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 Picture Books Author of the Month
Dr. Seuss
Theodor Seuss Geisel
(Also wrote as Leo LeSeig And Rosetta Stone)
Theodor Seuss Geisel
2 March 1904 -- 24 September 1991

    Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachussetts, to Theodor Robert Geisel and his wife Henrietta (Seuss) Geisel.  His father ran a brewery in Springfield until Prohibition, a time in the 1920's when the sale of alcohol was illegal.  Seuss's father later became the superintendent of the Springfield Park System and expanded the local zoo, which was a favorite place for his son.  Seuss also had a sister named Margaretta.

    Seuss attend the public schools in Springfield.  He had read some of the works of Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson by the time he was six-years-old.  Seuss also loved to draw, but at the end of his first high-school art class, his teacher took him aside and said, not unkindly, "You will never learn to draw, Theodor.  Why don't you just skip class for the rest of the term." [3]  Seuss didn't give up, though.  He started sending unillustrated jokes to the high school paper.

    Seuss's real last name, Geisel, was German.  As a result, he experienced the prejudices some Americans felt toward people of German background during World War I (1914-1918).  "....everyone was angry at the Germans.  I was not only known as the 'Kaiser", but because of my father's job at the brewery, the 'Drunken Kaiser'."[3]  He would sometimes have to run home was fellow kids threw coal at him.

    In 1921, Seuss entered Dartmouth College upon completion of high school.  He majored in English.  He became the editor of the campus humor magazine Jack O'Lantern, which used a great number of his stories and illustrations.  He first used the pseudonym of Seuss for these works because he was hoping to use his real name when he wrote adult fiction.  He graduated in 1925.

    After graduating from college, Seuss continued his studies at Lincoln College, which is part of Oxford University in England, from 1925-1926 and at the University of the Sorbonne in Paris.  While at Oxford, he met another American student,  Helen Palmer, and romance bloomed.

    In 1926, Seuss wrote his first novel.  He was tired of his academic career and decided to concentrate on just writing.  Looking back, he was pleased that the novel was never published because it was very long and hard to follow.

    Seuss married Helen the next year, and the two of them returned to the United States.  He began illustrating ads for a variety of products for newspapers, posters, and billboards.  He was also writing humorous articles for magazines such as Vanity Fair, Liberty, Life, Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post, and Judge.  It was one of his ads, though, that first brought him recognition as a writer.  It was an ad for an insect spray with the line, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" which was inspired by one of his original cartoons.

    The success of the "Flit" campaign led Seuss to the vocation that would make him famous.  The contract he signed with the company that produced the ad did not allow him to write for anyone else--anyone except for children.  He was an advertising illustrator for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey from 1928 to 1941.

    In 1936, Seuss began And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.  It was rejected by 27 publishers before it was finally published in 1937 by Vanguard Press.  It was an immediate success.  The book was written under the pseudonym of "Dr. Seuss".

    "The 'Dr. Seuss' name is a combination of my middle name and the fact that I had been studying for my doctorate when I quit to become a cartoonist.  My father had always wanted to see a Dr. in front of my name, so I attached it.  I figured by doing that, I saved him about ten thousand dollars," explained Seuss. [3]

    During World War II (1939-1945), Seuss's career as a children's author was briefly interrupted when he began his military service.  He served on the War Production Board as a publicist from 1940 to 1942.  He also served as a member of the Army Signal Corps and Education Division in Hollywood.  There he worked under the famous American film maker Frank Capra and was awarded the Legion of Merit for the films he made about the war.  He won three Academy Awards for documentaries he made based on the war.

    In 1948, Seuss and his wife Helen moved to a lovely ocean-view house on the top of a mountain in La Jolla, California.  Seuss lived there until his death in 1991.

    After the war, Seuss's involvement with children's literature made him interested in what kids wanted to read.  He thought that the "Dick and Jane" readers of the time were boring.  In a 1954 article in Life, author and educator John Hersey made the suggestion that Seuss try to develop a reader for the young.  Seuss obtained a list of 220 words used in primers and wrote The Cat in the Hat in 1957.  He also started a new publishing house with Helen, called Beginner Books, which later became a part of Random House.  Seuss led the house until his death in 1991.

