Five Interesting Facts to Celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was born Ted Geisel on March 2, 1904, meaning today would have been his 114th birthday! Check out these amazing facts you probably didn’t know about the man behind the Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham…

#1. Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet.

Dr. Seuss himself—a.k.a. Ted Geisel—pictured here with perhaps his most famous book. Photo source: WikiCommons

After some blockbuster hits like Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas in the late 1950’s, Seuss’ editor, Bennett Cerf, thought the Doctor could use a new challenge. He bet Seuss that he couldn’t write a book using just 50 words. Seuss said, “challenge accepted,” and the end result was Green Eggs and Ham: his best-selling book with over 8 million copies in circulation. The 50 words, in order, were: I am Sam; that; do not like; you green eggs and ham; them; would here or there; anywhere; in a house with mouse; eat box fox; car they; could; may will see tree; let me be; train on; say the dark; rain; goat; boat; so try may; if; good; thank. Talk about a tongue twister.

#2. His name rhymed with “voice,” not “moose.”

Sorry to spoil it for you folks, but you’ve been saying the guy’s name wrong your whole lives. Ted Geisel first adopted the moniker while at Dartmouth College after getting banned from writing for the school paper after being caught with gin in his dorm room. He went by “Seuss” to continue writing (and later added the “Doctor” because his dad always wanted him to go into medicine). But, he never intended the name to be pronounced the way we all do today. Instead, he wanted the name to go by the German pronunciation, which rhymed the name with “voice.” A friend even wrote a short poem to help with pronunciation:

You’re wrong as the deuce,

And you shouldn’t rejoice

If you’re calling him Seuss.

He pronounces it Soice (or Zoice).

#3. Writing and illustrating books for kids was not his only artistic job.

Dr. Seuss working on illustrations for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Image Source: WikiCommons

During World War II, Seuss enlisted in the Army and became commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. Not a bad gig, all things considered. Seuss was responsible for creating animated propaganda films. Before hitting it big in the children’s books universe, Seuss also held down a job as an artist for advertisements. Seuss drew cartoons for General Electric, NBC, Standard Oil, and Narragansett Brewing Company.

#4. Seuss was a big fan of symbolism.

You might pick up a Dr. Seuss book and think it’s all just a bunch of nursery rhymes about boisterous cats or multi-colored fish, but the truth is that there’s a lot more beneath the surface. Take Yertle the Turtle for example. A domineering turtle with a whole pond to call his own gets greedy and tyrannizes his fellow turtles in his quest for multi-pond domination? If that sounds to you like a not-so-subtle allegory for Adolf Hitler, you’re absolutely right. Seuss later acknowledged the Turtle was a symbol of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

#5. His first book was turned down by 27 different publishers.

It took 28 tries to get And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street published, a process so frustrating that Seuss nearly burned his draft of the book. But, he persisted, and after writing over 40 books in his lifetime and selling more than half-a-billion copies, Dr. Seuss is one of the most successful children’s authors of all time.

Advertisements
Quote

Happy Saturday! Here’s July 29th’s Quote of the Day!

It is ‘where we are’ that should make all the difference, whether we believe we belong there or not. 


•Chang-rae Lee

After working on Wall Street for a year, Korean American novelist Chang-Rae Lee (born July 29, 1965) went back to school to get a masters degree in writing. Upon graduating, he turned his thesis into his first novel, the award-winning Native Speaker.

Quote

Love Of Words’ Quote of the Day for Saturday!

Ultimately, your theme will find you. You don’t have to go looking for it. 


~Richard Russo

Happy birthday, Richard Russo! The Pulitzer Prize-winning author wrote his first novel, Mohawk, while working full-time as a college teacher. During breaks between classes, he’d go to a local diner and write.

Quote

Love Of Words’ Quote of the Day for Tuesday 

Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time. 


Marie Lu

Happy birthday, Marie Lu! The young adult author of the Legend series has a “special love” for dystopian fiction, which may or may not have something to do with her being born in the year 1984.

Quote

Happy Thursday! Here’s Your Quote of the Day…

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. 


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

In the beloved French novella The Little Prince, a pilot who has crashed in the desert encounters a young prince visiting Earth from his home asteroid. The premise was inspired by author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s (born June 29, 1900) own desert crash. After three days without water, he was saved by a passing Bedouin.

Quote

Happy Tuesday! Here’s the Quote of the Day…

God save us from people who mean well. 


~Vikram Seth

Happy 66th birthday, Vikram Seth. The writer was in his thirties when he moved back into his childhood bedroom in Kolkata to work on his second book, A Suitable Boy. At 1,349 pages, it is an epic look at 1950s India.

Quote

Quote of the Day!

Do you believe in fairies?…If you believe, clap your hands!


•JM Barrie

Boys who wouldn’t grow up occupied the imagination of British writer J.M. Barrie (born May 9, 1860), making appearances in his work both before and after his iconic play, Peter Pan.

Quote

TGIF! Here’s The Quote of the Day…

I think; therefore I am. 


~René Descartes

One of the first modern Western philosophers, René Descartes (born March 31, 1596) consciously sought to break with thinkers of the past. He was also an influential mathematician who developed Cartesian geometry and laid the path for calculus.

Quote

Happy Thursday! Here’s Today’s Quote…

I live for coincidences. They briefly give to me the illusion or the hope that there’s a pattern to my life, and if there’s a pattern, then maybe I’m moving toward some kind of destiny where it’s all explained. 


Jonathan Ames

Happy 53rd birthday, Jonathan Ames! The writer first found fame with his funny yet depressing columns for New York Press; he has gone on to write novels and created the HBO series Bored to Death.

Quote

Happy Thursday! Here’s Your Quote of the Day…

I consider my work optimistic in that the people, during the period I’m writing about them, are experiencing intense emotion. It is my belief that this is all there is to it. 


Don Carpenter

Don Carpenter (born March 16, 1931) chased popular success as a novelist, but largely made his living as a screenwriter. He was good friends with Anne Lamott, who dedicated her best seller, Bird by Bird, to Carpenter.