Nonfiction is the new black
Though Dr. Seuss died in 1991, new works continue to be published. Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories, four brief stories in Redbook magazine during the 1950s, appeared last year. Last July, a picture book entitled What Pet Should I Get? was released. It features the brother and sister originally in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, published in 1960. It’s likely that he wrote this new book at about the same time, then set it aside. It was recently unearthed when his widow cleared out his former office. Reportedly there will be at least two more books.
Dr. Seuss’s real name was Theodor Geisel. Born in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts, he became a cartoonist after graduating from Dartmouth College. For years, most of his work involved illustrations for advertisements. Returning on an ocean liner from a European trip in 1936, Geisel was fascinated by the continual throbbing of the ship’s engines. That throbbing gave him the rhythm he needed for his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Marco’s father asks him what he saw one day. Marco only saw a horse and wagon. But he wants to impress his father, so he spins an elaborate story.
It was hardly an instant success. Twenty-seven publishers turned it down. In fact, Geisel was ready to give up.
A chance encounter changed everything. Walking home one day, “He bumped into a friend…who had just become an editor at a publishing house,” explains Guy McLain, director of the Springfield Museum. The publishing house was Vanguard Press, and it accepted the book. Geisel used the pen name of Dr. Seuss, his middle name.
The rest is history. As Dr. Seuss, he wrote more than 40 books, including Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Horton Hears a Who. He’s probably the best-known children’s writer ever, with several books made into popular films. His birthdate of March 2 is the annual National Read Across America Day.
If you’re ever in Springfield, check out the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. His stepdaughter Lark Grey Dimond-Cates created four bronze sculpture groupings that include his most memorable creatures.
And all of this was the result of a long-ago decision that Dr. Seuss probably made without even thinking about. “If I had been going down the other side of Madison Avenue, I’d be in the dry-cleaning business today,” he said.
From humble beginnings, Charles Schulz developed a love of comics and a strong desire to draw cartoons. His only training in art came from a correspondence course he took shortly before World War II. When he was 28, in 1950, United Feature Syndicate picked up his comic strip with Charlie Brown and decided the strip would be called "Peanuts." Seven newspapers carried that first cartoon and Schulz was paid $90 for it. Over the next fifty-plus years, Charlie Brown and Snoopy became icons in the comic world. And when their author died on February 12, 2000, millions of fans mourned. Jim Whiting tells the story of a man nicknamed "Sparky" and the lovable characters he created. For more information, click here.
MLA 8 Citation
Whiting, Jim. "Dr. Seuss Lives!" Nonfiction Minute, iNK Think Tank, 2 Mar. 2018,
For Vicki Cobb's BLOG (nonfiction book reviews, info on education, more), click here: Vicki's Blog
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