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.


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.


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.


Happy Saturday! Here’s your quote of the day!

On a personal note, I’d like to wish my Dad, George M Roberts a very Happy Birthday!!! We are all so blessed to have you in our lives. May the year ahead bring nothing but happiness!
All Our Love, 

Jill, Liam and Emma
 From left Emma, Jill, George, and Liam Roberts 

And now, here’s the quote of the day…


Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing. 

Emma Donoghue

Happy birthday, Emma Donoghue! The Irish-born novelist was inspired to write her 2010 bestseller, Room, after hearing about Elisabeth Fritzl, a young Austrian woman who was held captive in a basement for 24 years.


Quote of the day for Wednesday, September 3rd


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. 

Frederick Douglass

September 3, 1838: Writer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass escaped slavery by boarding a train dressed in a sailor’s uniform and carrying borrowed identification. He wrote about his journey in his autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.


Quote of the day for Thursday, August 14th


I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks. 

Steve Martin

Happy 69th birthday, Steve Martin! The comedian may be a “wild and crazy guy” onstage, but he has also written a philosophical play that imagines a meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso (Picasso at the Lapin Agile) as well as two novellas and a memoir.

Happy Veterans Day! Hopefully most of you have off. Here’s your quote of the day…


And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.

Kurt Vonnegut

November 11, 1922: American author Kurt Vonnegut was a master of the absurd. His 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, took its title from the name that his fellow Allied prisoners of war called their detention center in Dresden. He was born in Indiana, 91 years ago today.

It’s the start of another week. Have a wonderful Monday everyone. Here’s your quote of the day…


Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Will Rogers

November 4, 1879: Beloved humorist Will Rogers first became popular for his cowboy vaudeville act and gradually gained fame as a columnist and political commentator. He was born 134 years ago today in what was then known as Indian Territory to a family that was prominent in Cherokee society.


May you all have a blessed Sunday. Here’s your quote of the day…


Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.

Walker Evans

November 3, 1903: Writer and photographer Walker Evans is best known for his portraits of tenant farmers during the Great Depression. He also shot New York subway riders using a camera hidden in his jacket. Evans was born in St. Louis, Missouri, 110 years ago today.


Quote of the day!


I think literature is best when it’s voicing what we would prefer not to talk about.

Rick Moody

October 18, 1961: Happy 52nd birthday, Rick Moody! The American writer is best known for chronicling the dark side of suburbia in novels like The Ice Storm.