I was going to write about Jean Pierre Jeunet but my brain is exhausted from my french exam today and I want to think in english for a while. Although my future husband Gaspard Ulliel is in Un long dimanche de fiancaille… Jeunet’s movies can wait until tomorrow. Shel Silverstein it is.
Theodor Seuss Geisel, born on March 2, 1904, is one of the most prolific children’s authors of all time.
After attending Dartmouth, he attended Oxford with the intentions of earning a Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature. He would however never complete his degree. After meeting and marrying his wife, Helen Palmer, he would return to the United States in 1927. His articles and illustrations appeared in Judge Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. During the second World War, his cartoons became more political in nature and he wrote for a newspaper in New York called PM.
It was in the period after the war that some of his most notable works would take shape. Horton Hears a Who!, If I ran the Circus, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Green Eggs and Ham. The director of the education at Houghton Mifflin compiled a list of 348 words that he felt were important for first graders to learn. Geisel shortened the list to 250 and included all of them in Green Eggs and Ham. He continued to write in this style with emphasis on simplified vocabulary as well as his older more complex style for the rest of his career.
In 1967, after a long struggle with illnesses including cancer and dealing with the emotional pain of her husband’s affair Helen, Giesel’s wife, committed suicide. Geisel never had any children of his own although he spent the majority of his life writing and illustrating for them. He made an effort to not begin his stories with a moral in mind. He was convinced that children could spot a moral from a mile away and that they were instead inherent in all stories. Giesel’s views on environmentalism, anti-consumerism, racial equality, anti-authoritarianism and consumerism among others were expressed in many of his most popular children’s books.
He wrote, illustrated and published over 60 books. Most were published under his well known pseudonym, Dr. Seuss. His works have been turned into a number of movies, a theme park and a number of televisions programs.
He passed away of throat cancer in 1991 but his work continues to entertain children and adults of all ages.