Monday, March 2, 2009

Author's Spotlight: Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!

When I signed into Google today, I noticed that the usual logo for the search engine had been replaced with some familiar and beloved childhood characters, such as the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. This piqued my curiousity. So, I googled! March 2nd is the birthdate of Dr. Suess, Theodor Geisel. He would have been 105 years old today.
As a young child, I was drawn to the engaging poetic meter found in various forms in over sixty children's texts penned by Dr. Suess/Theo. LeSieg . I giggled and groaned through the silly and often nonsensical phrasing. I was too young to consider the genious behind those carefully chosen words so fluently strung together. Suess was using similar meters to that of the literary giants, including the Bard himself! He labored for months meticulously selecting text; it was much harder than it appeared. Nor did I consider that Dr. Suess had an intent beyond simply entertaining children through his text and illustration. Those silly phrases turned out to be enduring social commentaries. Notable examples are The Sneetches (1961) and The Lorax (1971).
Suess could also be found in the medium of television. Its difficult to imagine now, a world where you waited with baited breath for that once a year viewing of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (1966). If you weren't home glued to the TV on that particular Friday evening in December, then you were doomed to wait twelve months more for those precious thirty minutes. You know, I still prefer the original Boris Karloff narrated version which remained faithful to the spirit of the original book.
What a fabulous body of work he has left us!

My Dr. Suess favourites:
If I Ran the Zoo 1950 Caldecott Honor Book
Bartholomew and the Oobleck 1949 Caldecott Honor Book
Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972

My Theo. LeSieg favourites:
Ten Apples Up on Top 1961
In a People House 1972


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