It was a challenge to write a biographical book about Dr. Seuss. Biographers search for facts about their subjects. In interviews, Dr. Seuss delighted in mixing fact and fiction. When a reporter would ask him a serious question, Dr. Seuss, as often as not, would respond with a completely outlandish story. But an entertaining story. Like the Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss was an irrepressible entertainer.
When asked about the process of writing The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss made up a number of tales. For example, he once told a reporter from the Chicago Tribune newspaper that he had wanted to write about a jungle tiger. His editor liked the idea, said Dr. Seuss, but insisted that he change the word ‘jungle’ to ‘house’, and the word ‘tiger’ to ‘cat’.
What’s a biographer to do? In the spirit of Dr. Seuss, I included at least one fairly believable, tall-ish tale of his in the book (look for the words ‘queen’ and ‘zebra’)
Note: During January, February and March, I plan to about some of the interesting bits and pieces of Seussiana that I didn’t have room for in my book, Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote ‘The Cat in the Hat.’ You can email questions here:
I am an author and folklorist based in Portland, Oregon.
The Great Dictionary Caper, illustrated by Eric Comstock (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster, 2018)
**Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.
Wild About Books, illustrated by Marc Brown. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2004). New York Times Bestseller, ALA Notable Book, and winner of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award.
Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote 'The Cat in the Hat"
(Random House, 2017). Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
*Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly and Kirkus.