    This was the time when Seuss started publishing books under the pseudonym of "Theo LeSeig", which he used when he did not illustrate his books.  Otherwise he used the pseudonym, "Dr. Seuss".

    In 1967, Helen Geisel died.  She had been an early and eager supporter of his plans to become an author and illustrator.  After he became a successful writer, she became his business manager and edited some of his books.  She also published children's books under her maiden name, Palmer.

    In 1968, Seuss married Audrey Stone Diamond and became a stepfather to her two children, Lea and Lark.

    In 1986, Seuss wrote a different kind of book.  It wasn't for boys and girls, and it wasn't for their parents either.  It was actually for grandparents.  The book is called You're Only Old Once! and it examines how much fun it can be to be an older person.

    Seuss has won numerous awards for his books, including three Caldecott Honor Awards for his illustrations.  At the time of his death in 1991, Seuss had written  forty-seven books, which have sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

Information for this biography was taken from:
    1) Biography Today: Biographies of People of Interest to Young People; Omnigraphics, Inc.: Detroit, MI, 1992.
    2) Tracy Chevalier (ed.). Twentieth Century Children Writers; St. James Press: New York, 1989.
    3) Anne Commire (ed.). Contemporary Authors, #31; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1983.
    4) "Theodore Seuss Geisel, 1904-1991", Gale Literary Databases: Contemporary Authors (http://galenet.gale.com)
    5) Judith Morgan and Niel Morgan. Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel; Random House: New York, 1994.

Cat in the Hat

Titles As Dr. Seuss
E-Seuss    And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937) -- Marco's father wanted him to notice the sights on the way home from school and tell him what he saw.  Marco notices a plain horse and wagon and has a story that no one can beat.

E-SEU    Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949) -- The King, tired of rain, snow, sun, and fog, commands his magicians to make something else come down from the sky, but when oobleck falls in sticky, green drops, Bartholomew Cubbins shames the King and saves the kingdom.

E-Seuss    The Butter Battle Book (1984) -- Engaged in a long-running battle, the Yooks and Zooks develop more and more sophisticated weaponry as they attempt to outdo each other.

KIT-E-Seuss/E-Seuss    The Cat in the Hat (1957) -- Two children sitting home on a rainy day are visited by the Cat in the Hat, who shows them some tricks and games.

E-Seuss    The Cat in the Hat Comes Back! (1958) -- The Cat in the Hat makes a return visit to two children on a snowy day to help them have a little fun while they are shovelling.

E-Seuss    Daisy-Head Mayzie (1994) -- Young Mayzie McGrew becomes a world-wide sensation when a daisy grows out of her head, and everyone attempts to get rid of it.

E-Seuss    Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1973) -- Compared to the problems of some of the creatures an old man describes, this boy is pretty lucky.

KIT-E-Seuss/E-Seuss    Dr. Seuss's ABC (1963) -- The alphabet is introduced with word play and colorful illustrations representing a number of words that begin with each letter.

E-Seuss    Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book (1962) -- Tells in verse what happens when all ninety-nine zillion nine trillion and three creatures in the world go to sleep.

E-Seuss    The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938) -- At first, Bartholomew Cubbins had just one hat, but when the King orders him to take it off, he finds that he cannot.  Each time he takes one off, there is another one underneath it.

E-Seuss    The Foot Book (1969) -- Beginner reading level text describes all sorts of feet doing all sorts of things.

KIT-E-Seuss/E-Seuss    Fox In Socks (1965) -- Mr. Fox and Mr. Knox explore tongue twisters that help introduce words for beginner readers.

E-Seuss    A Great Day for Up (1974) -- Rhymed text and illustrations introduce the many meanings of "up".

E-Seuss    Green Eggs and Ham (1960) -- Sam I Am's favorite dish is green eggs and ham, which is abhorred by others until it is finally tasted and savored.

