Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Even though he published his first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937, Dr. Seuss earned most of his income until 1957 in advertising. By then, he had written 12 children’s books. In the late fifties, there was concern that children were not learning to read. Some writers like Rudolf Flesch (Why Johnny Can’t Read) and an article by John Hersey in Life magazine, blamed boring primers like the Dick and Jane books for that failure. William Spaulding, who headed his publisher’s education division, challenged Dr. Seuss to “Write me a story that first-graders can’t put down!” It was to be limited to 225 different words out of a list of 348 words. The result was The Cat in the Hat.

And to think....on Mulberry The Cat in the Hat

In 1958, Seuss, his wife Helen and Phyllis Cerf started Beginner Books, a division of  Random House headed by Bennett Cerf. The mission of Beginner Books  is to publish books that help children learn to read. Some of the first books published were The Cat in The Hat Comes Back, P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog, Go and Stan and Jan Berenstain’s The Big Honey Hunt.

Go, Dog, Go The Big honey Hunt

Bennett Cerf bet Dr Seuss that he could not write a book using 50 or fewer words. He won that bet with Green Eggs and Ham which is his best selling title.

green eggs and Ham The Cat in the Hat comes back

Other beginning best sellers include One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and the favorite in our family, Hop on Pop.

One fish, two fish Hop on Pop

All eight of these books are available in the Yulupa Library and the Sonoma County Library.

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