My girlfriend Stella and I share a love of all things Dr. Seuss. We love the Grinch, the Cat and the Hat, Cindy Lou Who, and Sam I Am. The Fish in the Bowl, Thing One and Thing Two, Horton the elephant and all the Whos in Whoville. We like them all, we love them, we do.
We’re not kids anymore. We’re grown ups. But who cares?
His drawings are admired by Stella, an artist in her own right. She often recreates his characters by hand. I happen to own a very close likeness of the Grinch that she gave me two Christmases ago.
I mostly enjoy the Doctor’s freewheeling use of words. One of my favorite Seuss books is the classic If I Ran the Zoo, in which young Gerald describes in amazing detail the variety of unlikely critters he’d personally round up for his dream zoo. Lions and Tigers? Rhinos and Hippos? Bor-ing. Why have the same old animals when there are Tizzle-Top-Tufted Mazurkas to be had!
By the way, Dr. Seuss invented the word ‘nerd’. Just thought you should know that.
One Christmas, Stella gave me a large book called The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss by Charles D. Cohen. The author is a dentist who devoted years to tracking down the life of Theodore Geisel and what he’d done before children’s books. (Turns out, quite a lot.) We are both still reading this comprehensive work.
We often browse second hand stores, and sure enough, Seuss is there. Recently, I found a very well maintained copy of And To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street. This was Seuss’s first book, famously rejected 27 times before finding a publisher. “Too original,” one said.
Well, I want to live on Mulberry Street. I want to walk around and see interesting things, too. I want giraffes, elephants, cops on vintage Indian motorcycles, the mayor (complete with top hat and mayor sash), brass bands, even the old guy with the long white beard. Then I won’t have to stop telling outlandish tales. Or turning minnows into whales.
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss.