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Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  887 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Horton, Thidwick, Yertle, the Lorax, the Grinch, Sneetches, and the Cat in the Hat are just a handful of the bizarre and beloved characters Theodor S. Geisel (1904–1991), alias Dr. Seuss, created in his forty-seven children's books, from 1937's And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street to 1990's Oh, the Places You'll Go! During his lifetime Dr. Seuss was honored with n ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 22nd 1996 by Da Capo Press (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

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Leandra Cate
Oct 01, 2013 Leandra Cate rated it it was ok
I certainly enjoyed the historical background for Seuss's work and some of the biographical information (particularly childhood to early career years) was interesting. My favorite part was the story of the writing of Cat in the Hat and the founding of Beginner Books. However, the way the subject matter is handled, where details are included or omitted - to me, this book is an excellent example of biography done badly. The authors seem to have been good friends of the subject and that shows. Ther ...more
Sam Kellar-long
Jan 26, 2016 Sam Kellar-long rated it really liked it
This book is for all the old fuddy-duddies who hate Dr. Seuss and prefer Dick, Jane and Spot. It talks about some stupid things that he's done, but it also talks about the points that he was trying to prove through his books. It's not all nonsense. I like this book, because it's not the stereotypical, dull autobiography. It was written by 2 of his close friends, which probably gave the book more information, but they may have left out some truly bad details about his life. Over all, this book is ...more
Mar 31, 2008 jill rated it it was amazing
I love Dr. Seuss. I can recite How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by heart. I don't understand how anyone can not love Dr. Seuss.
But if you don't, read this biography, and you will.
The authors are journalists from his adopted hometown of La Jolla, CA, and it is clear that they love not only his work, but the man himself. Their biography doesn't ignore his flaws, but it doesn't dwell on them either. Without getting into details, the handling of his first wife is great. If I were ever to write a biog
May 16, 2008 Lani rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lani by: jill
I can agree with some criticism about this book being a little fluffy - it is written by friends of Dr Seuss and his family. However, I appreciate that they don't shy away from his troubles, nor do they revel in digging up dirt on a beloved author.

I had no idea about his fairly scandalous second marriage, or his first wife's death. But the entire situation is handled gracefully and without too much tittering.

Mostly I just loved this book for the way it opened up this person I had never thought m
Oct 06, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I loved learning more about Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) and the background surrounding his books. He changed the way that children learn to read. He was very particular about how each book was published from start to finish. I am impressed with his down-to-earth personality. Of course, he began writing/drawing as a way to earn money, but he didn't continue soley for that purpose. He did it because it made him happy and he liked helping children. He ended up being very rich, but lived simply ...more
Maryann Jorissen
Feb 08, 2015 Maryann Jorissen rated it it was ok
The first part of the book describing Geisel's early years were interesting. But I was disappointed in the rest. Most notable of the disappointments was how the authors brushed over the death of Ted's first wife. Clearly the authors knew that this life event could tarnish Geisel's public image. But by barely touching on the subject, the authors only made it look worse.
I try not to read biographies that are written by family and friends. I was reminded again, as I read this book, that I should h
Ann Schaffer
Mar 05, 2014 Ann Schaffer rated it really liked it
To sum it up, Dr. Seuss is a smarter version of Forrest Gump. Starting at a very young age, he happens to meet or come into contact with numerous famous people, including seven presidents of the United States, in unrelated, often unexpected situations. Yet he did not get pulled into the fast lane and preferred a quiet life working in his tower. In places, the book fell into a name-dropping game, but you'll be able to skim through those sections.

