Saturday Evening Post, which prompted him to pack his bags and move to New York where he ended up spending several years in advertising. His first book, ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’, was finally published in 1937 after being rejected no less than 27 times! It was with that book that Ted coined the pen name of Dr. Seuss and he went on to publish four more children’s books before the U.S. entered World War II. When the war erupted, his work became increasingly politically and socially charged, and he found an eager audience among some of the days most popular periodicals. In 1942, too old for the World War II draft, Ted served with Frank Capra’s Signal Corps, making animated training films and drawing propaganda posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board. Needless to say, his career as a children’s book writer was put on hold. After the war, Ted and his wife moved to La Jolla, California where he returned to writing children’s books, including such favorites as If I Ran the Zoo, Gerald McBoing Boing and Horton Hears a Who. His mainstream breakthrough came from a project he did for William Ellsworth Spaulding, however, who was at the time the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin. In May 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. The article prompted Spaulding to recruit Ted to write a book using the 250 words he felt were most important for first-graders to recognize. Incorporating 236 of Spaulding’s words, Ted produced The Cat in the Hat. It retained the drawing style, verse rhythms, and all the imaginative power of Geisel’s earlier works but, because of its simplified vocabulary, it could be read by beginning readers. His zany characters, fantastical places and magical use of words have endeared him to children the world over for generations now. When explaining the “logical insanity” of his work, Ted said in an interview, “If I start with a two-headed animal, I must never waiver from that concept. There must be two hats in the closet, two toothbrushes in the bathroom, and two sets of spectacles on the night table. Dr. Seuss went on to win two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize. He also has a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame. Ted Geisel died of oral cancer at his La Jolla, California home in 1991. He had no children, saying “You have ’em; I’ll entertain ’em.”
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