Friday, 3 March 2017

MARCH'S AUTHOR by Sharon Tregenza

Dr. Seuss 

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on 2nd March 1904 in Springfield Massachusetts.

His father and grandfather were brewmasters in the city. Ted (as his family knew him) credited his mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel, with his later love of rhyme as she often soothed her children to sleep by chanting 'Rhymes" remembered from her own childhood.

Ted and his sister, Marnie, had a happy childhood. Some of the memories of his upbringing can be seen throughout his work. The drawings of Horton the Elephant wandering along streams in the Jungle of Nool mirror the watercourses in Springfield's Forest Park.

Ted went to Oxford University after graduating Dartmouth College more to please his father than out of ambition. He soon got bored of academic study and toured Europe instead.

His return to the United States saw him pursue a career as a cartoonist. Viking Press offered him a contract to illustrate a collection of children's sayings. The book wasn't a commercial success but the illustrations received excellent reviews.

The Cat in the Hat

'The Cat in the Hat' was probably his defining book. Houghton Mifflin asked Ted to write and illustrate a children's primer using only 225 vocabulary words. With its release, Ted became the definitive children's book author and illustrator.

At the time of his death in 1991, Ted had written and illustrated 44 children's books, including Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Five Fun Facts on Dr Seuss:

1. The book Green Eggs and Ham contains only 50 different words - he wrote it based on a bet.

2. Dr. Seuss is credited for the first person to use the word Nerd.

3. His wife Audrey said he was afraid of children.

4. He once said that the character of the Grinch is based on himself.

5. Besides the books, his work has provided the source for eleven children's television specials, a Broadway musical and a feature film.


Lynne Benton said...

Lovely post, Sharon. My children really enjoyed his books, especially "Green Eggs and Ham", with its salutary message about trying new foods before insisting you didn't like them! For someone who reputedly didn't like children, Dr Seuss seemed to understand them rather well.

Enid Richemont said...

A total fan of Seuss I am
My favourite's "Green Eggs and Ham".