“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
One of the great storytellers in English and true independent spirits was born on this date.
Dr. Seuss, who taught kids the importance of being yourself, trying new things (Green Eggs and Ham), not being afraid of going out on your own, was born today in 1902.
The great Doctor (Theodore Geisel) did all that in perfectly rhymed (he knew how to count syllables) sentences, with whacky characters and drawings, exploding forever the “See Spot Run” children-book model.
The Cat in the Hat contained 236 different words. It’s been published in 12 languages, including Latin.
To think he wrote it in 1954, the year the Army-McCarthy hearings took place, the stifled and conformist 1950s, makes him one of the radicals of that decade, if you ask me.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” Sounds like the motto for the 1960s. (Maybe the mid-1950s was when the 1960s really began.)
As a wanna-be writer of children’s books — with two unpublished manuscripts, including one rhymed — I have particular appreciation for his rhyme and rhythm schemes, and his close attention to syllable count in each line.
Happy Birthday, Doc!
Yertle the Turtle is one of my favorites, along with Green Eggs and Ham, as all my life people have occasionally called me Sam I Am.
What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?