The immortal Dr. Seuss

Author, Author

July 18, 1999|By Randi Kest

With 44 children's books to his credit, it's no wonder Dr. Seuss is a household name. He was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Mass., in 1904 but decided to use a pen name for his children's books and keep his real name for serious work. Dr. Seuss was devised by adding Dr. to his middle name to make it sound more scientific.

It wasn't always easy for this creative mastermind. His first book, "And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street," published by Random House, was rejected by more than 25 publishers before being printed in 1936.

It wasn't until 1954, when Life magazine published an article addressing illiteracy among school children, that his publisher was inspired to draft Geisel to create a book using only 250 specific words. The result was "The Cat in the Hat," which was published in 1957 by Random House. It became an instant success and the prototype for Beginner Books -- one of Random House's best-selling series.

His genuine understanding of what children wanted to read is what made Dr. Seuss' books so popular. His whimsical rhymes, silly words and heartwarming tales entertained but also helped many kids learn to read.

Geisel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his contribution to children's literature, and many of his witty tales have been made into audio cassettes, animated television specials and videos. He died in 1991, but continues to be the best-selling children's author in the world, having sold more than 100 million copies in 18 different languages.

Some books by Dr. Seuss:

* "Green Eggs and Ham"

* "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

* "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins"

* "Daisy-Head Mayzie"

* "Fox in Socks"

* "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day"

* "Hop on Pop"

* "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

* "I Am Not Going To Get Up Today!"

* "The Lorax"

* "Oh Say Can You Say?"

Pub Date: 07/18/99

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