Theodor Seuss Geisel -- better know to millions of his fans as Dr. Seuss -- was born the son of a park superintendent in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1904. After studying at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and later at Oxford University in England, he became a magazine humourist and cartoonist, and an advertising man. He soon turned his many talents to writing children's books, and his first book -- And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street -- was published in 1937. His greatest claim to fame was The Cat in the Hat, published in 1957, the first of a hugely successful range of early learning books known as Beginner Books.
CAT IN THE HAT TURNS 50! In celebration of 50 years of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat, Random House is releasing a pair of books to commemorate the occasion (see Children's Bookshelf, January 11). The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats by Philip Nell begins with the catalyst for Seuss's project, the article "Why Can't Johnny Read" in a 1954 Life magazine article. He then offers a brief biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel, before launching into a page-by-page analysis of The Cat in the Hat. Nel's commentary may center on one book, but along the way he offers a broader context of children's book publishing and education in the 1950s. The paper-over-board The Cat in the Hat Party Edition by Dr. Seuss features a glistening metallic blue cover and an opportunity for readers to participate in a campaign for literacy with First Book, as well as Project 236 (so named for the 236 words in the text of Cat), which culminates with the national read-aloud day on March 2, sponsored by the NEA's Read Across America. (Random, $30 192p ages 10-up ISBN 978-0-375-83369-4; Party Ed. $8.99 72p ages 5-8 ISBN 978-0-394-80001-1; Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.