The Blagger's Guide To...Dr Seuss

Buried treasure from a master of children's stories

*He's back, 20 years after he died.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss, was an American children's author who wrote dozens of rhyming stories. They included The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Now, HarperCollins has dug up six stories not seen since 1951, and reprinted them in a new book, The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories. The publisher says it's the "literary equivalent of buried treasure".

*Theodor Geisel was born in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the grandson of German immigrants. As a teenager at Dartmouth College, he was caught drinking and was banned from writing for the school's magazine, so he adopted a pseudonym, Seuss, to become Dr Seuss when he graduated. He later went to Lincoln College Oxford to study for a doctorate in English literature, where he met his wife, Helen, but he returned to Amer-ica without completing the degree. He began submitting illustrations and articles to magazines, and made money by drawing advertisements.

*A Seuss trademark was to combine the ludicrous with the logical, as he once explained. "If I start out with the concept of a two-headed animal, I must put two hats on his head and two toothbrushes in the bathroom. It's logical insanity." His first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was a poem inspired by the rhythm of an ocean liner's engine during an Atlantic crossing. It was rejected 27 times before being published in 1937. His books have now sold 600 million copies in 95 countries, and been translated into 17 languages.

*In May 1954, a report by Life magazine on illiteracy concluded that children were not learning to read because books were too boring. This prompted the director of an educational publisher to commission Seuss to write a story using a list of only 250 words, with a challenge to submit "a book children can't put down". The result was The Cat in the Hat, which used 236 of the words, and remains a bestseller.

*The pronunciation of Seuss was for some time a point of debate. He said it should rhyme with "voice", and a college friend once wrote this verse: "You're wrong as the deuce / And you shouldn't rejoice / If you're calling him Seuss. / He pronounces it Soice." He reverted to the conventional pronunciation, because it "evoked a figure advantageous for an author of children's books to be associated with — Mother Goose".

*Seuss's early cartoons were occasionally political, especially in opposing fascism. He was one of the first to draw attention to the Holocaust, and even experienced anti-Semitism, though he was a Christian. However, he was later criticised for his support of the programme of relocating Japanese-Americans in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor. "If we want to win, we've got to kill Japs," he said. "We can get palsy-walsy afterward with those that are left." After the war, he tempered his feelings, and dedicated a book to a Japanese friend.

*One of his best books, The Lorax, was a fable highlighting the threat to the environment of industrialisation. This was written 40 years ago: "You're glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed! / No more can they hum, for their gills are all gummed. / So I'm sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary. / They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary / in search of some water that isn't so smeary."

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May


Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama


Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before