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Book Review
"Oh, the Stories He Has Told!"
Theodor SEUSS Geisel
by Donald E. Pease
(Oxford University Press, $19.95, 178 pages)

Who among us, as child, parent, grandparent, has not delighted to the entreaties of "Sam- I-Am" as he convinces an initially resisting, but ultimately relenting adult to sample his "Green Eggs and Ham"? Here is a Dr. Seuss story that, like the others, begs to be read aloud for the sheer pleasure of its rhythms and rhymes, viewed for its comically outrageous illustrations, and understood for its madcap story line that ultimately reaches a humane and reasonable conclusion. 

Professor Donald E. Pease

In "Theodor SEUSS Geisel," Dartmouth professor Donald E. Pease examines the life of Dr. Seuss, the one-time advertising copywriter and illustrator, political cartoonist, and war-time film maker whose gifts coalesced into that of singular children's writer whose books have sold in the hundreds of millions and transformed the very act of children reading. There are other biographies on the subject, but this one goes beyond the rest in its identification and connection of points in the chronology of Theodor Geisel's life that resolved into the particular visions of Dr. Seuss. Geisel's early Springfield Massachusetts childhood as part of a socially prominent and well-to-family whose reputation became scarred by anti-German sentiment during World War I and whose fortune was radically diminished when Prohibition closed its brewery, his largely happy and fulfilling years at Dartmouth College where his comedic, writing and illustrating talents found ample outlets, his early successes in the publishing world, his growing sense of humanity in the post-war period, and the great successes of  his self-created persona: Dr. Seuss are all charted in an intriguing and arresting narrative.

 
Recipient of the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professorship in the Humanities at Dartmouth College, Dr. Pease makes use of archival materials including previously unpublished drawings which enhance a book that marries a prodigious intellect with a gift for story-telling.
 
"Theodor SEUSS Geisel" is a work of scholarship. At the same time, it explores its subject with the depth and insight one finds in literature. Through the pages of this brilliant biography, the reader becomes acquainted with Ted -- the boy, Geisel -- the man, and Dr. Seuss -- the boy in the man. In a touching explication and evocation of the themes and referents in Dr. Seuss' final book: "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" at the conclusion of this one, the whole story of child/adult/child-in-the-adult: Ted/Geisel/Seuss merges into a moving and memorable whole.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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