Celebrating Dr. Seuss
By: Amy Block-Muzekari
Photo Credit: Blair Public Library
On March 2nd, we celebrate the one and only Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books between 1937 and 1990. Additionally, he produced several films and television programs.
Many of his stories reflect his experiences while growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts and many contain social as well as political messages, perhaps not always obvious to his young readers.
A Timeline of Books
- Seuss’s first book, published in 1937, was “And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street”, which explores life on a street in his cherished hometown of Springfield
- In the 1940’s, Seuss shifted away from children’s books and published 400 cartoons, which represented his opposition to the war in Europe, Adolf Hitler and fascism. Once the war ended, he returned to writing children’s books, including the famous “Horton Hears a Who” which was published in 1954. In this story, Horton the elephant discovers a tiny person living on a mere speck. The story is known for its statement: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss makes a social and even political statement here, giving a voice to those who may be otherwise unheard or marginalized. Further interpretation of this book discusses it as an allegory for the American post-war occupation of Japan.
- Two of his best- known books were published in 1957: “The Cat in the Hat” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. “The Cat in the Hat” is said to have been written in response to an article in Life magazine which claimed that children were bored by books. It is a story about rebellion by children, as is illustrated through the main characters’ interactions with the mischievous Cat in the Hat.
- Some of the titles that soon followed include “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and the ever-popular “Green Eggs and Ham”; this entire tale is told using only 50 words. In 1965, “Fox in Socks” debuted. In the story, the irrepressible Fox in Socks teaches a baffled Mr. Knox some very slick, quick tongue-twisters. Readers enjoy Dr. Seuss’s magical, playful use of words in reading about Fox and Mr. Knox. The book comes with a “warning”: “This is a book you READ ALOUD to find out just how smart your tongue is. The first time you read it, don’t go fast! This Fox is a tricky fox. He’ll try to get your tongue in trouble.”
- “The Lorax” was published in 1971, at the start of the environmental movement. In this story, the Lorax speaks for the Truffula trees, because they “have no tongues”. The Once-ler cuts down all of the trees and pollutes the land, forcing all of the creatures to leave. Seuss attacks corporate greed and excessive consumerism in this timeless story. Late in the story, Seuss depicts the Once-ler as showing remorse for his destructive environmental actions.
- Dr. Seuss’s final book, of 44, was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, published in 1990. It celebrates the boundless possibilities and opportunities which await each and every one of us. “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way!”’ illustrates the positive message offered to us by Dr. Seuss in his last book. It is a popular gift for high school and college graduates as they begin new journeys upon graduating.
Photo Credit: PBS Newshour
To celebrate Read Across America we are hosting a weekly giveaway From March 2nd, 2017-March 7th! We are giving away a set of Dr. Seuss books! You can enter here on our Facebook page.
Remember you can impact education with your purchase through Conscious Step.
Your ordinary purchase can have an extraordinary purpose by providing books to those in need via Room to Read.
The Art of Dr. Seuss- https://www.facebook.com/artofdrseuss/?pnref=story