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Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss, who's full given name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote a total of 46 children's books in his lifetime. This canon includes beloved stories such as Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. Seuss's works are known for the imaginative appeal of its characters, which is quite enchanting to many children. In addition, Dr. Seuss was a fan of the anapest meter, which consists of a chain of two unstressed syllables and one stressed syllable.    

Background on Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss, was a beloved American writer and cartoonist. His books have been a staple in the childhoods of millions of people all over the world. He is the winner of two Lewis Carrol Shelf Awards; in 1958 for Horton Hatches the Egg, and 1961 for And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. His birthday, which falls on March 2, has been deemed by the National Education Association as National Read Across America Day in an effort to in encourage reading among grade school children.

Author's Works

Dr. Seuss has published forty six children’s books throughout his literary career. Favorites include: 

  • And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
  • Fox in Socks
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • Hop on Pop
  • Horton Hatches an Egg
  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The King’s Stilts
  • The Lorax
  • Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

His work has also inspired many adaptations, which include a Broadway musical, four television series, four feature films, and eleven television specials.  

Writing Style of Dr. Seuss

The vast majority of work by Dr. Seuss is characterized by rhyme, colorful and imaginative characters, and the use of anapestic meter. This kind of metrical foot is used in poetry and it consists of two short syllables followed by one long syllable when in classical quantitative meter. When in accentual stress meter, it contains two unstressed syllables preceding one stressed syllable. Often considered to be the opposite of dactyl, anapestic meter helps to produce a consistent, rolling verse. This allows for internal complexity within the verses and lends itself well to Dr. Seuss’s strong, though sometimes silly, rhymes.

Early Life of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was also an illustrator for advertising and marketing campaigns, such as Flit and Standard Oil. He also worked as a political cartoonist for a New York City newspaper. In addition, he worked in an animation department of the United States Army during World War II. There, he wrote Design for Death, which would go on to win the Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 1947.

Dr. Seuss was also a perfectionist and was often his own worst critic. It was no unusual for him to spend an entire year on one children’s book, and he was known for getting rid of 95% of the material he developed before finally settling  on a theme or idea for his work. Though it is considered strange for a writer, he always refused to get paid for a book until he had totally and completely finished it instead of accepting the pay in advance.

Dr. Seuss studied and received his education at some very prestigious universities. He attended Dartmouth College for his undergraduate degree. At Dartmouth, he eventually rose through the ranks to become editor-in-chief of the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern, a humor magazine produced by the college. He was caught drinking with a number of his friends and was banned from participating in extra-curricular activities. In order to secretly continue working for the Jack-O-Lantern, he began to sign his work under the pseudonym ‘Seuss’. Dartmouth also played another large role in his writing career- he was encouraged by his rhetoric professor who inspired him to pursue writing. After Dartmouth, he attended Lincoln College, Oxford and earned a PhD in English literature. 

Though his work was not limited to writing, Dr. Seuss will be most remembered for his work in children’s books. Millions of people across the world grew up reading his books and their children continue to cement him in literary history forever.

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