On March 2nd, 1904, a family in Springfield, Massachusetts welcomed a new son into the world and the world has never been the same again!
And tomorrow, March 2nd, the Cat in the Hat will celebrate his 50th birthday!
Where would we all be without Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat?!
Theodore Geisel’s father was a parks commissioner in charge of a huge park that included within its borders a zoo and was located three blocks from the library. (Maybe that’s where all those marvelous animals in his books originated from!)
Geisel graduated from Dartmouth College in 1925 and wrote for the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern humor magazine. Even at this early stage, Geisel had started using the pen name “Dr. Seuss”, as well as his own name. His first work signed as “Dr. Seuss” appeared six months into his work for Judge (a humor magazine).
It was while a student at Lincoln College, Oxford, that Dr. Seuss found his calling as an illustrator of children’s books and also his future wife, Helen Palmer, whom he married in 1927. I also learned that during World War II, Geisel was a strong supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the war effort. Interestingly enough, he was a political cartoonist at this time, and many of his cartoons of that time period were used in later works for children with no apparent political content intended.
Seuss was his mother’s maiden name. Being an immigrant from Germany, she would have pronounced it more or less as “zoice”, the standard pronunciation in German (according to censuses, his mother was born in Massachusetts, and it was her parents who were the immigrants).
Alexander Liang, who served with Geisel on the staff of the Jack-O- Lantern and was later a professor at Dartmouth, illustrated this point with the following Seuss-esque rhyme:
You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice.
Though Geisel himself has been quoted as saying “Seuss — rhymes with voice“, the name is almost universally pronounced in English with an initial s sound and rhyming with “juice”. Geisel also used the pen name Theo. LeSieg (Geisel spelled backwards) for books he wrote but others illustrated.
Besides being a gifted illustrator and storyteller of 44 children’s books, Theodore Geisel was also an acclaimed filmmaker in the 1940’s and 50’s, winning an Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Animated) in 1950. Despite his numerous awards, he never won a Caldecott Medal nor the Newberry, although three of his works were recognized as Caldecott runners-up, now known as Caldecott Honor Books.
For additional information on Theodore Geisel, a fascinating subject, visit Wikipedia.org.
For an enjoyable time with your children in your lap, visit Seussville.com, pictured below. You can even send the Cat in the Hat a birthday card there!
To visit the National Dr. Seuss Memorial Garden, click here.
Be sure to check out the Cat in the Hat video in our Vodpod on your right. I know that moms and dads especially will enjoy this one! 🙂
“From there to here,
From here to there,
Funny things are everywhere!”
~ from “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” ~
Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat!