Mount Soledad, La Jolla
San Diego, California
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“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”
1927 – Theodore Seuss Geisel begins a career as a cartoonist for various publications and advertising. Having dropped out of a doctorate of philosophy in English literature, he uses the moniker Dr. Seuss.
1937 – He forays into children’s books with the publication of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Horton Hatches the Egg. The later is made into an animation movie soon after.
1941 – Seuss turns to political cartoons for newspapers. He soon works on propaganda posters for the War Production Board and Treasury Department.
In 1943, he manages an Animation Department in the United States Army Air Forces, having joined the Army as Captain. One of his animated short receives an Oscar in the Documentary feature category.
1948 – He buys an observation tower in La Jolla, San Diego, California. There, working “at the top of the world”, he slowly but surely goes back to children’s books.
One of his stories is adapted into the Academy Award-winning animated short Gerald McBoing-Boing, featuring a boy who can only communicate by sound effects.
1957 – He stumbles on an article in Life magazine joking than Dr Seuss could and should write better books for beginners than the “Dick and Jane” series, used at the time to teach children how to read… What if he actually did?
Taking the idea seriously, a friend and publisher supplies him with a list of 348 unique words that children should learn, and a challenge to use no more than 225 words for his story.
Released in March 1957, The Cat in The Hat is sold out on the first month, selling more than a million copies in 3 years and becomes the first of Seuss’ Beginner Books series.
In November 1957 Random House publishes How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Criticizing the commercialization of Christmas, illustrated and written in rhymed verses, The Grinch is aimed at older readers and launches the Big Books series.
An instant classic like The Cat in The Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been adapted in 1966 for an animated Christmas special directed by Chuck Jones, featuring the voice of Boris Karloff, of Frankenstein fame.
In 2000, Ron Howard directed a live version, featuring Jim Carrey as the titular character.
Learn more about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Dr. Seuss, Ernest Hemingway & J.D. Salinger‘s involvement in World War II on “The Pen Is Mightier: Writers At War” – available soon on the film industry and literary history digital magazines The Scribes (english) and Le Scribe (french)
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