Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How Seuss Stole Hearts of Millions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How Seuss Stole Hearts of Millions

Article excerpt

DR. SEUSS & MR. GEISEL A Biography By Judith and Neil Morgan 346 pages, Random House, $25

I ASKED my 37-year-old son what he thought of Dr. Seuss' books when he was little. He said, "I liked `One Fish, Two Fish,' best." Why? "I liked the colors in the pictures and I liked the fish - he was a friendly little guy. The drawings were a fantasy world - the stairs and the towns. I wanted to be there to know what it was like."

Judith and Neil Morgan, LaJolla, Calif., neighbors of Theodor S. Geisel's real world, have written a sweet biography of America's best-known children's author. There are no warts, nor are there very many bad times.

Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss (his middle name is his mother's maiden name), developed his madcap manner early on. By the time he entered Dartmouth College, he knew what he wanted to do - write jokes, draw cartoons and become editor of Dartmouth's humor magazine. He did all that and scraped by to receive his degree.

At loose ends after graduation, he went to Oxford, played with the idea of teaching English, but mostly just played.

After returning home he put in a few lean months free-lancing, finally selling a cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post for $25. Soon after, he landed a job with Judge, a humor magazine.

His work - fantasy animals and all - led him into cartoons for the insecticide Flit. That began a 17-year association and though he was years away from being rich, he never had money troubles again. It was 1927, Geisel was 23 years old, two years out of Dartmouth and a newlywed.

He resisted being conventional and gradually developed his style of writing the story - in verse - and drawing the pictures. By 1937 he had completed "A Story That No One Can Beat," and 27 publishers turned it down. …

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