E-Seuss    Happy Birthday to You! (1959) -- Describes a birthday celebration in Katroo presided over by the Birthday Bird.

E-Seuss    Hop On Pop (1963) -- New words are introduced with rollicking, rhyming verse and colorful, humorous action.

E-Seuss    Horton Hatches the Egg (1940) -- When a lazy bird hatching an egg wants a vacation, she asks Horton the elephant to sit on her egg, which he does through all sorts of hazards until he is rewarded for doing what she said.

E-Seuss    Horton Hears a Who! (1954) -- A city of Whos on a speck of dust is threatened with destruction until the smallest Who of all helps convince Horton's friends that Whos really exist.

E-Seuss    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) -- The Grinch decides that he can't take any more happiness from the Who Village, so he and his dog Max steal everything from trees and ornaments down to the last can of Who hash.  However, they learn that Christmas is about more than just presents.

E-Seuss    Hunches in Bunches (1982) -- A boy has a diffcult time making decisions even though there is a vocal bunch of hunches to help him.

E-Seuss    I Am Not Going to Get Up Today! (1987) -- A boy is so sleepy he vows that nothing is going to get him out of his bed, neither peas and beans nor United States Marines.

E-Seuss    I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today and Other Stories (1969) -- The three stories in verse included are "I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today," "King Looie Katz,"  and "The Glunk That Got Thunk."

E-Seuss    I Can Read With My Eyes Shut (1978) -- The Cat in the Hat takes Young Cat in to show him the fun he can get out of reading.

E-Seuss    I Had Trouble Getting Into Solla Sollew (1965) -- Join the adventures of a boy as he makes his way from the Valley of Vung to the city of Solla Sollew and has a number of interesting troubles along the way.

E-Seuss    If I Ran the Circus (1959) --    If young Morris McGurk ran a circus in an empty lot, it would have all sorts of interesting acts like a balancing Walrus named Rolf, a Drum-Tummied Snum from Frumm, and the Remarkable Foon, but only if Mr. Sneelok helps out a lot.

E-Seuss    If I Ran the Zoo (1950) -- If Gerald McGrew ran the zoo, he'd let all the animals go and fill it with more unusual beasts such as a ten-footed lion, and Elephant-Cat, a Mulligatawny, a Tufted Mazurka, and others.

E-Seuss    The King's Stilts (1939) -- Someone has taken King Birtram's stilts, which he only uses after a day of hard work to help him relax.  This leads to adventures for the King, Eric the Page, and other citizens of the Kingdom of Binn.

E-Seuss    The Lorax (1971) -- The Once-ler announces the results of the local pollution problem.

E-Seuss    Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now! (1972) -- Suggests in rhyme a number of ways for Marvin K. Mooney to travel as long as he gets going -- now!

E-Seuss    McElligot's Pool (1947) -- A boy imagines the rare and wonderful fish he might catch in McElligot's pool.

E-Seuss    Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? -- Mr. Brown is an expert at imitating all sorts of noises.

E-Seuss    My Many Colored Days (1996) -- This rhyming story describes each day in terms of a particular color which in turn is associated with specific emotions.

E-Seuss    Oh Say Can You Say? (1979) -- A collection of nonsensical tongue twisters.

E-SEU     Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990) -- Advice in rhyme for proceeding in life; weathering fear, loneliness, and confusion; and being in charge of your emotions.

E-Seuss    Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! (1975) -- Relates in verse some of the thinks you can think if you really try.

E-Seuss    On Beyond Zebra (1955) -- One boy's alphabet doesn't end with Z.  It keeps on going with letters like Yuzz and Wum and Snee.

E-Seuss    One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960) -- A story-poem about the activities of unusual animals such as the Nook, the Wump, the Yink, the Yop, the Gack, and the Zeds.

E-Seuss    Please Try to Remember the First of Octember (1977) -- Every wish is fulfilled on the first of Octember.

E-Seuss Scrambled Eggs Super (1953) -- Tired of scrambled eggs always tasting the same, Peter T. Hooper goes on a great egg hunt for his new recipe.

