116 Years of Dr. Seuss

Whether you learned about environmentalism for the first time with The Lorax or enjoyed a day in with The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss has impacted children for generations. From the publication of his first children’s book And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street in 1937, it was clear that Dr. Seuss was going to be a mainstay in children’s literature. Seuss’ birthday is one of the biggest birthday celebrations in schools and libraries across the country. For those who are out of school, these lesser-known Dr. Seuss facts are not likely to be celebrated at the kids section of your local library.


Why Seuss Added the Doctor

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By now, most people know that Dr. Seuss was a pen name for Theodore Seuss Giesel. Giesel began using the name Seuss while he was in college, but didn’t add the doctor until later. His father had always wanted him to be a medical doctor, but Seuss clearly knew that wouldn’t happen. Rather than let his father down completely, Dr. Seuss became one of the most famous doctors of the past hundred years, whether or not he practiced medicine.

Dr. Seuss’ Dad might be even more interesting

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Even though Giesel’s father wanted him to become a man of medicine, he had his own unique career path. Giesel’s father was a professional beer brewmaster and was also a competitive marksman. Because of Prohibition, Seuss’ father had to change career paths pretty quickly. Maybe this is why he wanted his son to be in a more steady profession.


Political Statements in Doctor Seuss (or not)

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Lots of Dr. Seuss books are clearly political, from the environmental messages in The Lorax to the anti-fascist antics of Yertle the Turtle.  The famous line “a person’s a person, no matter how small” from Horton Hears a Who! has been used to support some controversial political causes.  Although this line was originally intended to help young readers understand that all people are important, the quote was used by a variety of pro-life groups to support their views. Dr. Seuss never made any statements about his stance of pro-life vs pro-choice, but he did threaten to sue one anti-abortion group for using the phrase on their letterhead. Seuss and his wife Audrey have both expressed that they don’t appreciate when famous Seuss quotes are taken out of context to support causes that they were never intended to support.

Seuss is Not the Only Pseudonym

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In addition to publishing more than sixty books under the name Dr. Seuss, Giesel also published a number of books under the name Theo LeSieg. His famous book Ten Apples Up On Top was not originally a Dr. Seuss book because it was published under a Theo LeSieg, even though now the book bares the name Dr. Seuss. In 1975, Giesel even wrote a book called Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! under the name Rosetta Stone.


Even Dr. Seuss Had His Fun!

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While attending Dartmouth, Seuss was editor-in-chief of their humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern. Not unlike many other rowdy college students, Seuss and his friends were caught drinking in their dorm room one night, which got him kicked off the publication. Now, that might seem like a harsh punishment for a few beers, but Prohibition was still in effect when Seuss was in college. Giesel got his the best of them as he kept contributing to the publication under the name Seuss.

Work during World War II

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Even if Giesel was too old to be drafted for the second world war, he certainly was working hard. In the early 1940s, he started as a cartoonist for PM, a magazine produced in New York. Giesel made over 400 cartoons for the newspaper, most of them propaganda. In 1942, he began working for the US Army in their documentary film division. One of the films he wrote, Your Job in Germany, was even directed by Frank Capra (the same guy who directed It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).


Seuss’ More Salacious Side

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Dr. Seuss, ever the pessimist about the publishing industry, wanted to make sure that his editors were paying attention. Apparently, Seuss used to slip in dirty images or swear words into his first drafts to keep everyone on their toes. Giesel even published a book called The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts of America’s Barest Family, which featured many nude drawings to illustrate the text. After its initial failure, as Seuss’ fame grew it was republished in 1987.

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The Most Popular Dr. Seuss Books of All Time

Everyone’s favorite childhood author has been around since 1937, and in all his years as an author he has written 46 children books. His wacky, colorful, and rhyming characters are timeless. We all have our favorites, and in honor of Dr. Seuss birthday and legacy, why not share the top five most popular Dr. Seuss books of all time.


  1. Green Eggs and Ham

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Green Eggs and Ham, is definitely the best out of all his novels. The quirky story of Sam-I-Am trying to convince this person to try green eggs and ham, something he claims he doesn’t like. Sam, is very eager and relentless and won’t give up until this man will try this meal. Then in the end, the man gives in and tries the food and it turns out he actually likes it. What a great way to get kids to try new food.


2. The Cat in the Hat

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The Cat in the Hat, is one of the best and i’m quite surprised to see it at number two. It tells the tale of two siblings who are bored on a rainy day, and decide to let a random cat into their home. Of course this isn’t an ordinary cat, it’s the Cat in the Hat, and where ever he goes trouble seems to follow. Sally and her brother must rush to get their home back in order before their mother comes home, but the Cat also seems to be a good cleaner and helps the siblings clean up his mess.


3. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, is quite the interesting tale. For starters there isn’t a set storyline for this book, it just introduces you to a world of different characters with weird names like the Yink who drinks pink ink or the Zillow on the pillow. This book definitely showcases Dr. Seuss knack for making up characters to rhyme with different words. It’s just a funny story with funny characters that will bring a smile to a child’s face.


4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is another great one. This classic tale that tells the story of the grinch that lives on a hill looking over the town of whoville, as they celebrate Christmas. The Grinch will stop at nothing to take away the Whos joy, so he dresses up as Santa and literally steals Christmas, or so he thought. He learns the valuable lesson that Christmas is more than just food, presents, and decorations but the people you spend it with. So, his heart grows three sizes and he gives everyone their stuff back and he even joins in on the celebration. What a valuable lesson to teach to children about the true meaning of the holidays.


5. Oh the Places You’ll Go

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Oh The Places you’ll Go, is the best book to give to a graduate. This book has the best quotes and encourages children to be the best they can be and it shows them how far they can go. One of the quotes that stuck with me was, “You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” As a child it may not resonated as much as it does as you get older, but that’s the beauty of Dr. Seuss, his books have quotes that are timeless and will stay in your heart forever.

Don’t forget to Celebrate Dr. Seuss today!



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5 Best ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go!’ Quotes

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Dr. Seuss book Oh The Places You’ll Go!

It is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books and one of my favorites of all time so in honor of this huge anniversary I’ve gathered the best quotes from Oh The Places You’ll Go!


Image via Houzz


#5 “Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”


#4 “And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”


#3 “Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”


#2 “So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”


#1 “You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”


Image via The Jigsaw Puzzle Factory 



Featured Image via Read Brightly 


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