Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dr Seuss: The Mini Biography

How much do you know about Dr. Seuss?
Enough to give a brilliant story time? Oh, don't panic, let me help out a little!

Mini Biography by Lizz the Librarian

Dr. Seuss was born in 1904 and lived in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was a funny kiddo who loved to draw and didn't really love school. His name was Theodore Seuss Geisel and he loved the zoo where his father worked. His schoolmates weren't always nice to him because he was a little different and he was German and this was the time of the war.

Ted at Dartmouth
Although Ted never did very well in school, but he applied to Dartmouth and got in! It was his mother's dream for him to go there - she wanted him to be a doctor. He wasn't a good student in college either and did not become a doctor, in fact, after graduation he had no idea what we wanted to do with his life. He went to Oxford to study English Literature when one sweet comment from Helen Palmer gave him the inspiration to do what he loved. He married Helen in 1927.

He started drawing comics for newspapers all over the country. His first book was an alphabet book with strange animals and every publisher he gave it to said they wouldn't print it. His second book, "And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street" was printed by an old classmate from Dartmouth after 22 other publishers said no. 

Two more books were printed before Ted went into the Army, "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" and "Horton Hatches the Egg. The first book after the war was "McElligot's Pool."

He started going by Dr. Seuss because his mother always wanted him to be a doctor and Seuss was her maiden name. Also, he thought he would eventually write books for adults and wanted to save his name for those works. Those works never did happen. He tried using the name Theo LeSieg (that is Geisel backwards) for books that he wrote but didn't illustrate, but it didn't catch on.

Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat

His two most popular books were the result of bets. The first is "The Cat in the Hat" when his publisher challenged him to write a book using the 250 words first graders needed to know. It wasn't easy and took him a year, but this was the book that made Dr. Seuss famous! The second was Green Eggs and Ham when the same publisher bet him $50 that he couldn't write a book with only fifty words. Success was instant and it is one of the most read books all over the world!

Ted and Helen
Ted said that The Lorax was his favorite book and he wrote it because of his anger with pollution. 

All of Dr. Seuss' books are still in print today.

Dr. Seuss was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for his works.

Although Dr. Seuss never became a "real" doctor like his mother wanted, seven universities gave him honorary doctorates!

Audrey and Ted Geisel

Helen, his first wife, died in 1967 and he remarried Audrey Stone Dimond. Audrey now brings stories from Ted's archives into the world for all his fans to enjoy.
 Dr. Seuss died on September 24, 1991 at the age of 87.

Books used for this biography are great for older kids too!

The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss 
By Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Oh, the Places He Went: A Story about Dr. Seuss
by Maryann N Weidt, illustrated by Kerry Maguire

Dr. Seuss 
by Jill C Wheeler

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