Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) is probably better known to most as Dr. Seuss, the beloved cartoonist, poet and author who gave us such delightful books as "The Cat in the Hat," "Horton Hears a Who" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," to name just a few.
Born to German immigrants in Springfield, Massachusetts, Geisel often credited his mother with being the primary influence on his work because of her habit of lulling him to sleep with clever rhymes. His childhood experiences in Springfield often made startling reappearances in his books and illustrations over the years. Some of his best known characters are:
- The Cat in the Hat
- Horton the Elephant
- The grouchy old Grinch
- The lovable dog Max
- The irresponsible Maysie
- Yertle the Turtle
However, the above simply reflects some of our own personal favorites; your list might look very different. That fact underscores one of the main reasons for Dr. Seuss's popularity, which was his ability to communicate a message that transcended gender, race, age or religion. Almost anyone can relate to and empathize with the plight of poor Horton. We abhor the Grinch while we pity his pain. His work is timeless as well; "The Cat in the Hat" is as relevant today as when it was first written.
Although "The Cat in the Hat" propelled him into the spotlight as an author of children's books and an illustrator, it was not his first published work. That honor is held by "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street." Note to any aspiring authors: it took 27 tries for Geisel to sell the book to a publisher. His last published book was "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" In addition to writing children's books, he also wrote several well-known books for adults such as "You're Only Old Once!"
An interesting piece of trivia is that Geisel first started using the Seuss pseudonym while working on a Dartmoor College publication entitled "Jack-o-Lantern." He also wrote under the pen name of Theo LeSieg.
Educators use Dr. Seuss books in lesson plans and to create art projects and activities because of their unique illustrations and rhyming words. Seuss was a master of use of the trisyllabic meter and the books are as much fun to listen to as they are to read although it is possible to get one's tongue rather tangled if one is not careful. In this guide, we've gathered up the best of the best of our lesson plans, activities and crafts projects based on Dr. Seuss books.