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My daughter loves to read Dr. Seuss’s The Cat In The Hat.
That’s true of a lot of kids, I’m sure. It’s probably the one book that has achieved the widest amount saturation amongst American toddlers since its original publication in 1957, aside from perhaps Goodnight Moon.
I’ll admit I had forgotten most things about Cat in the Hat when I first picked it up to read to EV a little over two years ago. I recalled that it rhymed, that it involved a home-invading cat, and that he brought a pair of Things with him.
I dimly remembered a few other Seussian tales – The Grinch, of course; The Butter Battle Book, which arrived in the throes of my toddlerdom; and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, which is very clever. The only other Dr. Seuss book we owned was Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, which was the last book the good doctor saw published in his life. It missed me entirely as a child, as it was published in 1990 – over 40 years after Cat! Actually, I only know it all all via Lindsay, who read it at a cast party in college.
That’s another story entirely.
Of course, at this point OCD Godzilla began to emit a mighty rumbling from deep inside my bowels. “Perhaps there is an everything Seuss box set you could acquire,” he growled from my innards. I looked, and there were quite a few – some as big as 20 books! None were close to being an “everything collection,” which would include more than 50 Dr. Seuss books.
(He also published many books under his own name, Theodor Seuss Geisel, and other pseudonyms – though he did not tend to illustrate those himself.)
Thank goodness for the library. They had every Seussian tale in their catalog save for The Seven Lady Godivas, which as you can imagine has been since censored from his catalog, and his hilariously titled first book, The Pocket Book of Boners, which really sounds like it might have more to do with a present day sports star or politician than be written by Dr. Seuss.
(“Boner,” by the way, is an early 20th century North American slang word that is a synonym to “blunder,” referring to “a clumsy or stupid mistake” – effectively, something a bonehead would do.)
How did Dr. Seuss go from writing on the topic of Boners to inventing one of the world’s most famous cats to writing an inspirational masterpiece like Oh, The Places You’ll Go? I intend to find out in this special edition of “From the Beginning,” in which I read the good doctor’s entire oeuvre in order.
(Also, he was not an actual Doctor.)
I’ll start later today – not with Boners, but with Seuss’s first book for children, And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Then, each week I’ll examine another Seussian tale. That’s a whole year of Seuss(!), unless you all love this feature so much that you want me to write it even more often.
Here’s the full reading list:
- The Pocket Book of Boners (1931) – Essentially a joke book; not usually counted with Dr. Seuss’s children’s books
- And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937)
- The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938)
- The Seven Lady Godivas (1939) – While not “adult material,” due to the nudity this book hasn’t been reprinted with Seuss’s other works.
- Horton Hatches the Egg (1940)
- McElligot’s Pool (1947)
- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose (1948)
- Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949)
- If I Ran the Zoo (1950)
- Gerald McBoing Boing (1952) – Based on an Oscar-winning film; not illustrated by Seuss!
- Scrambled Eggs Super! (1953)
- Horton Hears a Who! (1954)
- On Beyond Zebra! (1955)
- If I Ran the Circus (1956)
- The Cat in the Hat (1957)
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957 )
- The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (1958)
- Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (1958)
- Happy Birthday to You! (1959)
- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960)
- Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
- The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961)
- Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book (1962)
- Hop on Pop (1963)
- Fox in Socks (1965)
- I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew (1965)
- The Cat in the Hat Song Book (1967) – Not a narrative kid’s book, but a collection of sheet music!
- The Foot Book (1968)
- I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! and Other Stories (1969)
- My Book about ME (1969) – Co-written and co-illustrated by Roy McKie.
- I Can Draw It Myself (1970)
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises! (1970)
- The Lorax (1971)
- Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! (1972)
- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1973)
- The Shape of Me and Other Stuff (1973)
- There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! (1974)
- Great Day for Up! (1974)
- Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! (1975)
- The Cat’s Quizzer (1976)
- I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! (1978)
- Oh Say Can You Say? (1979)
- Hunches in Bunches (1982)
- The Butter Battle Book (1984)
- You’re Only Old Once! (1986)
- I Am NOT Going to Get Up Today! (1987)
- The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough (1987) – Collection of early work
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990)
Plus, Seuss has a number of post-humous works:
- Daisy-Head Mayzie (1995 & 2016) – Originally not drawn by Seuss, but re-issued with his illustrations in 2016.
- My Many Colored Days (1996) – Written in 1973 and later illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
- Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go! (1997) – Adapted from other Dr. Seuss books
- Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! (1998) – Completed by author Jack Prelutsky and illustrator Lane Smith.
- The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) – Collects stories featured in Redbook magazine from 1948 to 1959
- Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories (2014) – Further Redbook stories from 1950 to 1955
- What Pet Should I Get? (2015) – Written between 1958-1962 and later discovered by Seuss’s wife, Audrey Geisel.