Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography
This captivating biography of the bestselling children's author in history reveals at last the man who had a unique influence on four generations of Americans who championed children's rights before that phrase was familiar, and who revolutionized the way children learn to read. The very name Dr. Seuss inevitably provokes a smile and some recollection of a beloved character - Horton, perhaps, or Thidwick or the Cat in the Hat. Yet during his lifetime their creator was an enigma. In his years at Dartmouth, Oxford, New York, and Hollywood, mingling with the famous and notorious, he remained reclusive and plagued by self-doubts, but never lost his love of childish playfulness. Was Ted Geisel really a genius, as his publisher Bennett Cerf believed, or, as he himself always insisted, just lucky? In forty-seven books of nonsensical charm, from And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937 to Oh, the Places You'll Go! in 1990, his recurring theme was that children had an inalienable right to mischief, love, and hope. But many librarians and teachers considered him a subversive influence when his revolutionary Cat in the Hat signaled the demise of dreary Dick-and-Jane primers. Ted Geisel was a dreamer who saw the world "through the wrong end of a telescope". In his eighty-seven years, he met seven U.S. presidents, but was more proud of the fact that he had seen Halley's Comet twice. An obsessively private man, he rarely revealed anything of his personal and professional agonies - or of the bawdy Seussian verses he wrote for friends. Judith and Neil Morgan knew Ted Geisel in the latter half of his life, and here they merge their firsthand insights with scholarly research, drawingmaterial from hundreds of letters and interviews, as well as from their subject's notes for an unpublished autobiography. They had full access to Geisel's voluminous papers, illuminating his relationship with both of his wives and providing instructive glimpses of his creative processes. The result is a frank and felicitous biography as unique as its subject.