Thursday, March 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

"Fascinated by Dr. Seuss" - image via Flickr user Sage Ross
Chances are, when you were a child, your parents or caregivers read to you one or more Dr. Seuss books. Over the years, you may have found them in the library, read battered copies on your family bookshelves, or picked up a copy to add to the book collection of a new baby. The distinctive art style, catchy rhymes and simple but clever vocabulary keep adults and children returning to read old Dr. Seuss favorites and discover new ones.

Recognize any of these titles? Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, Hop on Pop and Horton Hears a Who are all among the 40+ children’s books that Dr. Seuss wrote.

Dr. Seuss. Image via Wikipedia
The author we know as Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts, a setting which influenced many aspects of his later work. In 1925, he graduated from Dartmouth College, where he had been a fraternity member and editor-in-chief of the humor magazine Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern. Humor and cartoons would be a hallmark of his early career as he sold cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post, Life, and Vanity Fair. He also found work in advertising, for a wide range of companies from General Electric to NBC.

Dr. Seuss’s first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, came to him on an ocean voyage to Europe; its rhyming scheme was influenced by the rhymes his mother would chant to settle her children to sleep. That book was followed by a few more, but he took a break to create political cartoons during World War 2. It wasn’t until after the war that Dr. Seuss returned to writing children’s books, with many of his well-known classics written during the 1950s.

Dr. Seuss passed away on September 24, 1991 at the age of 87 in California.

He received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, a special Pulitzer Prize, two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody award, and an honorary doctorate. You can find a library at the University of California, San Diego named after him, as well as a memorial garden in Springfield and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An annual award was created in his honor: the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, which recognizes “the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.” You can see a list of winners of the award here.

Recently, CNN reported that a “lost work” of Dr. Seuss was discovered by his widow, Audrey Geisel. Called What Pet Should I Get?, this new work will be published by Random House Children’s Books in July of this year. Good news for Seuss fans: the publisher also announced two additional, forthcoming books from the cache of found materials.

Curious about the catchy meter that many of Seuss’ books were written in? It’s called “anapestic tetrameter,” and you may also recognize it from “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Wikipedia has more information on this poetic meter.

Interested in Dr. Seuss’ artwork? Check out The Art of Dr. Seuss, a website which “offers a rare glimpse into the artistic life of this celebrated American icon and chronicles almost seven decades of work that, in every respect is uniquely, stylistically, and endearingly Seussian.”

The Apache Junction Public Library and Pinal County Library District have a wide selection of Dr. Seuss’s works, plus the movie adaptations. Click here to be taken to the search results for a search for Dr. Seuss.

Or, if you’re on Pinterest, check out the library’s Pinterest board of Dr. Seuss works. Click each title to be taken to the listing to see if the book is available, or place it on hold.

The library will host a Belated Birthday Celebration for Dr. Seuss on March 12, 2015. See the flyer below for more information.

Why not take some time to revisit these classics – and introduce them to the next generation - in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday month?

After all…

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

Children listen while the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., reads a Dr. Seuss book in the newly constructed children's portion of the Casey Memorial Library at Ft. Hood, TX, Sept. 8, 2010. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen (released) Via Wikipedia
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