Dr Suess

While yesterday brought free pancakes at IHOP, today the country is serving up green eggs and ham for breakfast.  March 2nd is Read Across America Day and also commemorates the birth and legacy of Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss!

First published in 1960, the classic Green Eggs and Ham, one of Seuss’s best known children’s story is still in publication today, and is inspiring restaurants across the nation to serve up similar renditions.

The most famous children’s book writer/illustrator of all time, Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel would have been 106 years old today and was born  on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

He published 44 children’s books, which were often characterized by imaginative characters, rhyme and frequent use of trisyllabic meter. His most celebrated books include the bestselling Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Numerous adaptations of his work have been created including eleven television specials, three feature films and a Broadway musical.

Sylvan Learning Centers across the nation are partnering with the National Education Association for NEA’s Read Across America. As part of the nationwide celebration, Sylvan Learning headquarters in Baltimore will host a milk and cookies reading event for kindergarten students from Baltimore’s Cherry Hill Elementary School. Dr. Richard Bavaria, from Sylvan Learning was a guest on Good Morning Maryland at 9:00. He talked about the event and also had great tips for parents who want to get their kids excited about reading.

Several posts around the Internet are highlighting five interesting bits of trivia about Dr. Seuss that we didn’t know.

It’s not a coincidence that Dr. Seuss rhymes Mother Goose, another epic figure in children’s literature, Geisel knew what he was doing.

Seuss used trochees or choruses which presents text in an alternating pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, “Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff,” when presenting the dialogue for the magicians in Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  Shakespeare also used the technique with his cauldron-stirring witches in Macbeth (Toil! Toil!), by Poe in his poem The Raven.

After his career as a children’s author and illustrator began, Geisel worked as an editorial cartoonist in New York during World War II, which illustrated his strong antifascism views. They were also collected in a book called Dr. Seuss Goes to War, with an introduction by Art Spiegleman. Seuss also wrote several WWII era propaganda films.

Theodore Geisel wrote children’s books under three pen names: Dr. Seuss, which was reserved for the books he both wrote and illustrated; as Theo LeSeig, for books that he wrote without illustrating, and as Rosetta Stone, for one book he wrote called Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo!

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat was born as a response to an article which was published in Life Magazine in 1954. The piece criticized American school primers as being boring and unchallenging to young readers and responsible for causing harm to children’s literacy. The article called for more primers to up the excitement by energizing the language and including drawings like those of “imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard Pyle and Theodore S. Geisel.” Using the piece as a call to action, Geisel and his publisher came up with a list of 400 “exciting” words, which Seuss then narrowed down for the book as well as including 13 more of his own. The final product was 1,626 words in length and uses a total vocabulary of 236 words.

Geisel’s books and characters are also featured in Seuss Landing, one of many islands at the Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida. In an attempt to match Geisel’s visual style, there are reportedly “no straight lines” in Seuss Landing.

Though he devoted most of his life to writing children’s books, Dr. Seuss had no children of his own. When asked about it, he would say, “You have ’em; I’ll entertain ’em.”

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