Did you know that March 2 is the birthday of Dr. Seuss? The full name of this famous writer and illustrator was Theodor Seuss Geisel. “Dr. Seuss” is a pseudonym, or “pen name,” that Theodor Geisel used for his books. You have probably read many of Geisel’s books, which usually feature rhyming poetry and whimsical drawings. Here are some of his most famous books:
- Green Eggs and Ham
- The Cat in the Hat
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
- Horton Hears a Who!
Theodor Geisel was born in Massachusetts in 1904. His grandparents were immigrants from Germany. When he was a young boy, Geisel’s mother would help him fall asleep at night by singing rhyming songs that she remembered from her own childhood. Geisel took an art class in high school. He also became the editor of his college humor magazine, where he wrote articles and drew cartoons. Later he found work as an illustrator for advertisements, drawing scary-looking cartoon insects to sell a pesticide called Flit. Giesel enrolled in the Army during World War II, where he produced war posters and animated training films. During this time, he also drew political cartoons that expressed his ideas about the war.
Geisel lived to be 87 years old, and even though he never had children of his own, he wrote 46 books for kids. Geisel was a perfectionist who liked to get his work just right. Sometimes he would spend an entire year working on the poems and illustrations for one children’s book, redoing the words and drawings until they seemed perfect to him. Describing his process of creating a new book, Geisel said, “I start drawing, and eventually the characters involve themselves in a situation.”
The children’s books by Dr. Seuss became famous because of their unique drawings and wonderful rhymes that are easy to remember. Here is an example from the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish:
Did you ever ride a Wump?
We have a Wump with just one hump.
we know a man called Mr. Gump.
Mr. Gump has a seven-hump Wump.
If you like to go Bump! Bump!
just jump on the hump of the Whump of Gump.
Most kids have a favorite book by Dr. Seuss that they have enjoyed reading over and over. They might even be able to recite one from memory! My favorites are I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew and The Lorax. Do you have a favorite book by Dr. Seuss?