March 2nd was the birthday of Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel) , who was born in 1904 and died in 1991. He would be 113 years old this week, but he’s really ageless and time does not affect our affection for him.
Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated forty-four children’s books; no doubt, you know several titles without prompting: Horton Hears a Who; The Grinch Who Stole Christmas; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Cat in The Hat; Green Eggs and Ham.
He has been a constant and original influence for generations of children and his playful turns of phrase and outrageous characters have become a part of modern culture (did you know that he is credited with creating the word “nerd”). Dr. Seuss did not have any children of his own (“they terrify me” he once told an interviewer). He graduated from Dartmouth and went to Oxford, with the goal of becoming an English teacher; he met his future wife there, and she convinced him to pursue his talent as an illustrator. When he returned to the U.S. (without earning his degree at Oxford), he found work as a political cartoonist and advertising illustrator. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army in WWII and ran the Animation Department for the Army. After the war, he and his wife, Helen, moved to La Jolla, California and he began to concentrate on Children’s Books. The rest is history and legend.
You can get a great sense of the spirit and creativity of Dr. Seuss just looking at the names of some of the characters he created:
Snorter McPhail and His Snore-a-Snort Band
Jo & Mo Red-Zoff
Little Lola Lopp
Peter Pepper & Papa
Queen of Quincy
Rosy Robin Ross
Silly Sammy Slick
Uncle Ubb & Vera Violet Vinn
Willy Waterloo, Waldo Woo & Warren Wiggins
Dog – Max
Little Cindy-Lou Who
Happy Hunch & Homework Hunch
March 2nd has been designated as National Read Across America Day in honor of Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss won two Academy Awards, two Emmys, a Peabody and The Pulitzer Prize. He was an original and blessed with perfect pitch in terms of story telling and illustration.
In Honor of Dr. Seuss’ life and contributions to our language, why not read (or re-read) a Dr. Seuss book this week? Or make Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast.
And remember, always, how much he thought of you:
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”