The World of Dr. Seuss
Baby boomers (and every generation since) grew up reading books by Dr. Seuss.
For those of us who never knew of a world without Dr. Seuss, it’s hard to understand why it was so hard for Theodor Seuss Geisel (also known as Ted Geisel) to get his first book published.
I think it’s because Ted Geisel was a maverick in the world of children’s literature. His books were so different from anything else out there at the time, publishers were a little hesitant to take a chance on him.
Luckily for us, he was persistent. After being rejected by 28 publishers, Random House finally agreed to take that chance.
In 1937, Geisel's first book – And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street – was published. Its success started a whole new genre of books designed to get children reading early in life.
Bennett Cerf, a publisher and co-founder of Random House, had confidence in Geisel’s potential from the very start.
Years later, he remarked that of all the famous writers he’d worked with, Geisel was in a league by himself. “There’s only one genius on my list,” he said. “His name is Ted Geisel.”
Less Words, More Success
With just 223 vocabulary words, Geisel tried his hand at writing a story that kids would enjoy. He succeeded with The Cat in the Hat.
Three years later (1960), Geisel’s editor – Bennett Cerf – challenged him to write a book using just 50 words. The result: Green Eggs and Ham.
Ted Geisel understood the importance of literacy for young children – which is why so many of his books are written for young readers.
Listed below are the most famous of his books written for the Beginner Books series (the Random House imprint for young children):
Other Popular Titles
Listed below are some of his books for older children:
In the late ‘90s, a new series appeared on the scene: The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library. Although these books were not written by Ted Geisel, the style in which they were written and illustrated is virtually identical to the books he actually DID write.
The author of this series, Tish Rabe, began writing these non-fiction science books for early readers in 1996.
The 17 books in the series (illustrated by Aristides Ruiz) cover topics like rainforests, weather, holidays, butterflies, “what’s good for you,” and the human body. (The one I own is Clam-I-Am!: All About the Beach.)
Here are some links to websites with more information on Dr. Seuss books. (This list includes activities and teaching resources, too.)
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