Monday, 2 March 2009


This Google logo appeared this morning. Old friends, indeed! These are Dr Suess (as in Mother 'Goose') characters from the 1950's onwards.
They are there because: Theodor Seuss Geisel, born 105 years ago (March 2, 1904 in USA - died 1991), was an American writer and cartoonist, most widely known for his children's books written under his pen name, Dr. Seuss.

In 1954 Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring.

Dr. Seuss responded to this challenge. His publisher made up a list of 348 words he felt were important and asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words. Nine months later (1957) he produced The Cat in the Hat. The book used 213 of the words from this list plus another 13 which did not.

This book was a tour de force. It retained the drawing style, verse rhythms and all the imaginative power of his earlier works, but because of its simplified vocabulary, could be read by beginner readers.

The instant success of the book prompted Geisel and his wife to found Beginner Books e.g. Hop on Pop, Fox in Socks. In all, he published over 60 children's books.

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