Fox in Socks as he teaches a baffled Mr. Knowx some of the quickest slickest tongue twisters in town. How the Grinch Stole Christmas When the grumpy Grinch tries to steal Christmas from the citizens of Who-ville he soon realises there's more to it than mistletoe and tinsel! Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works more tips

children stories
online
A Classic Case of Dr Seuss Box Set Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : 20 Paperback books in display case Condition : New Dimensions : Each book 23cm x 17cm x 1.2cm. Box Set 23cm x 17cm x 12cm List of Books in Set : Cat in the Hat Oh the Places You'll Go Green Eggs and Ham One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Fox in Socks The Cat in the Hat Comes Back Hop on Pop Dr Seuss' ABC Ten Apples Up On Top I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! I Wish That I Had Duck Feet Wacky Wednesday Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? There's A Wocket in my Pocket! The Sneetches and other stories The Lorax Dr Seuss' Sleep Book Horton Hears a Who! Yertle the Turtle and other stories Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found more tips

children stories
online
Hop on Pop Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 11.5cm x 16cm x 0.5cm Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that were in fact inspired by current events or his own personal concerns. For example Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum however Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers businesses and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax published in 1971 weaves a famili extra info

children stories
online
Dr Seuss' Book of Bedtime Stories Dr Seuss' Book of Bedtime Stories introduces a captivating collection of characters all written in hilarious rhyme and illustrated by the master himself. From Thidwick the big-hearted moose housing a menagerie of animals in his antlers to Horton the elephant saving the tiny inhabitants of a speck of dust this engaging book is guaranteed to bring sweet dreams to young children at bedtime. Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Paperback Condition : New Dimensions : 23cm x 17cm x 1.2cm Titles : Dr Seuss' Sleep book Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose Horton Hears a Who! Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—that w extra info

children stories
online
Dr Seuss' Animal Antics These three stories introduce the reader to a madcap menagerie of wacky creatures and a world of crazy imagination! With his unique combination of hilarious stories zany pictures and riotous rhymes Dr Seuss has been delighting young children and helping them to learn to read for over fifty years. Creator of the wonderfully anarchic Cat in the Hat and ranking amongst the world's favourite children's authors Dr Seuss is firmly established as a global best-seller. Author and Illustrator : Dr Seuss Format : Hardcover with dust jacket Condition : New Dimensions : 27cm x 21cm x 2cm Stories in this book : If I Ran the Circus If I Ran the Zoo On Beyond a Zebra Dr. Seuss: Issues/Opinions/Inspirations Like most works of merit the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books in particular—tha find out more.....

Early Career

Judge, Standard Oil/Advertising
Marriage and career, however, did not come quickly. Ted needed to earn a living before he could think of a life with Helen. He decided that he could make a living as a cartoonist and was thrilled when one of his submissions was published in The Saturday Evening Post. His work caught the eye of the editor for Judge, a New York weekly, and Ted was offered a staff position. Many of the characters from these sketches resemble the more-familiar characters of his books: Horton-esque elephants, turtles that look like Yertle, Nizzard-like birds, etc.

Standard Oil recognized Ted’s talent—or at the very least, his obsession with Flit, the pesticide Standard was manufacturing at the time—and offered him a job in their advertising department. Flit’s competitor, Fly-Tox, offered Ted a similar contract and in true Ted Geisel form, he flipped a coin to make the decision. As a result, the phrase “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” was introduced into the American vernacular. (Morgan, p. 65) In all, Ted spent over 15 years in advertising, primarily with Standard.

World War II
While Ted was not an advocate of war, he knew that war against Japan and Germany was imminent. Ted contributed anywhere from 3–5 urgent political cartoons each week to PM magazine, considered by many to be a liberal publication. Despite the steady work from PM, however, Ted wanted to contribute more to the war effort.