This biography is a thorough look at the life of a
Maggie Bourdeau
Aug 11, 2015 Maggie Bourdeau rated it really liked it
Three friends and I, during the summer months, do what we call a "DTBC" which is a Day Trip BookClub. During the months of June-September we each pick a month. We choose a book to read and try very hard to link it to a place we visit. I chose Dr. Seuss's bio because I wanted to learn more about the man. We all live in upstate NY so our trips are usually in the NY, western Massachusetts, southern Vermont areas. Our trip is tomorrow. We will visit Springfield, Massachusetts. We will tour the Dr. S ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Noreen rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Sweet biography of Theodore Geisel, and quite a contrast to artist, Edward Curtis the photographer. Ted,born in 1904 grew up the son of a german brewer in a German community in CT. He went to college at Dartmouth, where Norman Maclean a sophomore helped him get his first lines published. Maclean became the editor of the Dartmouth paper with Geisel. Maclean would start an article with one line and turn the rest over to Geisel. He went to Oxford with mediocre grades, and met Helen, another America ...more
Rachel Rogers
May 13, 2016 Rachel Rogers rated it liked it
Fascinating examination of the life of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Got a bit deep in name-dropping, and the early years were rather tedious. Important to trace a person's early years but not nearly as interesting as when they started doing what they are known for. I learned quite a bit about him I didn't know, including the allegories within some of his works (thus far unread by yours truly). He excoriated US and specifically isolationists like Charles Lindbergh at the onset of WWII (US invol ...more
Dec 07, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it
This is a great look into Dr. Seuss's life. It tells the story of his personal life within an interesting structure based on his career track. It's wonderful in all the ways you'd expect. It's great.

For me, it only has two relevant shortcomings. One is simply a problem that might come up in any biography: Not every period of anyone's life is all that exciting. I think the book does as good a job as you could. It foreshadows well, and it handles the pacing as well as you can without feeling like
Jan 14, 2013 Caitlin rated it it was amazing
A true Seussian delight! Funny and informative, this was a wonderfully written biography.

Now, I grew up having Dr. Seuss books read to me and they were some of the first books that I used as I was learning to read. So for me, as I’m sure it is for countless others, Dr. Seuss has a very special place in my life and heart.

It was wonderful to discover the life of this man whose work holds such a seminal place in my life. Getting to know him and his life shed all kinds of light on to how he create
Mar 22, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Suess emerges as a completely fascinating person in this book. His life and acheivements were remarkable and the way he lived was intriguing. It seems that fate meant for there to be a Dr. Seuss to help kids to read and an incredibly odd set of happenstance and luck got him to where he was--to say nothing of his actual talent with words and pictures. The prose of the book at times didn't resonate with me but the events described were amazing. I really had a hard time picturing Dr. Suess inte ...more
Mar 22, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Dr. Suess emerges as a fascinating person in this book. It seems that fate wanted us to have a Dr. Suess considering the amount of luck, unlikely happenstance and good fortune that got him to where he was--to say nothing of his talent with words and pictures. The prose of this book wasn't overly impressive as far as the writing goes but the events described were incredible. I had a really hard time envisioning Dr. Suess with some of the interactions he had. It's not easy to picture the guy who w ...more
Amanda Gayle Reed
Apr 03, 2012 Amanda Gayle Reed rated it it was amazing
I am one of those people who learned to read with Dr. Seuss books, nurtured by parents who also learned to read with Dr. Seuss... and am now teaching a new generation to read with those same, old, tattered books that have been handed down since the 50s. And, as an adult, I am still a die-hard fan--and I am one of those people guilty of writing theses on the Good Doctor in college and graduate school (although he had died long before I reached that stage in life, so I couldn't be presumptuous eno ...more
I just stumbled on this one at the library, and thought, wow, 'who wouldn't want to read more about the genius of Dr. Seuss? That's got to be a fun book.' It was fun, but it wasn't as much fun as it could have been.

I definitely learned a lot about Ted Geisel, about his childhood, his education, his courtship and marriage, and then his early career. Lots of good stuff in here about his friendship with Bennett Cerf and his work for the Army during World War II. He didn't fully commit to children's
Aug 13, 2015 Laury rated it it was amazing
A biography that stands out because its brimming with the life of a man who stood out.

My favorite quote of his: Sometimes you will never
Know the value of a
Moment, until it becomes
A memory.

If you are a fan of Dr. Seuss', his biography will enhance your feelings about him. If you don't generally give him a second's thought, this biography will bring you a new found respect of the man.
Feb 19, 2014 Analee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The biography was if nothing else. . . thorough. I had a hard time getting through it and found at some point that I was just trying to get to the end. So it was a bit long winded. Amazing though, that they had so much documentation of his life.

