Happy Birthday to my first favorite author, and still tops in my book, Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA the wonderous Dr. Seuss. He would've been 106 today.
My first memory of reading Dr. Seuss is, as is with many others, Green Eggs and Ham. I had many, many favorites over the years, from If I Ran the Circus to And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street to characters like Horton, The Grinch, The Cat, Yertle and more. I also love his collaborations with Chuck Jones and the animated specials that resulted including the annual must see How the Grinch Stole Christmas! : a perfect storm where Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, Thurl Ravenscroft and Boris Karloff met for one perfect show- it doesn't get any better than that.
I've enjoyed several biographies and collected works over the years, and they still adorn my shelves along with several Seussian tomes. Several excellent works that I would recommend for those interested would be:
The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Charles Cohen. Probably one of my favorites and one of the best recent biographies out there; a visual feast, as a biography of the man should be.
Dr. Seuss Goes to War: World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Richard H. Minear. A different look at Dr. Seuss tackling the War and other political subjects with his traditional wit and satire.
Dr. Seuss And Mr. Geisel by Judith and Neil Morgan. An excellent all purpose biography written by two journalists who knew Geisel well.
Dr. Seuss: American Icon by Philip Nel. This is more for those interested in an examination of Geisel's work and influence in American culture. Very good and highly recommended.
Also here is an interesting website examining the advertising artwork of Geisel - it's an online exhibit from the Dr. Seuss Collection, housed at the Mandeville Special Collections Library at the University of California, San Diego.
And just for funsies- here is the animated version of Green Eggs and Ham:
If you have elementary school-age children, chances are they will be read to from one of Dr. Seuss's many books today for Read Across America Day. You won't catch me linking to much at the NEA, but in this case, I think it's a great thing. I think it's an even better thing if you do the same at home. Children can gain a life-long love of reading from simply having books in the home and parents who are willing to read to them and encourage them to read on their own. You can also guide your child (or inner child) to Random House Publishing's Seussville- a website of Seussian wonder full of information, activities and games- and ways to encourage your little ones to read. Take a page from Dr. Seuss- if you read, oh, the places you will go. Thank you, Mr. Geisel, for taking us on many journeys into imaginative places.
I would not, could not, in a box.