At 38, Ted was too old for the draft, so he sought a commission with naval intelligence. Instead, he wound up serving in Frank Capra’s Signal Corps (U.S. Army) making movies relevant to the war effort. He was introduced to the art of animation and developed a series of animated training films, which featured a trainee called Private Snafu. At first, many balked at the idea of a “cartoon” training series, but the younger recruits really responded to them. The Private Snafu assignments that Ted oversaw included scripts set to rhyme. (Morgan, p. 109)

Ted also contributed to two Academy Award–winning films during his stint as a soldier. Few copies of the films under their original titles remain (Your Job in Germany and Your Job in Japan), and it is unknown whether any copies of the Oscar-winning remakes, Hitler Lives and Design for Death, exist. (Morgan, pp. 118–120, and Cohen)

Publishing
Ted was still contributing to Life, Vanity Fair, Judge, etc., when an editor at Viking Press offered him a contract to illustrate a collection of children’s sayings called Boners. While the book received bland reviews, Ted’s illustrations were championed; he considered the opportunity his first official “big break” in children’s literature, and another turning point in his career. (Morgan, p. 72)

By this time, there was no question that Ted could make a living as an illustrator and cartoonist—but he also enjoyed writing. While traveling on the luxury liner M.S. Kungsholm, Ted became bothered by the rhythm of its engines. At Helen’s urging, he applied the incessant rhythm to his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Though Mulberry Street is a delightful peek into the vivid imagination of a child, publishers in 1937 were not receptive; in fact, Ted presented his manuscript to 27 publishing houses and received 27 rejections. Discouraged, Ted literally bumped into an old Dartmouth friend who happened to work at Vanguard Press, a division of Houghton Mifflin. His friend offered to show the manuscript and illustrations to key decision-makers. Vanguard wound up publishing Mulberry Street, which was well received by librarians and reviewers.

His next career turning point was in response to Rudolf Flesch’s book and John Hersey’s article, both entitled Why Johnny Can’t Read; the premise for both article and book was that children’s books were boring. Hersey was outraged with the current primers, calling them “antiseptic” and the children in them “unnaturally clean.” He called for illustrations “that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words,” and concluded that the work of artists like Geisel and Walt Disney would be more appropriate. (Morgan, pp. 153–54)

So in an unusual act of sharing an author, Houghton Mifflin and Random House asked Ted to write a children’s primer using 220 new-reader vocabulary words; the end result was The Cat in the Hat. Houghton Mifflin reserved textbook rights and Random House reserved retail-trade rights. While schools were hesitant to adopt it as an official primer, children and parents swarmed for copies.

Though Ted’s road to children’s books had many twists and turns, The Cat in the Hat catapulted him from pioneer in children’s literature to definitive children’s book author-illustrator, a position he has held unofficially for many decades since.

 

Personal Life and Interests

Art
A doodler at heart, Ted often remarked—with a twinkle in his eye—that he never really learned to draw. His school notebooks often included bizarre creatures that framed sporadic notes he had taken in class. While his work is very distinct to adults and children, Janet Schulman—his editor for the last 11 years of his life—admits that he despised when his writing and illustrations were referred to as “whimsical.”

Ted was also very, very particular about color. According to Cathy Goldsmith, his art director from 1980 through 1991, his sense of color was very idiosyncratic (which means the colors he used were very distinctly and recognizably ‘Seuss’).

His paintings might not have been considered serious by critics’ standards, but Ted took his painting very seriously—it relaxed him. Using watercolor, gouache, ink, or casein, Ted would create vivid scenes with skewed, nonsensical perspectives and images. He would often contrast bright colors against a much darker background, creating an illusion of the subject popping out of the painting. While he longed for critical recognition that he was an artist, Ted would not sell his paintings out of fear of critics’ rejection.

When Ted needed to clear his thoughts or relieve a creative block, he often took an afternoon walk through his garden. Ted considered tending to his garden and trees another form of art, and when he worked in this “media,” he created a soft, pastoral setting.

