5 Bits Of Dr. Seuss Trivia

Dr. Seuss TriviaThe new Dr. Seuss film, The Lorax, opened this month and it prompted me to write about this wonderful author who has entertained children for decades. In his life, he published 46 children’s books that were mostly done in a rhyme format called trisyllabic meter. He was an integral part of my childhood with books and cartoons like The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. What I didn’t know about this author is the real life that he led. He was a fascinating guy!  Here are five bits of Dr. Seuss trivia.

myfivebest -1BY ANY OTHER NAME…

Much like the crazy stories with the unique names that he came up with, Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel. While he is generally known as Dr. Seuss, he also went by several pen names, including: Theodor LeSieg (Geisel spelled backwards) and Rosetta Stone. If you’ve called him Dr. Seuss (pronounced Goose), you’ve been saying it wrong for years!  He pronounced his middle name as Soyce (like you would say voice). In fact, the pronunciation of his name was put into this poem, written by his friend, Alexander Liang:

You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice.

In later life, Dr. Seuss didn’t change people’s pronunciation of his name because it reminded him of “Mother Goose” and he didn’t think that was so bad.

myfivebest - 2COLLEGE DAYS

While attending school at Dartmouth in the class of 1925, Dr. Seuss was involved in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and wrote for the school humorous newspaper, The Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern, where he was the editor-in-chief. One night, while partying with nine of his friends, he got caught drinking in his room. You’re probably thinking “So what? Lots of college kids drink in their rooms!” Well, they do, but at the time, it was illegal to do so in the United States due to Prohibition. Because of this, he was kicked out of all of his extra-curricular activities, including the Jack-O-Lantern. To get around this, Geisel changed to his pen name, Seuss, and continued editing the newspaper. After graduation, the name stuck.

myfivebest - 3A GUY’S GOT TO WORK

Dr. Seuss didn’t leave college and start writing children’s books. Believe it or not, writing 20-page poems for kids wasn’t the fastest way to the bank. Dr. Seuss had to make a living.  He did this by becoming an advertiser while submitting humorous stories to magazines, such as Saturday Evening Post, Vanity Fair, and Life.  In the meantime, he found himself working for the Standard Oil Company, NBC, and General Electric. Here he drew illustrations for their ads while trying to get that book idea off the ground.  It was on a trip to Europe that he came up with the idea for his first children’s book, And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street. After writing and illustrating the book, he was rejected by TWENTY-SEVEN publishers!

myfivebest - 4THE UNITED STATES GOES TO WAR

When the United States entered World War Two, Dr. Seuss was too old to put on a uniform and fight (he was 37). Instead, he did his patriotic duty working for a left-leaning newspaper in New York City, called PM. Here he worked as a political cartoonist. Here he drew more than 400 political cartoons where he bashed Hitler and Mussolini, isolationists and traitors (called Fifth Columnists). He was outspoken on the prejudice towards African-Americans and Jews.  All of these can be found in a book called, Dr. Seuss Goes To War.

myfivebest - 5LATER YEARS

After the war, Dr. Seuss went back to writing his children’s books.  With the baby boom in full sway, his books finally caught on with all of the kid’s born after the war.  Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he wrote some of his greatest works: Horton Hears A Who (1955), The Cat In The Hat (1957), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960). His books sold more copies than most other children’s books. While these stories are only about 20 pages long, Dr. Seuss stated that some of them took him months to write.  Ironically, he had no children of his own. He once stated, “You have ’em; I’ll entertain ’em.” Dr. Seuss died of throat cancer at the age of 87, in 1991.

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