Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss, the beloved children's author of over 40 picture books, including his two most popular books, Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the HatHis influence is seen most clearly in the National Education Association's event to promote children's literacy, Read Across America, a celebration of Dr. Seuss and his books that is held yearly on March 2nd, Seuss' birthday, or "Dr. Seuss Day".

Seuss began writing children's books in 1937 with And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, which went through many rejections before finally reaching publication. He published three more books, but interrupted the writing of his fifth picture book, McElligot’s Pool, in 1941 to begin writing political cartoons during World War II. By 1950, Seuss was back on the picture book track with the publication of If I Ran the Zoo. His distinction as a beloved children's author really began when Life magazine published an article in 1954 about why children were not reading. The article called the Dick and Jane children's books of the time "boring" and claimed that this was the reason that children were not learning to read. The director of publisher Houghtin Mifflin at the time - an old collegue of Seuss' - challenged Seuss to write an engaging, fun children's book comprised of no more than 225 different words.  From this list of words he was given, Seuss created the classic children's picture book The Cat in the Hat in 1957. The book was a raging success, and this inspired Seuss and his wife to start Beginner Books, a division of Random House that would publish books for early readers. 

Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham in much the same way.  In 1960, a friend remarked that Seuss could not write a book with fewer than 50 words, and Green Eggs and Ham was born. Seuss continued to write Beginner Books, and even dipped his pen into the realm of political or moralistic children's tales. The Lorax, Yertle the Turtle, The Butter Battle Book, The Sneeches, and Horton Hears a Who! are several of Seuss' books that he used to teach important lessons to children about racism, freedom, environmentalism, and even the futility of the arms race. Seuss wanted to teach children without boring or preaching to them. He was quoted as saying, "I think I can communicate with kids because I don’t try to communicate with kids. Ninety percent of the children’s books patronize the child and say there’s a difference between you and me, so you listen to this story. I, for some reason or another, don’t do that. I treat the child as an equal."

Though he died in 1991, Seuss' books are still favorites with children and parents alike today. The rhythm, rhyme, and whimsical nonsense found in his books appeal to readers of every kind. Seuss' obvious influence on child literacy continues over two decades after his death. Just last summer, publisher Penguin Random House discovered and published a never-before-seen book by Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get!

Learn more about Dr. Seuss!

Visit the official Dr. Seuss website

Wikipedia

Read Across America

 

The Cat in the Hat Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780394800011
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - March 12th, 1957

Join the Cat in the Hat as he makes learning to read a joy It's a rainy day and Dick and Sally can't find anything to do . . . until the Cat in the Hat unexpectedly appears and turns their dreary afternoon into a fun-filled extravaganza This beloved Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss, which also features timeless Dr.


Green Eggs and Ham Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780394800165
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 12th, 1960

"Do you like green eggs and ham?" asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss's beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children's classic.


The Lorax Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394823379
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 12th, 1971

Long before "going green" was mainstream, Dr. Seuss's Lorax spoke for the trees and warned of the dangers of disrespecting the environment. In this cautionary rhyming tale (printed on recycled paper) we learn of the Once-ler, who came across a valley of Truffula Trees and Brown Bar-ba-loots, and how his harvesting of the tufted trees changed the landscape forever.


The Butter Battle Book: (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394865805
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 12th, 1984

The Butter Battle Book, Dr. Seuss's classic cautionary tale, introduces readers to the important lesson of respecting differences. The Yooks and Zooks share a love of buttered bread, but animosity brews between the two groups because they prefer to enjoy the tasty treat differently.


And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394844947
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 19th, 1989

Dr. Seuss's very first book for children From a mere horse and wagon, young Marco concocts a colorful cast of characters, making Mulberry Street the most interesting location in town. Dr. Seuss's signature rhythmic text, combined with his unmistakable illustrations, will appeal to fans of all ages, who will cheer when our hero proves that a little imagination can go a very long way.


If I Ran the Zoo Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394800813
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - April 12th, 2000

Animals abound in Dr. Seuss's Caldecott Honor-winning picture book If I Ran the Zoo. Gerald McGrew imagines the myriad of animals he'd have in his very own zoo, and the adventures he'll have to go on in order to gather them all. Featuring everything from a lion with ten feet to a Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill, this is a classic Seussian crowd-pleaser.


Horton Hears a Who! Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394800783
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 12th, 1954

Horton is back After his first appearance in Horton Hatches the Egg, everyone's favorite elephant returns in this timeless, moving, and comical classic in which we discover that "a person's a person, no matter how small." Thanks to the irrepressible rhymes and eye-catching illustrations, young readers will learn kindness and perseverance (as well as the importance of a good "Yopp") from t


Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780394800875
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - April 12th, 1958

Dr. Seuss presents three modern fables in the rhyming favorite Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. The collection features tales about greed ("Yertle the Turtle"), vanity ("Gertrude McFuzz"), and pride ("The Big Brag"). In no other book does a small burp have such political importance Yet again, Dr. Seuss proves that he and classic picture books go hand in hand.


One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780394800134
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - March 12th, 1960

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere" . . . So begins this classic Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. Beginning with just five fish and continuing into flights of fancy, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish celebrates how much fun imagination can be.


Oh, the Places You'll Go! Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780679805274
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Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 31st, 1990

Dr. Seuss's wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You'll Go is the perfect send-off for grads--from nursery school, high school, college, and beyond