E-Seuss    The Shape of Me and Other Stuff (1973) -- Rhyme and silhouette drawings introduce the shapes of bugs, balloons, peanuts, camels, spider webs, and many other familiar objects.

E-Seuss    The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961) -- "The Sneetches" are ostrich-like birds who live on beaches.  "The Zax" are two stubborn creatures who refuse to step aside for each other when they cross paths.  "Too Many Daves" looks at what happens when a mother gives all 23 of her sons the same name.  "What Was I Scared Of" shows that sometimes your fears are worse than reality.

E- Seuss    There's a Wocket In My Pocket (1974) -- A household of unusual creatures help beginning readers recognize common household words.

E-Seuss    Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose (1966) -- Thidwick is willing to allow his fellow animals to make a home in his antlers, but they are not kind enough to share them with him.  He is rewarded for his big heart when he sheds his antlers and can rejoin the other moose.

E-Seuss Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (1958) -- "Yertle the Turtle" has a run in with the local king. "Gertrude McFuss" is about the dangers of envy. "The Big Brag is about a rabbit who competes with a bear to see which animal is best.

Titles As Theo LeSeig
E-LES           Come Over to My House (1966) -- Explore various types of homes of people from all over the world and see what sorts of fun things they have in them.

ABC-LeSeig    Hooper Humperdink...? Not Him! (1976) -- A youngster plans a huge, spectacular party, inviting friends whose names begin with every letter from A to Z, except for one person.

ABC LeSeig
E-LeSeig        In a People House (1972) -- Easy-to-read rhymes about a number of household items.

ABC-LeSeig    Ten Apples Up On Top (1961) -- A lion, a dog, and a tiger balance apples on their heads.

E-LeSeig        The Tooth Book (1981) -- Rhyming text and illustrations briefly point out what animals have teeth, their uses, and how to care for them.

Green Eggs and Ham

Dr. Seuss Related Videos
J-VID-Dr.    Dr. Seuss On the Loose (1989) -- Three Dr. Seuss classics are presented.  "The Sneetches" are ostrich-like birds who live on beaches.  "The Zax" are two stubborn creatures who refuse to step aside for each other when they cross paths.  "Green Eggs and Ham" is Sam I Am's favorite dish, which is abhorred by others until it is finally tasted and savored.

J-VID-Hop    Hop On Pop (1989) -- Three more Dr. Seuss classics are presented.  "Hop on Pop" combines rollicking, rhyming verse with colorful, humorous action to introduce new words.  Kids will howl at all the incredible ways in which an unwanted Marvin is asked to leave in "Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!".  "Oh Say Can You Say?" introduces a number of terrible tongue twisters.

J-VID-Horton  Horton Hears a Who (1989) -- A city of Whos on a speck of dust is threatened with destruction until the smallest Who of all helps convince Horton's friends that Whos really exist.

J-VID-How    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) -- The Grinch decides that he can't take any more happiness from the Who Village, so he and his dog Max steal everything from trees and ornaments down to the last can of Who hash.  However, they learn that Christmas is about more that just presents.

J-VID-One    One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1989) -- Three more classics by Dr. Seuss are presented.  "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" takes readers on a captivating journey through the out-of-the-ordinary.  "Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!" encourages the imagination of a child with an exuberant collection of made-up words, fanciful creatures, and creative ideas.  "The Foot Book" is Dr. Seuss's homage to the common foot.

Dr. Seuss Related Software
J-CDR-Dr.    Dr. Seuss's ABC (1995) -- Users can listen to the Dr. Seuss classic and watch animated pictures or listen to the story and play with the animation on each page.  The CD-ROM product can be used on both the Apple and IBM platforms.


Dr. Seuss's Seussville (http://www.randomhouse.com/seussville/) -- This is the official Dr. Seuss website, which is maintained by Random House.  The site has games you can play, contests, activities, Dr. Seuss images and information, and Dr. Seuss-related things you can buy. 

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