Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones


Info

English | ePUB | 12.5 MiB

Author

Brian Jay Jones is the award-winning, bestselling biographer of some of the world’s most iconic creative geniuses, from American writer Washington Irving and Muppet master Jim Henson, to Star Wars creator George Lucas and children’s writer/artist Dr. Seuss.

Brian’s biography of Jim Henson won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Biography of 2013, an honor he still appreciates every day.

A note from Brian: “I’ve taken a somewhat different tact with this site, starting with a ‘day one’ approach where l’ve added books as I purchased and read them, rather than trying to recreate my entire library (apart from a few favorite biographies that I can’t resist sticking on the shelf).”

Books

The definitive, fascinating, all-reaching biography of Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss is a classic American icon. Whimsical and wonderful, his work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. The silly, simple rhymes are a bottomless well of magic, his illustrations timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh. The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Horton, and so many more are his troupe of beloved and uniquely Seussian creations.

Theodor Geisel, however, had a second, more radical side. It is there that the allure and fascination of his Dr. Seuss alter ego begins. He had a successful career as an advertising man and then as a political cartoonist, his personal convictions appearing, not always subtly, throughout his books – remember the environmentalist of The Lorax? Geisel was a complicated man on an important mission. He introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well.

Agonizing over word choices and rhymes, touching up drawings sometimes for years, he upheld a rigorous standard of perfection for his work. Geisel took his responsibility as a writer for children seriously, talking down to no reader, no matter how small. And with classics like Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Geisel delighted them while they learned. Suddenly, reading became fun.

Coming right of the heels of George Lucas and best-selling Jim Henson, Brian Jay Jones is quickly developing a reputation as a master biographer of the creative geniuses of our time.

Review

Linden: I have always enjoyed Dr. Seuss’s books, especially The Lorax, but the man himself is an enigma. I found his wartime service, when he was recruited by none other than Frank Capra, to make military films, fascinating. I was kind of bored reading about his privileged college years, and was disturbed to learn that his first wife of many years committed suicide; he married the much-younger woman with whom he’d been having an affair shortly after. Personal judgments aside, this is a well written chronicle of a multi-faceted American icon.

Diane S: A good biography gives us a good sense of what made the man and who he was, who he became. This book certainly did that. Reading about his youth it is easy to see Dr. Seuss in the young Theodor Geisel. A practical joker from the get go, he would learn as he went, in college writing for the humor magazine and Dartmouth. His career path was far from straightforward, continually changing. Writing for advertisers, magazines, it wouldn’t be until much later before he found a publisher for his children’s books. Some of his published jokes were misogynistic, bigoted by our view now, but it was acceptable at the time. He would later regret this period in his life.

We find out much about his personal and professional life. I thought his college escapades went on to long, a few other parts too, that period of time certainly showed us his early path to becoming Dr. Seuss. I was surprised to learn that this man whose books have made such an impression on generations, never had children of his own. He was happy that he could make reading fun, and he certainly did that.

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