According to Ted, however, his greatest work wasn’t a particular book or lavish gardens. It was the Lion Wading Pool at Wild Animal Park in San Diego, which he donated in 1973. (Dr. Seuss from Then to Now, p. 80)

Helen Palmer Geisel
Helen Palmer and Ted Geisel were classmates at Oxford University. It was Helen who first suggested that Ted draw for a living. While Helen was a tremendous support editorially, artistically, and administratively during much of Ted’s career, she was an accomplished author too. One of her books, Do You Know What I’m Going to Do Next Saturday?, was listed as one of the best juveniles by The New York Times in 1963. (Morgan, p. 182) Along with Ted and Phyllis Cerf, Helen was also a founder of Beginner Books, a young reader’s division of Random House Children’s Books. Later in life, Helen suffered from frail health, including cancer. She died on October 23, 1967.

Various Friends
Ted was quiet and almost shy until he got to know a person better. He had a delightful sense of humor and enjoyed friends who took part in his mischief.

Publisher Bennett Cerf was perhaps the most influential figure in Ted’s early publishing career. Cerf was the mastermind behind the sharing agreement with Houghton Mifflin and also orchestrated the birth of Random House’s Beginner Books division. It was Cerf who wagered that Ted couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less, prompting Ted to write Green Eggs and Ham. Cerf had the vision to see that Ted was going to turn the children’s book industry upside down, and he definitely wanted to be a part of it, so he created Beginner Books. Their friendship extended far beyond the walls of Random House, however, and by all accounts was very unique and special.

Famed columnist Art Buchwald was another dear friend of Ted’s. The two met at the San Diego Zoo and quickly struck up a friendship. One of Ted’s shining moments was when he responded to Buchwald’s chiding about Ted having never written a political book: Ted took a copy of Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!, crossed out Marvin’s name, and replaced it with “Richard M. Nixon.” With Ted’s blessing and despite protests from Random House, Buchwald printed the text in his column, and President Nixon resigned the following day (with Ted and Buchwald cheering for their collaborative effort).

Animator Chuck Jones met Ted as a civilian overseer of Frank Capra’s unit back in World War II, and the two remained friends for life. It was Jones who approached Ted about an animated Grinch special, and eventually Horton Hears a Who! Their collaborations were often heated, but the results were stunning. Jones describes their partnerships as “equally difficult and equally enjoyable.” (Morgan, 192) They also shared an affinity for bow ties, arguing for hours about the proper way to loop them. (Morgan, p. 109)

The Tower/Writing Habits
In 1948, Ted and Helen purchased an old observation tower in La Jolla (la-HOY-yah), California. “The Tower,” as it soon became known, was to remain the primary Geisel residence for the remainder of their lives. It was there that Ted worked his creative magic, locked in the studio within The Tower for at least eight hours each day and very often, much longer than that.

Janet Schulman, who is now semi-retired but continues her role as vice president of Random House Books for Young Readers, admits that Ted’s actual writing process was a bit of a mystery: “He was so private about it,” she explains. “When he was working on a book, he always had a general idea of what the book was going to be, but he put these pieces of paper on the wall, and there would be ‘holes’ within the sequence that usually belonged to the transition points.”

Others recall Ted putting on a “thinking cap” from his amazing hat collection and wearing it to help lighten the stress of creative blocks.

However he managed to do it, there’s no discrepancy that he did it well. “He was absolutely no trouble, he didn’t pester you like some authors can do, and he enjoyed both critical and commercial success,” Schulman reflects. “I miss him terribly—there will never be another Dr. Seuss.”

Issues/Opinions/Inspirations
Like most works of merit, the works of Dr. Seuss have been overanalyzed; many scholars have found devices where there are truly none to be found. For the most part, Ted enjoyed writing entertaining books that encouraged children to read. There are several—his later books, in particular—that were, in fact, inspired by current events or his own personal concerns.

For example, Ted was upset about the billboards and construction that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. On a broader spectrum, however, Ted was concerned about the environment as a whole; he wanted manufacturers, businesses, and individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The Lorax, published in 1971, weaves a familiar tale of a good thing gone wrong: the irresponsible, ambitious Once-ler builds a huge, thriving business at the expense of Truffula trees and the creatures who depend on them. Ted remained true to the Seussian style, but still managed to shame the current generation and challenge the next generation by demonstrating the pitfalls of progress . . . “unless.” (The Lorax, p.58)

The Butter Battle Book, perhaps the most controversial of all his books, was written in response to the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during the Reagan administration. Published in 1984, Butter Battle sheds light on the growing threat of war between the Yooks and the Zooks. The threat stems solely from the way Yooks and Zooks choose to eat their bread: butter-side up and butter-side down, respectively. The story ends with a blank page, leaving a cliffhanger ending that is open to interpretation. When Ted presented this particular project, Random House saw red flags!

For the first time in decades, editors and art directors questioned Dr. Seuss—the cover, the ending, the verb tenses, even the title itself went through several changes. Never one to initiate confrontation, Ted suddenly found himself defending every element in question. Ted remained as true to the original as possible because the book represented the truth about the arms buildup. Ultimately, few changes were made.

For six months, Butter Battle remained on The New York Times’ Bestseller List—for adults.

In 1990, when the televised version of The Butter Battle Book was shown in the U.S.S.R., Ted bragged that the country began “falling apart.” Indeed, the Soviet Union was crumbling at that time, but Ted’s message reached a much broader audience—and challenged readers to answer the question, how does it all end? (Morgan, p. 255)

Incidentally, the question Ted dreaded most was the question he was asked most often: “Where do you get your ideas?” He usually responded with a quip, most often “Uber Gletch.”

 

Later Years

Audrey Geisel
Audrey and Ted had been friends for a long time before they married on June 21, 1968. She brought order and stability to his life at a time when Ted’s popularity was pulling him in various directions.

Life with Audrey brought a sense of freshness and renewal to Ted; he became more social and more active in his community. The Geisels were excellent hosts, holding weekly dinner parties that included extensive and varied guest lists. These parties often took on lives of their own; Ted’s penchant for funny hats, for example, would weave its way into a dinner party theme or two, and guests were expected to wear their funniest headgear—or risk Ted assigning one from his personal collection!

Ted’s interest in travel was also revived, and together he and Audrey traveled extensively. One of their more memorable adventures included a photo safari in Africa. Ted looked at the trees and exclaimed, “They’ve stolen my truffula trees!”

Audrey mentioned that Ted started another book during this particular journey, but he did not have the “right” paper with him. Making do with what he did have on hand, Ted simply jotted his thoughts on laundry lists!

Friends and colleagues were pleasantly surprised at Ted’s newfound zeal. With Audrey’s encouragement and inspiration, his imagination soared to new heights.

This new “spark” certainly influenced Ted’s work! Some of his most critically acclaimed and socially conscious books were written during this period, and Ted began experimenting with the color palette once again. Audrey would often suggest unexpected, unusual color combinations that complemented more meaningful manuscripts. And fortunately for us, we reap the rewards of their efforts; books such as The Lorax, The Butter Battle Book, and You’re Only Old Once! are evidence of new challenges and risks that Ted was willing to take.

It was also Audrey who suggested that Ted grow a beard—and for the first time in his life, he did. He figured that by doing so, shaving would be one less thing to have to worry about!

