Can you lick thirty tigers in a day? According to Dr. Seuss’s book, I can Lick 30 Tigers Today! he can. Dr. Seuss is an incredible children’s author
that writes about wonderful places and creatures. He led a very successful life spreading
happiness to children and parents all around the world.
Theodor Seuss Geisel was his given birth name. He gave himself the name Dr. Seuss to use as
his pen name. Although he added “Dr.” to
his name, he has no education that gives him the real doctor title. Theodor added the title “Dr.” to sound
important. He wanted to make his father
proud. Some nicknames given to him over
the years were Theo Seuss and Dr. Theophrastus Seuss (Moje & Shyu 671).
Seuss was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield,
Massachusetts. He was born to Theodor
Robert Geisel and Henrietta Seuss Geisel (Daugherty). He died September 24, 1991, in La Jolla,
California at age eighty-seven. Many
schools celebrate his birthday each year.
Some schools ask the children to wear pajamas or dress like the cat in
the hat. For food they eat green eggs
and ham (Who is Dr. Seuss? 2).
Dr. Seuss attended two colleges Dartmouth and
Oxford. He received his Bachelor’s
degree while attending Dartmouth. Dr.
Seuss went on to Oxford University to get higher honors. There he wrote for a humor magazine and was
editor-in-chief. He got into some
trouble and was fired but continued to write using his middle name. While attending, he met his classmate and
future wife, Helen Palmer. She insisted
on Geisel pursuing his dream of art.
Palmer’s advice led Geisel to drop out of Oxford University and travel
around Europe from 1926-27. Palmer and
Geisel married in 1927 and stayed married for forty years until Helen died
(Moje & Shyu 671). After Helen’s
death, Seuss started to gather feelings for a close friend, Audrey Stone
Diamond. They later married on June 21,
Seuss’s first wife, Helen said, “Ted doesn’t sit
down and write for children. He writes to amuse himself. Luckily what amuses
him also amuses them” (Moje & Shyu 672).
Many of his illustrations come from his doodling. He said, “My animals
look the way do because I can’t draw” (Moje & Shyu 672). He also says that
many of his places and creatures came from the memories of places he’s
visited. Seuss was challenged by John
Hersey to write a story with a controlled vocabulary but still amuse children
and parents. The result of this
challenge was The Cat in the Hat. Theodor found this challenge very hard. He
almost gave up on it because of his frustration until one day he was looking
through his pile of scrap illustrations and found one of a cat. He had received a list of vocabulary words
and found two words that rhymed with cat.
Dr. Seuss was also challenged by Bennett Cerf. Cerf challenged Seuss to write a story using
only fifty words. Seuss found this
challenge much easier than his other challenge.
The result of this “easy” challenge was the popular best seller Green Eggs and Ham! (Moje & Shyu
His writing career flourished when he published his
first book, And to Think I Saw It on
Mulberry Street, in 1937. The
stories just kept coming for Seuss.
Almost every year, Seuss published a new book. All of his books seem to teach a lesson or
have a moral to them. Although Seuss
denies ever meaning to create the morals, he says that some of his stories just
naturally presented themselves. The most
popular example of this is Horton Hatches
the Egg. In the story, an elephant,
Horton, raises a duckling which shows an act of kindness (Moje & Shyu 673). There is a story about Dr. Seuss’s
inspiration for Horton Hatches the Egg. It is said that a breeze blew a drawing of an
elephant onto a drawing of a tree. That
is when the idea flourished and Horton was born (Who is Dr. Seuss? 2).
Seuss also wrote his books in result of
controversial world events. The Lorax, Seuss’s favorite book, was
written to spread awareness about environmental concerns, Yertle the Turtle was written as a reaction to the fascism of World
War II, and The Butter Battle Book
shows nuclear proliferation. The Lorax even made the Northwestern lumber
companies so negative that some schools in the area tried to vote to keep the
book of their reading lists at the school (Moje & Shyu 674-675).
“Dr. Seuss” was not his only pen name. With the name “Dr. Seuss” he wrote
forty-seven books. Under the name “Theo
LeSieg” he also wrote many books.
“LeSieg” was just meant to symbolize “Geisel” backwards (Moje & Shyu
Dr. Seuss’s books included And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. (1937), The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.
(1938), The Seven Lady Godivas.
(1939), Horton Hatches the Egg.
(1940), McElligot’s Pool. (1947), Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. (1948), Bartholomew and the Oobleck. (1949), If I Ran the Zoo. (1950), Scrambled Eggs Super! (1953), Horton Hears a Who! (1954), On Beyond Zebra! (1955), If I Ran the Circus. (1958), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957), The Cat in the Hat. (1957), The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. (1958), Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories.
(1958), Happy Birthday to You!
(1959), One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue
Fish. (1960), Green Eggs and Ham.
(1960), The Sneetches and Other Stories.
(1961), Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.
(1962), Dr. Seuss’s ABC. (1963), Hop on Pop. (1963), Fox in Sox. (1965), I Had
Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew. (1965), The Cat in the Hat Song Book. (1967), The Foot Book. (1968), I Can
Lick 30 Tigers Today! and other stories. (1969), I Can Draw It Myself. (1970), Mr.
Brown Can Moo! Can You? (1970), The
Lorax. (1971), Marvin K. Mooney Will
You Please Go! (1972), Did I Ever
Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1973), The
Shape of Me and Other Stuff. (1973), There’s
a Wocket in My Pocket! (1974), Oh,
the Thinks You Can Think! (1975), The
Cat’s Quizzer. (1976), I Can Read
with My Eyes Shut! (1978), Oh Say Can
You Say? (1979), Hunches in Bunches.
(1982), The Butter Battle Book.
(1984), You’re Only Old Once! (1986),
and Oh, the Places You’ll Go. (1990)
(Moje & Shyu 674).
Dr. Seuss made children happy for over fifty-four
years. Over two hundred million copies
of his forty-seven books have been sold all over the world. Parents, grandparents, and children have
purchased his books from places that include, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Italy,
Holland, Brazil, Germany, Denmark, and Israel (Moje & Shyu 671). From there to here and here to there, funny
things are everywhere.