Sunday, March 2, 2014
MARCH 2 = HEY, Dr. Seuss Has a Birthday Today
Knox in box.
Fox in socks.
Knox on fox in socks in box.
Socks on Knox and Knox in box.
Fox in socks on box on Knox.
Chicks with bricks come.
Chicks with blocks come.
Chicks with bricks and blocks and clocks come.
Look, sir. Look, sir. Mr. Knox, sir.
Let's do tricks with bricks and blocks, sir.
Let's do tricks with chicks and clocks, sir."
Well sir, this is just one of his books... the one from which I can clearly recall reading with my mother. It is one of many truly delightful children's verses written and drawn by the phenomenal Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss who was born on today's date in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts to German immigrant parents. His father, Theodor Robert Geisel ran the family brewery until it was closed by prohibition after which he ran the city parks system. It just so happens that young Theodor lived just a short distance from Mulberry Street which he would make famous in his first published work "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street!"
Ted Geisel Becomes "Dr. Seuss"
Young Theodor attended Dartmouth College in Massachusetts, and became the Editor of Dartmouth's humor magazine. But he fell afoul of the law in 1925 in an interesting way which lead to his evolution into Dr. Seuss. The night before Easter Sunday of that year, the local police chief caught Ted and some of his pals cavorting around with bootleg gin. As a result of this heinous infraction of the law, (Above: Geisel circa 1925) the Dean of the College removed Ted from his post as Editor of the humor magazine. Nevertheless, Ted found a way to continue to make contributions. He kept on drawing cartoons for the magazine under the alias of "Seuss", or "T. Seuss" which was his mother's maiden name, and his own middle name. He simply added the title of "Dr." some years later. He continued to write and draw, moving to New York in 1927. He did comic strips and also some advertising for General Electric
A Treasure Trove of Children's Tales
And since then Dr. Seuss has left us a literal treasure trove of children's tales with catching rhymes and remarkably friendly illustrations of a menagerie of characters. For example there is Horton the elephant, who says throughout "Horton Hatches the Egg", "I meant what I said/ And I said what I meant/ An elephant's faithful/ One hundred percent!" of his intention to
The Rhythms of the Ships Engines
Inspired by the rhythm of the ships engines in an ocean liner which he and his first wife took to Europe in 1936, the meter of Geisel's simple tales of honesty and good faith, as well as his simple rhymes have been helping children to master their reading skills for years now and continue to do so to this day, evolving with the story-tellers medium. He published my own favorite, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" in 1957. This was transformed in 1966 into the wonderful TV cartoon
A Less Than Storybook Life...
Regrettably, Ted Geisel's life was a less happy matter than his stories. His first wife, Helen suffered from a long bout with cancer, and committed suicide in 1967 owing to her anguish over an affair that Ted had with Audrey Dimond, whom he married the following year. He wound up having no children of his own with either
"Dr. Seuss" continues to be read and loved by millions of children (and "adults" like this one) all over the world.