Never one to interfere directly with her husband’s affairs, Audrey—a former nurse—saw her role as that of a caretaker and chief supporter, a role she continues to this day as the head of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Honors/Tributes
Many honors and awards were bestowed upon Ted, including an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Dartmouth. In addition to six other honorary doctorates, some of Ted’s more notable awards include an Oscar for Gerald McBoing-Boing (Best Cartoon, 1951); two Emmys for Halloween Is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (Best Children’s Special, 1977 and1982, respectively); a Pulitzer Prize (1984); a Peabody for the animated specials How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton Hears a Who! (1971); and a New York Library Literary Lion (1986). Three of his books received Caldecott Honor Awards: McElligot’s Pool (1947), Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949), and If I Ran the Zoo (1950). In 1980, the American Library Association (the same organization responsible for the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Awards) honored Ted with a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. This special award is given to an author or illustrator whose books—having been published in the United States—have made a substantial contribution and lasting impact to children’s literature.

In 1986 the San Diego Museum of Art, under the watchful eye of Ted himself, featured a retrospective dedicated to his life and work. Several of his paintings and early sketches were included in the mix. The show was well-received by the public and traveled to many locations throughout the United States. The show was cataloged and put into book format as Dr. Seuss from Then to Now: A Catalogue of the Retrospective Exhibition. The book is no longer in print, but it offers a breathtaking array of 60 years of Ted’s work. While the show was a hit among patrons, Ted wasn’t satisfied that his paintings and position as a true artist were recognized. (Morgan, p. 267).

Other Media
In 1966, Ted received a call from his old friend Chuck Jones, now a successful animator. Jones convinced Ted to adapt How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for television. It was a painstaking task, as Jones used the full-animation technique that had been popular at Disney. The idea behind full animation is that one could follow the story, with or without the benefit of narration. With full animation, a half-hour television program would require approximately 25,000 drawings—over 12 times as many drawings as most animations of equal length.

The length of the story, the color of the Grinch, and the development of a script that did not end on a trite or overly religious note also had to be addressed.

Again, Ted was always very particular about colors, and it took some convincing by Jones for Ted to concede to paint the Grinch green with evil red eyes. The songs were a collaborative effort between Ted and composer Albert Hague. To resolve Ted’s concern that the story end in a way that was not trite or overly religious, the script called for a star to rise to the heavens (rather than drop from the sky) to emphasize the power of the heart.

At last, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! aired in time for the 1966 holiday season and it still ranks high in viewer ratings 25 years later. In fact, nearly 30 of Ted’s Dr. Seuss books have been adapted for television or video.

 

Legacy

Translations, Languages
At the time of Ted’s death on September 24, 1991, some 200 million copies of his books, translated into 15 different languages, had found their way into homes and hearts around the world. Since then, sales continue to climb, estimated at more than 22 million since 1991.

Posthumous Works/Tribute Works
Six books were produced posthumously, all based on Dr. Seuss materials, with one exception: My Many Colored Days was written by Ted himself in 1973, but the text was not discovered until after his death. Many of these posthumous books, such as Daisy-Head Mayzie and My Many Colored Days, were made into animated specials or are available on video.

In June 2002, the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum (Springfield, MA) has scheduled an exhibition that will coincide with the unveiling of the National Seuss Memorial. Under the direction of the show’s curator, Charles Cohen, countless pieces from Cohen’s personal collection will be featured, including a rare vase from Ted’s days as a mail-order sculptor and a beer tray that he had designed for the Narragansett Brewery in Rhode Island. “So much of what he did with his children’s books is interrelated to his earlier work in advertising and illustration,” Cohen explains, “I want to educate folks about that . . . and that he began the teaching of tolerance to generations of kids—that ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small’—to me, he orchestrated real change early on. He didn’t start out that way, he was a real product of his times. In the ‘20s and ‘30s, when people just made jokes about race, etc., he was a part of that—in his early cartoons, [this is apparent].” Cohen adds, “Another thing I’m hoping to do with this exhibit is to show the change—show his conscience being raised, to the point where he became the proponent for equality.”

The exhibition will run through mid-January 2003.

New Media Forms
Though Ted was fascinated with computers, he himself never learned to use one. He was certain that they could be used effectively to supplement reading and teaching; the question that remained, however, was how? CD-ROMs were mere blips on technology’s screen at the time of Ted’s death in 1991.

