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Dr. Seuss is the penname used by Theodor Seuss Geisel [March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991), an American writer, cartoonist, animator, book publisher, film producer and artist but is most well-known for writing over 50 children’s books. Some of these books went on to become the most popular books for kids of all time, translated to over 20 languages and sold more than 600 million copies by the time of his death.
The annual date of the National Read Across America Day falls on his birthday, March 2, the National Education Association’s initiative to encourage reading among kids. For more facts on Dr Seuss read the fact file below or download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
More Fact & Information about Dr. Seuss
- Aside from Dr. Seuss, Theodor Geisel had other pennames — Theo LeSieg, Theophrastus Seuss and Rosetta Stone. Of course, his most famous works were written as Dr. Seuss.
- Seuss was Theodor’s middle name. He started using his mother’s maiden name in college when he had to step down as the editor of Dartmouth’s humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern, after getting caught with gin in his dorm room. To be able to continue working in that said magazine, he used pennames and one of them was Seuss [the others were L. Burbank and l. Pasteur].
- The Dr. in his “Dr. Seuss” penname wasn’t real either. He just placed it there in honor of his father dream for him — to become a doctor. It was just justified in 1956 when his Alma Mater, Dartmouth, granted him a doctorate as an honorary degree.
- Seuss was supposed to be pronounced rhyming with “voice” contrary to the more popular pronunciation that has it rhyming with “goose”. Later on, however, Theodor gave in to the popular pronunciation of his penname partly because according to him, it was advantageous for a children’s books writer like him to be associated with Mother Goose.
- Dr. Seuss was an exceptionally good artist despite not having any formal education on art. From the more than 60 books he wrote in his lifetime, 44 of these he illustrated himself. Those he wrote but were illustrated by other artists, he used the penname Theo LeSieg, a play on his surname [there are more than a dozen in this category]. He also published one book using the penname Rosetta Stone — Because a Little Bug went Ka-choo! In 1975. He collaborated with Michael K. Frith for the said book. Rosetta Stone was in honor of his second wife, Audrey, whose maiden name was Stone.
- Geisel wasn’t really a writer by profession. When he left Lincoln College, Oxford in 1927 [a good 20 years before his first children’s book got published], he went on to become an illustrator/cartoonist for several publications and magazines as well as in advertising campaigns.
- Dr. Seuss’ first book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was inspired from the rhythm of the ship’s engine he and his wife were on board in in 1936 from their trip in Europe. But before its success, it got rejected by more than 20 publishers first. According to the good author, he was already headed home to burn the book’s manuscript when he chanced an encounter with a Dartmouth classmate who was a new editor at Vanguard Press that time. This encounter led to his first book being published by the Vanguard Press. Upon its release, And to Think . . . was critically acclaimed. However, sales were slow. To date, Dr. Seuss’ first book isn’t one of his bestsellers.
- While Dr. Seuss is famous for his lyrical and rhythmic writing, there were four books he wrote in plain prose. These were The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938), The King’s Stilts (1939), The Seven Lady Godivas (1939) and Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949).
- The Seven Lady Godivas  was one of the two adult books he wrote. The Seven Lady, in particular, was based on the well-known Lady Godiva story complete with nude illustrations of its main characters. The other adult book he wrote, You’re Only Old Once , was written based on his experiences visiting a lot of doctors because of his advancing age.
- Dr. Seuss was a WWII veteran. Theodor was already 38 years old when he joined the US Army and became part of the Signal Corps unit headed by the award-winning director Frank Capra. One of Geisel’s contributions to the war effort was writing rhythmic scripts for the humorous instructional shorts titled Private Snafu which was aimed to educate new recruits by showing the things that would happen if they wouldn’t follow orders, dodge censure, etc.
- After a three-year stint in the army, Geisel was given the Legion of Merit award for his “exceptionally meritorious service in planning and producing films, particularly those utilizing animated cartoons, for training, informing, and enhancing the morale of the troops”.
- Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat in response to criticisms and observations that the Dick and Jane reading primers were boring and were not much of an encouragement for kids to love reading. In response, William Ellsworth Spaulding of Houghton Mifflin’s educational division compiled a list of 348 words that he believed first-graders should learn and challenged Dr. Seuss to write a book using these words, a book that “children can’t put down”. 9 months [or some accounts say 18 months] later, in 1957, Geisel presented him with one using 236 of the 348 words Spaulding sent the author — The Cat in the Hat.
- According to Geisel, writing the book was a great challenge. He went on to say that the main character of the story, its title bearer, was based on the first two words he saw on the list that rhymed, cat and hat. The book was a success selling over 400,000 copies and translated to several languages including Braille. It cemented Dr. Seuss’ reputation as an acclaimed children’s books writer.
- Another book Dr. Seuss wrote on a bet was the Green Eggs and Ham. Bennett Cerf, his publisher, had said that he [Dr. Seuss] couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. The writer proceeded to do so. The resulting book went on to become the fourth bestselling English children’s book of all time in 2001.
- The 50 words Dr. Seuss used in the Green Eggs and Ham were:
a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
- Dr. Seuss also coined the word “nerd’. The word first appeared in his book If I Ran the Zoo in 1950.
- Despite writing numerous books for children, Dr. Seuss didn’t have any of his own. He wasn’t so fond of little kids. At one time, he was quoted saying about them — “You have ‘em, I’ll amuse ‘em.”
- According to his second wife and widow, Audrey, Dr. Seuss was afraid of kids.
- In his lifetime, Dr. Seuss received 7 awards: two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Pulitzer Price, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and a Peabody Award.
- One award was also named after him — the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. This said award is given annually to “the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year”. It was established by the US children’s librarians in 2004.
- Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote several of his children’s books addressing underlying political and moral themes some of which were controversial in those days.
- The Lorax – was about environmental conservationism and activism
- Yertle the Turtle – pertained to Hitler’s rise to power
- The Sneetches – racism and discrimination, topics controversial even up to this day
- The Butter Battle Book – the arms race
- Horton Hears a Who – anti-isolationism, about Japan after WWII
- Dr. Seuss died at the age of 87 [September 24, 1991].
Dr. Seuss Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Dr. Seuss Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Theodor Seuss Geisel who is an American writer, cartoonist, animator, book publisher, film producer and artist but is most well-known for writing over 50 children’s books.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Dr. Seuss Facts
- The Real Dr. Seuss
- Dr. Seuss Timeline
- The Book Box
- Words of Wisdom
- Other Famous Authors
- Who’s the Character
- 50 Words
- The Lorax
- Let’s Read!
- Write a Rhyme
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Link will appear as Dr. Seuss Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 24, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.