Simple lessons from Theodor Seuss Geisel


When Theodor Geisel dropped out of Oxford University, not wanting to disappoint his father by arriving home without his doctorate, he simply placed Dr. to his middle name.

Theodor claims to have had one drawing lesson.  When he turned his paper upside down to study the composition, the teacher walked by and said, “Ted, real artists don’t turn their paper upside down.” He never returned to the class.

Dr Seuss was rejected by 28 publishing houses, before Vanguard Press agreed to take a chance with him.  The main reason he was rejected…it was too different from other children’s books then on the market.” The book was And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Dr. Seuss said,  “People think you can just sit down and write a children’s book in an afternoon but look at this.” He waved his hands toward more than twenty drawings on tracing paper tacked to the wall of his studio…He brings out a thick folder of papers with fragments of drawings, lists of words such as psychomuftics, pharmabinormials, uncleology, gollognetics and other odds and ends.  “This is the bone pile, the thoughts that got nowhere.” …It took more than an afternoon just to look at it all.  (Mary Stofflet, Curator Sand Diego Museum of Art)

 ( Dr. Seuss from then to Now, Random House, New York,1986)

(Fabric Picture from Robert Kaufman Dr. Seuss Enterprises)


Lessons from his books:

He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!

Somehow or other, it came just the same!

But the sound wasn’t sad!

Why, this sound sounded merry!

It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry!


And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore,…(How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss, 1957)

When you think things are bad,

when you feel sour and blue,

When you start to get mad…

you should do what I do!

Just tell yourself, Ducky,

you’re really quite lucky!

Some people are much more…

oh, ever so much more…

oh, muchly much much more

unlucky than you!

(Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are, Seuss, 1973)

Sighed Mayzie, a lazy bird hatching an egg:

“I’m tired and bored

And I’ve got kinks in my leg

From sitting, just sitting here day after day.

It’s work! How I hate it! I’d much rather play!

I’d take a vacation, fly off for a rest

If I could find someone to stay on my nest!

If I could find someone I’d fly away free…

They laughed and they laughed. Then they all ran away…

I meant what I said and I said what I meant

An elephants faithful, one hundred percent.

It’s strange! It’s amazing! It’s wonderful! New!

…And they sent him home Happy, One Hundred Percent! (Horton Hatches the Egg, Seuss, 1940)

The King now knew that these four old-fashioned things…

the rain, the sunshine,

the fog and the snow…

were good enough for any king

in all the world,

especially for him…

(Bartholomew and the OObleck, Seuss, 1949)

He made each turtle stand on another one’s back

And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.

And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile.

What a wonderful view! He could see ‘most a mile!’

And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are free

As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

(Yertle the Turtle, Dr.Seuss)

There once was a girl-bird named Gertrude Mc Fuzz

And she had the smallest plain tail ever was.

One droopy-droop feather. That’s all that she had.

And, oh! That one feather made Gertrude so sad.

(Gertrude McFuzz, Dr. Seuss)

“And I kept right on looking and looking until I’d looked ’round the world and right back to this hill!  And I saw on this hill, since my eyesight’s so keen, The two biggest fools that have ever been seen!  And the fools that I saw were none other than you, Who seem to have nothing else better to do Than sit here and ague who’s better than WHO!”  (The Big Brag, Dr. Seuss)

While Horton chased after, with groans, over stones

That tattered his toenails and battered his bones,

And begged, “Please don’t harm all my little folks, who

Have as much right to live as us bigger folks do!”

A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

(Horton Hatches an Egg, Dr. Seuss, 1954)

And what happened then…?

Well…in Who-ville they say

That the Grinch’e small heart

Grew three sizes that day!

(How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss, 1957)

Thank you dad for giving me my love for reading as we sat together for hours reading Dr. Seuss together…

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss March 2, 1904 Springfield, Mass.

He makes house calls in the land of our first dreams and fears, where naughty cats wear hats, and the menace of the Grinch is real.  From Mulberry Street to Solla Sollew he leads us through the brightly colored landscape of imagination, a place of improbable rhymes and impossible names, odd creatures and curious food.  Encouraging children to read beyond  zebra, to count fishes red and blue, he gives them their first mastery over the mystery of signs.  He shows them the way to the adult world, as he shows adults the way to the child.  (Dartmouth Alumni Quarterly (November 1985):46



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