We all know The Cat in the Hat and Sam I Am ... but did you know the REAL story behind some of these best-known children's books? The answer will surprise you!
Theodore Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, would have been 105 today. Geisel published over 60 children's books, including classics like "Green Eggs and Ham," "The Cat in the Hat," and "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish." While it may be hard to see any symbolism behind memorable phrases like, "I do not like you, Sam I Am," Geisel's books reflected many political and social issues.
1) In case you haven't read "The Lorax," it's widely recognized as Dr. Seuss' take on environmentalism and how humans are destroying nature. Loggers were so upset about the book that some groups within the industry sponsored "The Truax," a similar book -- but from the logging point of view.
Another interesting fact: the book used to contain the line, "I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie," but 14 years after the book was published, the Ohio Sea Grant Program wrote to Seuss creator Theodore Geisel, and told him how much the conditions had improved and implored him to take the line out. Geisel agreed and said that it wouldn't be in future editions.
2) "The Cat in the Hat" was written because Dr. Seuss thought the famous Dick and Jane primers were insanely boring. Because kids weren't interested in the material, they weren't exactly compelled to use it repeatedly in their efforts to learn to read. So, "The Cat in the Hat" was born.
3) "Yertle the Turtle" = Hitler? Yep. If you haven't read the story, here's a little overview: Yertle is the king of the pond, but he wants more. He demands that other turtles stack themselves up so he can sit on top of them to survey the land. Mack, the turtle at the bottom, is exhausted. He asks Yertle for a rest; Yertle ignores him and demands more turtles for a better view.
4) It's often alleged that "Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!" was written specifically about Richard Nixon, but the book came out only two months after the whole Watergate scandal. It's unlikely that the book could have been conceived of, written, edited and mass produced in such a short time.
Also, Seuss never admitted that the story was originally about Nixon. That's not to say he didn't understand how well the two flowed together. In 1974, he sent a copy of Marvin K. Mooney to his friend Art Buchwald at the Washington Post. In it, he crossed out "Marvin K. Mooney" and replaced it with "Richard M. Nixon," which Buchwald reprinted in its entirety.