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Dr Seuss was an interesting character! He lived from 1904 to 1991, was married twice, and his books became some of the most popular children’s books of all time.
Characters like Sam I Am, the Lorax, Thing 1 and Thing 2, The Grinch and the ever-popular Cat in the Hat have been loved by generations of children. But after all this time, did you know we were pronouncing his name wrong? Read on to find out more interesting Dr Seuss facts!
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Weird and Wacky Dr Seuss Facts
#1. His surname isn’t Seuss
Dr Seuss is actually Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Ted for short.
#2. We have all been pronouncing his name wrong!
Seuss is not pronounced like most people pronounce it to rhyme with “Zeus” but instead it rhymes with “Voice” so like “Soyce”!
#3. His dad was a Brewmaster and a Zoomaster!
When Prohibition went into effect in 1920, Geisel senior became the superintendent of Forest Park in Springfield, Massachusetts looking after the park’s onsite zoo.
“That zoo is where I learned whatever I know about animals.” – Ted Geisel
#4. Dr Seuss isn’t a real doctor
He did go to Oxford, England and was planning to get a PhD in Literature. He ended up meeting his first wife and they went back to USA where he worked for a magazine and then in advertising. He added ‘Dr.’ to his pen-name because his father had always wanted him to study medicine.
#5. His first children’s book was inspired by the rhythm of a ship’s engines
He came up with his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1936 on the way to a holiday in Europe by ship.
#6. 43 publishers rejected his first book
Eventually in 1937 a friend published And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street for him, and it went on to at least moderate success.
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#7. Geisel won a Legion of Merit in WWI
Geisel joined the army during WWII, and was sent to Hollywood. Captain Geisel would write for Frank Capra’s Signal Corps Unit, for which he won the Legion of Merit.
#8. He won three Oscars!
For two documentaries (Hitler Lives and Design for Death), as well as a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing.
#9. 250 words inspired The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat came about when Geisel’s publisher asked him to come up with 250 words that a first grader could read and absorb, and write a book with them.
#10. Green Eggs and Ham was the result of a bet
Someone bet Geisel $50 he couldn’t write an entire book using only fifty words. Green Eggs and Ham was the result!
#11. The Grinch was a flop when it first came out!
It’s now one of the most popular Christmas movies for families, but at the time critics at Variety panned it.
#12. He was a big fan of hats (just like The Cat?!)
Rumour has it that at one point he had over 300 hats in his collection.
#13. One of his most cherished possessions was a real dino footprint
His dad had gifted him a fossilized dinosaur footprint, approximately 16 inches in length and and 11 inches in width. The footprint came from a Massachusetts shale pit and was estimated to be about 150 million years old. Geisel was awed by how old it was and by how big the prehistoric maker of the footprint must have been.
“It keeps me from getting conceited,” he said once. “Whenever I think I’m pretty good, I just go out and look at it.”
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Did you know any of these fun Dr Seuss facts already? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!