His humor was classic! I was amazed at all the recognizable "friends" and acquaintances that he had. He was so widely known and popular and yet was somewhat anti social. He was extremely well traveled and educated. He stuck to his standards, even if it wa
Dec 09, 2010 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A fascinating look at the man behind so many of our childhood tales. Though a household name in countries across the globe, few can attest to anything more than the titles of his works, including the man's real name!

Theodore Geisel was was first and foremost an artist. Of both language and visual media. He was secondly a brilliant political commentator.

This biography is incredibly inclusive, chronicling the entire life of this literary champion from Mulberry Street to the hills of La Jolla and a
Dec 31, 2011 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Loved this. I'm a huge Seuss fan -- even when I was in my 20s, neither a kid nor a parent, I read him. I had a job I hated, and it was across the street from a Borders, so some times I would sneak over to their kids' section during my lunch break, and sit beneath the starry-sky-painted ceiling, and read Seuss books. And now that I have two kids, we are deep in the Seussian universe. I've been meaning to pick up this bio for years, and finally got to it last week in this season of the Grinch. He ...more
Jan 16, 2014 Adrianna rated it it was amazing
I love that this book offers not only a look at its very private subject's very guarded past, but also shares insight into his thinking and creative processes that is invaluable to the collective assumed philosophies we as a culture share regarding reading, learning, and art. Ted's innovative methods and creative genius, which may have gone unheralded but for a chance encounter with an old schoolmate, ushered the world into a new age of thought regarding reading and learning, and fostered the ap ...more
Valerie Bates
Feb 03, 2014 Valerie Bates rated it liked it
I enjoyed getting some background on one of my favorite authors from my childhood. The writing was a bit disjointed at times however reading about how some of the stories came together made up for those shortcomings. I read this when it was first released and am now adding it to my list of books to re-read when I have some time.
I read this book several years ago, so please forgive this rather generic (as in: not many details) review. It'd probably be better as a private note, but I'll leave it as a review (for now, at least)...

As I recall, this biography was wonderfully done and very informative on an author that wrote many favorite books from my childhood. It was also depressing, as he did not have the happiest of lives. His failed inventions, his health, his first wife's health, her suicide, etc. I learned some surpr
Feb 08, 2014 Brooke rated it really liked it
The only reason I can't give this book 5 stars is because of the first 5 chapters and a couple in the middle that I had to skip because of boredom.

The book is a classic and a must read for any author and children's worker. It shines light on the success of one of the most successful author around, Dr Seuss. It wasn't about work but rather about love and fun. I feel inspired and excited about writing and influencing children just the way he did.

I'm glad I pushed through (skipped through) the ha
Mar 02, 2015 Virginia rated it really liked it
This written like a typical biography . . . this happened then this happened, but I learned a lot about Geisel's writing process and why all the Beginner Books look like a Dr. Seuss book.
Feb 11, 2009 Vince rated it really liked it
Very good book. There is so much ground to cover. Everything from his personal life, his wife's illness and subsequent suicide, his travel's through Europe, Cornell, Oxford, redefining what is children's literature on many different levels, his political cartoons and his work during WW2. Who would have thought he was at the Battle Of The Bulge. Not I. I think the author's ducked some personal issues in his life but that's Okay when you're trying to write something positive about someone who acco ...more
Allison Dunlap
Feb 26, 2015 Allison Dunlap rated it it was amazing
I did read this in my bed and I did read this eating bread. And at my job, and on the train, I love this man with all my brain!
Jan 20, 2016 Higgy rated it it was amazing
Just the way a biography should be: chronological, factual, and biased slightly towards the person the book is about.
Jun 05, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing
I, like millions of others, learned to read with the "Cat in the Hat" books. This autobiography of Theodor Geisel, is a well written book, & there was alot of information in it, that I didn't know. I didn't know he had a first wife, Helen....I had only ever read about Audrey. I knew he didn't have kids, but didn't know why.....Helen couldn't have kids & by the time he married Audrey, she had daughters of her own. It's hard to describe the man who became "Dr. Seuss", but this book does a ...more
Feb 26, 2016 Melissa rated it liked it
3.5 stars - Read this for a project at work. Pretty good book about a very interesting man!
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