Where Were They Then? – Dr. Seuss

 

Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, enjoying success and a good read. Photo: Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram; Library of Congress

Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, enjoying success and a good read. Photo: Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram; Library of Congress

A new volume by one of America’s greatest author/illustrators – beloved by children and adults – is now available on bookstore shelves. Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel passed away in 1991, but thousands upon thousands of new copies of his well-known books find their way to good homes every year. An alert Seuss-o-phile named Charles D. Cohen is responsible for the recent addition of Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories to the Seuss canon. The stories, from Geisel’s long-time publisher, Random House, first appeared many years ago as illustrated strips in Redbook Magazine and other periodicals. The stamp-sized drawings have been enlarged and enhanced. Horton and Marco and the Grinch figure into the plotlines. More Seuss! A grateful world – and this blogger – say, “Thank you!”

For Ted Geisel, the year 1957 turned the mildly successful ad writer, cartoonist and illustrator, animator, screenwriter, and author into a worldwide sensation. From his home base in La Jolla, California, happily ensconced with his wife, Helen Palmer, Geisel completed his book-on-a-dare, commissioned by William Spaulding of Houghton Mifflin. The challenge: write an engaging learn-to-read book from a carefully selected and very short list of easy reader words. The goal: help children learn to love to read. Dr. Seuss was all over that like oobleck.

The Cat in the Hat was released on March 12, 1957 and became a phenomenal bestseller. The old saying, “a rising tide floats all boats” went to work in McElligot’s Pool and all of Geisel’s titles started flying off shelves (without the mischievous mayhem of Thing 1 and Thing 2). An invitation from Random House to join their staff then led Ted to wonder what he’d do If I Ran the Zoo Circus Publishing Company. Dr. Seuss put on a children’s book editor hat (one of the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins), started practicing in New York City and delivered another whopper on November 24th, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After thirty years in the business, at age 53, Theodor Seuss Geisel was an overnight success. The days of Green Eggs and Ham had only begun. No one could have told you then, Ted, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

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