March marked the 110th anniversary of the birth of Theodore Seuss Geisel. He was most famously known for his work in children’s literature, both writing and illustrating. We all remember many of these stories from our childhoods. From The Cat in the Hat to Marvin K Mooney, Dr. Seuss created characters that we have loved for over 6 decades.
Fun Fact: Geisel first used the pen name Seuss to continue writing for his college magazine after being banned by the dean. A few years later he added Dr. to his name in respect of his father who wanted him to complete med school.
In May 1954, Life magazine published a report which talked about literacy in the United States among early school aged children and the ineffectiveness of the traditional textbooks which featured Dick & Jane. A list was created of 348 words that were important to first graders to recognize and Geisel was asked to write a book using only 250 of them. Geisel accepted a challenge, to make a book children couldn’t put down. Nine months later, using only 236 words, he completed The Cat in the Hat. His book was a huge success and, in three years, sold over a million copies.
The Beginner Book Series
We have all read a few of the Beginner Books in our time. These books are not just easy to read with their use of simplified vocabulary and usage of phonics but also teach valuable lessons, introducing values, morals and how to be successful in life. Here are 5 examples:
The Cat in the Hat (1957)
In this book, we learned a lot about using our imagination.
1. Life Lesson: No matter what the situation, like a rainy day, if we use our imagination, we can have a ton of fun. Of course, during these fun times, things may go wrong, but don’t stress, life is exactly what you make of it. Own your fun and do the right thing.
Yertle the Turtle (1958)
This is a great story about how to be the best you can be.
2. Life Lesson: It is important to have the confidence to stand up for yourself and for others. Do not allow yourself to be bullied. Treat others fairly. Most importantly, do not care what others think of you. As Dr. Suess says, “No one is youer that you!”
I Can Read with my Eyes Shut (1978)
This is really all about knowledge and how much knowledge there is in the world.
3. Life Lesson: Knowledge is power, and there is so much available – Never stop learning! Books will take you to amazing places. Always be curious about the world.
Oh the Places You’ll Go! (1990)
This must have book is all about life.
4. Life Lesson: There will be good days and bad days, some filled with friends, some lonely; some days are hard and some just flow. The truth is, you determine your own destiny. There is no limit to what you can do. You must believe in yourself and try to make things happen; of course, you might fail but eventually will succeed.
Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
This is another great book about life and how persistence pays off…one of my favorites.
5. Life Lesson: Hard work and perseverance are needed to succeed. And don’t forget to try everything once, you might actually find you like it.
Fun Fact: Green Eggs and Ham was written on a bet. Geisel’s publisher bet him that he couldn’t write a book in 50 words or less. This book used exactly 50 and became his best-selling work.
Personally, I love Dr. Seuss. From his books to his random quotes, he is an inspiration and always lifts my spirits. What is your family’s favorite Dr. Seuss book and what did you learn from it?