Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vignette: A Loose Look on Seuss Books

Vignette: A Compilation of Seuss: Behind the Books
Theodore Geisel, Theo LeSieg, and Dr. Seuss are one and the same.  Mr. Geisel, Ted to those who knew him, wrote under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss (pronounced Soice--rhymes with Voice).  But who cares right? We call him Seuss (Soose--rhymes with moose) and since you can't stop a few hundred million people from doing it, it really becomes your name right?  I mean, people are always calling me Raquel for some reason and I've learned to live with any variation of spelling and name calling (including Roach, but that was in Junior High).

    I'm not doing a biography on Dr. Seuss on this page because I've already done a short bio on One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, which you can read here.  Besides, I like little tidbits of interesting information and after a while learning what year someone was born and where they went to school just becomes more facts.  So, here's a few things behind some of Seuss's most famous books.  Many of these brain tidbits are pretty easy to come by but if you are like me and don't seek this information out you can now find it here easily just by being someone who likes my blog and books.

The Lorax was an environmental plea from Dr. Seuss.  Loggers were, as you can guess, upset over the portrayal and even some groups sponsored a counter-book called The Truax, which comes from the logger's point of view.  You can read it here.  One funny thing I also found out about this book is that it used to contain a line that said, "I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Eerie", but after a number of years and the obvious success of the book, the Ohio Sea Grant Program wrote to Seuss, explaining the improving of conditions and imploring him to take the line out.  Seuss agreed and it hasn't been in any editions since.

If I Ran The Zoo has the first recorded instance of the word "nerd".  It was published in 1950.  Look on the sign in the picture below:
The Cat In The Hat was written because Seuss thought Dick and Jane primers were extremely boring.  He thought kids would enjoy the Cat more than the kids.  He was right.

Seuss's editor bet him he couldn't write a book using 50 words or less.  Seuss won the bet and wrote this book (can you guess before I tell you?).  Well, if you can't then here it is: Green Eggs And Ham.  It uses exactly 50 words.  Here they are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

It is rumored that Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! was written about our dear President Nixon, but the book came out too quickly after Watergate for it to have been so.  Not to be outdone in the humor section, Seuss sent a copy of the book to a friend at the Washington Post and crossed out Mooney's name and put Nixon in it's place.  The friend, Art Buchwald, reprinted it with Nixon's name. Read it here.

Yertle The Turtle is about Hitler.  Yeah, it is.  Seuss even said so. If you need proof, just read the story again.  It's right there.  The funny thing about it all is the fact that the story is a parallel to Hitler wasn't the problem at Random House.   The problem is that Mack, the turtle at the bottom of the stack, burps.  Believe it or not, it was the first burp in a children's book.  It got more than a few raised eyebrows and was quite a push to get put in.   This is a funny reminder of that book because I remember even as a child thinking the burp was so gross.  It was a real burp. 

The Butter Battle Book, which I have read seems to have been taken out of circulation here and there for an interesting reason: it's about the Cold War and the arms race.  Yooks and Zooks do everything differently.  They feel that the other people are doing things wrong.  They build all sorts of Seuss weapons and the book ends with them ready to drop them on each other but we don't know what will happen.  Spooky, huh?

That is all, friends.  I just found a little on Seuss floating around the net that looked like it would be fun to share.  And that's the way it happened.

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