Children redezvous for a big to do about the man who made Horton hear a who

Published on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 00:00 - Written by Faith Harper,


CANTON — Erin Adams was dressed to celebrate the birthday of one of literature’s most celebrated Children’s book authors — Theodor Seuss Geisel.

The author known to the world as “Dr. Seuss” would have celebrated his 110th birthday on March 2, and the Van Zandt County Library threw him a party Monday morning, complete with a book reading, trivia and, of course, cake. Organizers said they waited until spring break for the party to ensue more children could participate.

Miss Adams, a 9-year-old third-grader at Canton Intermediate, was decked out in red-and-white-striped hat just like the one Cat in the Hat wears, a shirt featuring the famous cat and a themed sticker on her cheek. She even came prepared with a homemade cat nose and whiskers, constructed of a popsicle stick, a pom-pom and some pipe cleaners.

The short program included trivia on the famed author, who wasn’t exactly a saint. In his younger days, he was caught drinking in college during prohibition, said librarian Kitty White, dressed as Thing 1. The act prohibited him from writing at his college’s paper, but he continued writing under his mother’s maiden name Seuss.

Dr. Seuss pursued a doctorate in English but never finished it, and he served in World War II by helping to develop training films featuring trainee Private Snafu, Ms. White said.

His first book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” was published in 1937 after it was rejected 27 times. He wrote a total of 44 books in his lifetime, Ms. White said.

“Green Eggs and Ham” was written on a bet after a publisher friend said he could not write a book using only 50 words, Ms. White said.

“Cat in The Hat” was written in response to criticism that children’s books were boring, and was written with 220 new reader vocabulary words, Ms. White said.

The Grinch was modeled after Geisel himself, she said. In a 1957 interview with Redbook magazine he said, “I wrote the story about my sour friend, the Grinch, to see if I could rediscover something about Christmas that obviously I lost.”

In addition to creating infamous characters, Geisel also coined a word, Ms. White said. “If I Ran the Zoo” is the first published record of the word “nerd.”

Dr. Seuss never had any children of his own, but invented an imaginary one named Chrysanthemum-Pearl, who he liked to brag about, Ms. White said.

The children sang “Happy Birthday” in unison before cake and punch was served.