| By Debra Kirby |
The wild, wacky and wonderful world of Dr. Seuss has been the salvation of many an exhausted parent who, ready to call it a night, succumbs to their child’s plaintive cry for just one more bedtime story. The easy rhyming flow in Dr. Seuss stories always made it easy for me to read just a little longer. There’s a Wocket in my Pocket was a favorite of both my daughters, who could recite word for word, page by page well before they were able to read – providing an opportunity for a little fun with unsuspecting relatives and friends who were amazed at how advanced my 3-year-old girls were.
I’ve been fortunate enough to continue to enjoy Dr. Seuss through my grandchildren and various mentoring programs through the years. The student I’m currently mentoring is a second grader who says Dr. Seuss is her favorite author, and Green Eggs and Ham her favorite book, though we recently both found Fox in Sox a little trying.
In honor of the National Education Association’s Read Across America, which kicks off on March 2, and is also Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I decided to learn a little more about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, whose real name was Theodor Geisel. There are many interesting and some surprising facts to be found in Gale databases. Here are a few:
- A friend once bet Seuss $50 he could not write a book using only 50 words. Green Eggs and Ham was the result. (Kids Infobits)
- It took over a year for Seuss to write The Cat in the Hat. As he later relayed in an interview: “Writing children’s books is hard work, a lot harder than most people realize, and that includes most writers of children’s books. And it never gets any easier. I remember thinking that I might be able to dash off The Cat in the Hat in two or three weeks. Actually, it took over a year. You try telling a pretty complicated story using less than two hundred and fifty words! No, don’t, not unless you’re willing to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.” (Biography In Context)
- Seuss once observed that his favorite book was The Lorax (1971), which came almost effortlessly to him, allegedly taking only forty-five minutes to compose. This environmentally conscious allegory about trees so loved that they are all cut down and become extinct was also the only one of his books that anyone ever tried to ban. That effort occurred in 1989 in the Northern California logging town of Laytonville. (Student Resources In Context)
- Seuss’s book If I Ran the Zoo (1950) introduced the word nerd into the English language. (Research In Context)
Why not celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America by sharing your favorite Dr. Seuss stories with a child—even if that child is a grown up you! I’m planning to revisit my three favorites: There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, The Butter Battle Book, and What Was I Scared of (The Pale Green Pants)? What are your favorites?