His dream was realized in 1994 when Living Books began producing CD-ROMs of Dr. Seuss books, packaged with smaller book versions of the same titles. Children could follow along, matching words with pictures and recognize words as a result.

In 1993, Ted’s widow Audrey founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) to protect and monitor the use of Dr. Seuss’s characters for licensing purposes. To date, many DSE-endorsed projects include a theme park, a board game, interactive CD-ROMs, and affiliations with Hallmark and Espirit. Mrs. Geisel oversees the selection process of each project, always considering Ted’s wishes and dreams. She believes Ted would have been thrilled with new media technology: “He liked to have things as visual and complete as it could be. . . . Had he been able to stay even longer than he did, he would have moved right into new ways of communicating.”

Shortly before his death, when Ted was asked if there was anything left unsaid, he pondered the question and finally responded: “The best slogan I can think of to leave with the U.S.A. would be: ‘We can . . . and we’ve got to . . . do better than this.’” (Morgan, p. 287)

After devoting 53 years to creating entertaining and instructive books, the good Dr. Seuss taught all that he could teach. Theodor Seuss Geisel passed away on September 24, 1991, at the age of 87. As permanent reminder to the reading public, the final line in Ted’s final book (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!) issues the following charge: “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So . . . get on your way!

Bibliography
Cohen, Charles. Personal Interview. August 2001.

Dr. Seuss from Then to Now. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Art, 1986.

Morgan, Judith & Neil. Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995.

 

Some Dr. Seuss Classics:

A Whale of a Tale!
All Aboard the Circus McGurkus
And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street
Bartholomew and the Oobleck
Circus McGurkus 1, 2, 3!
Clam-I-Am!
Daisy-Head Mayzie
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Dr. Seuss’s Circus McGurkus Squirt!
Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book
Dr. Suess’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!
Fine Feathered Friends
Fox in Socks
Gerald McBoing Boing
Great Day for Up!
Green Eggs and Ham
Happy Birthday to You!
Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him!
Hooray for Diffendooer Day!
Hop on Pop
Horton Hatches the Egg
Horton Hears A Who!
Horton Hears a Who! Can You?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Anniversary Edition
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Hunches in Bunches
I Am Not Going to Get Up Today!
I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories
I Can Name 50 Trees Today!
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
I Wish That I Has Duck Feet
If I Ran the Circus
If I Ran the Zoo
In a People House
Is a Camel a Mammal?
Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
Mc Elligot’s Pool
McElligot’s Pool
Miles and Miles of Reptiles
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
My Book About Me
My, Oh My—A Butterfly!
Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today?
Oh the Things You Can Do That Are Good For You!
Oh, Say Can You Say DI-NO-SAUR?
Oh, Say Can You Say?
Oh, the Pets You Can Get!
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Deluxe Edition
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
On Beyond Bugs
On Beyond Zebra!
One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Please Try to Remember the First of Octember!
Scrambled Eggs Super!
Ten Apples Up On Top!
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
The Annotated Cat
The Boy on Farifield Street
The Butter Battle Book
The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
The Cat in the Hat in English and French
The Cat in the Hat Songbook
The Cat’s Quizzer
The Eye Book
The Foot Book
The King’s Stilts
The Lorax
The Red Lemon
The Road to Oz
The Shape of Me and Other Stuff
The Sneetches and Other Stories
The Tooth Book
There’s a Map on My Lap
There’s a Wocket in My Pocket
There’s No Place Like Space
Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
Up, Up, Up with the Cat
Wacky Wednesday
Wet Pet, Dry Pet, Your Pet, My Pet
Wish for a Fish
Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog?
Yertle the Turtle
Yertle the Turtle and Other Storeis Party Edition
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Anniversary Edition
You’re Only Old Once!

 

 

Dr. Seuss Biography

Online Store Menu
Recently Visited Pages
Popular Pages