• Posted on July 09, 2011

Becoming Seuss

It’s sheer coincidence that two back to back posts are picture book biographies of the early lives of famous people. Last week, it was Jane Goodall. This week, it’s Dr Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel. It’s fascinating to look back at a childhood and pluck out the experiences that in hindsight are the set pieces for an extraordinary life. This could be said of any life, famous or otherwise, but with someone like Dr Seuss, whose stories and illustrations are so idiosyncratic, so recognizably Seuss, it’s downright thrilling.

In The Boy On Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss, Kathleen Krull does a masterful job of distilling the formative experiences of the great man’s early life. Interestingly, the pictures accompanying the story are not by Seuss but by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, the husband and wife super duo responsible for some of the most beautiful picture books of all time (in my opinion), including Peach & Blue, a 32 Pages favourite. It’s a coalition of amazing talent, and even if you don’t know a Who from a Sneetch, The Boy on Fairfield Street is a witty and moving account of growing up odd in a factory-issue world.

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  • Posted on February 17, 2010


What Was I Scared Of?It may not have the cultural impact of a Cat in the Hat, or the loopy narrative line of I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew, but What Was I Scared Of is my favourite Dr Seuss book, and here’s why: it cured my viridistrouserophobia, or the fear of disembodied green pants that had plagued me since childhood.

OK, not exactly, but in this Who-sized mini-book (it was originally published as part of The Sneetches and Other Stories) What Was I Scared Of encompasses all that I love about Dr Seuss: the guileless, not quite human beasties, plants that seem strangely alert to their surroundings, whiskery black outlines, and of course, the utterly delicious Seussian wordplay. Also, the self-propelling green pants (but just in this book.)

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