If I Ran the Zoo

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Overview

Illus. in color. "Young Gerald McGrew thinks of all sorts of unusual animals he'd have in a zoo. Dr. Seuss at his best."—Horn Book.
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Overview

Illus. in color. "Young Gerald McGrew thinks of all sorts of unusual animals he'd have in a zoo. Dr. Seuss at his best."—Horn Book.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394800813
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/1950
  • Series: Classic Seuss Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 100,263
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.06 (w) x 11.35 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904.  After attending Dartmouth College and Oxford University, he began a career in advertising.  His advertising cartoons, featuring Quick, Henry, the Flit!,  appeared in several leading American magazines.
Dr. Seuss's first children's book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, hit the market in 1937, and the world of children's literature was changed forever!
In 1957, Seuss's The Cat in the Hat became the prototype for one of Random House's best- selling series, Beginner Books.  This popular series combined engaging stories with outrageous illustrations and playful sounds to teach basic reading skills.
Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents.  In the process, he helped kids learn to read.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Seuss was the author and illustrator of 44 children's books, some of which have been made into audiocassettes, animated television specials, and videos for children of all ages.  Even after his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss continues to be the best-selling author of children's books in the world.  

Biography

Now that generations of readers have been reared on The Cat in the Hat and Fox in Socks, it's easy to forget how colorless most children's books were before Dr. Seuss reinvented the genre. When the editorial cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1936, the book was turned down by 27 publishers, many of whom said it was "too different." Geisel was about to burn his manuscript when it was rescued and published, under the pen name Dr. Seuss, by a college classmate.

Over the next two decades, Geisel concocted such delightfully loopy tales as The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Horton Hears a Who. Most of his books earned excellent reviews, and three received Caldecott Honor Awards. But it was the 1957 publication of The Cat in the Hat that catapulted Geisel to celebrity.

Rudolf Flesch's book Why Johnny Can't Read, along with a related Life magazine article, had recently charged that children's primers were too pallid and bland to inspire an interest in reading. The Cat in the Hat, written with 220 words from a first-grade vocabulary list, "worked like a karate chop on the weary little world of Dick, Jane and Spot," as Ellen Goodman wrote in The Detroit Free Press. With its vivid illustrations, rhyming text and topsy-turvy plot, Geisel's book for beginning readers was anything but bland. It sold nearly a million copies within three years.

Geisel was named president of Beginner Books, a new venture of Random House, where he worked with writers and artists like P.D. Eastman, Michael Frith, Al Perkins, and Roy McKie, some of whom collaborated with him on book projects. For books he wrote but didn't illustrate, Geisel used the pen name Theo LeSieg (LeSieg is Geisel spelled backwards).

As Dr. Seuss, he continued to write bestsellers. Some, like Green Eggs and Ham and the tongue-twisting Fox in Socks, were aimed at beginning readers. Others could be read by older children or read aloud by parents, who were often as captivated as their kids by Geisel's wit and imagination. Geisel's visual style appealed to television and film directors, too: The animator Chuck Jones, who had worked with Geisel on a series of Army training films, brought How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to life as a hugely popular animated TV special in 1966. A live-action movie starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch was released in 2000.

Many Dr. Seuss stories have serious undertones: The Butter Battle Book, for example, parodies the nuclear arms race. But whether he was teaching vocabulary words or values, Geisel never wrote plodding lesson books. All his stories are animated by a lively sense of visual and verbal play. At the time of his death in 1991, his books had sold more than 200 million copies. Bennett Cerf, Geisel's publisher, liked to say that of all the distinguished authors he had worked with, only one was a genius: Dr. Seuss.

Good To Know

The Cat in the Hat was written at the urging of editor William Spaulding, who insisted that a book for first-graders should have no more than 225 words. Later, Bennett Cerf bet Geisel $50 that he couldn't write a book with just 50 words. Geisel won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, though to his recollection, Cerf never paid him the $50.

Geisel faced another challenge in 1974, when his friend Art Buchwald dared him to write a political book. Geisel picked up a copy of Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! and a pen, crossed out each mention of the name "Marvin K. Mooney," and replaced it with "Richard M. Nixon." Buchwald reprinted the results in his syndicated column. Nine days later, President Nixon announced his resignation.

The American Heritage Dictionary says the word "nerd" first appeared in print in the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo: "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo / And bring back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo / A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!" The word "grinch," after the title character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is defined in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as a killjoy or spoilsport.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Theodor Seuss Geisel (full name); also: Theo LeSieg, Rosetta Stone
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      September 4, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      La Jolla, California

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2012

    Your children will enjoy this

    I gave this to my 7 year old granddaughter for Christmas with a Beany Baby lion attached to the book and she loved it. Dr. Seuss books are always excellent for children no matter the story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Dr. Seuss once more ignites childhood ponderings.

    Dr. Seuss once more ignites childhood ponderings.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    My son loves this book when we get it from the library and now he has his own copy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Highly Recommended - classic rhyming wonderful Seuss

    All those wonderful strange names, all those amazing illustrations and made-up animals and vehicles... it's terrific, old school Seuss. We bought it as a gift for our 9-year old daughter who loves Seuss; it's challenging and tongue-twisting for reading aloud and completely entertaining!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2011

    Imaginative-fun for kids

    The drawings are fascinating and my grandson loves the names. Dr Seuss uses the word "Nerd" in 1950...a man ahead of his time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2010

    A Dr. Seuss classic ... ready to be read and reread.

    Seems you almost can't go wrong with Dr. Seuss and children.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Classic Dr.Seuss

    Just a hoot, as are most of Dr. Seuss' books for the younger set. Great for read-alouds to one or more kiddies and FUN for the reader, too!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2007

    As Dr. Seuss inspires us all...

    Dr. Seuss used to say ¿A person¿s a person, no matter how small. Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.¿ Dr. Seuss was created by Theodor Geisel in 1954. Life, the magazine, had published a report of illiterate children in the school system. They suggested children were having trouble reading because the books were boring, so they did not want to read them. Theodor¿s publisher urged him to send in an essay to explain what words he thought were important for children to learn. Then Theodor used these words to create a children¿s book called The Cat in the Hat. The illustrations and sounds helped to teach basic reading skills. Dr. Seuss helped millions of kids learn to read. I always loved to read Dr. Seuss books because they always were fun to read from the beginning to the end. If I Ran The Zoo brought back good memories and I had a blast reading the book again. The book is a tribute to the imagination of children the book ends with a reminder that all extraordinary creatures exist only in the head of Gerald McGrew. It is all about the imagination and how they use it. For example, in the book Gerald states: But if I ran the zoo, Said young Gerald McGrew, I¿d make a few changes. That¿s just what I¿d do¿ Gerald McGrew is a child who went to visit the zoo, but he found that the animals were not good enough. He said he would make changes if ran the zoo. He would bring animals from here and there, from up and down, and from anywhere. What type of animals does he bring to the zoo? What do the people think of his new zoo? Read the book to find out. If I Ran The Zoo is one of many picture books written by Theodor. He has created a character that is loved by every one of all generations. Dr. Seuss will keep helping children learn to read and is a hero himself. Reading level of the book is third grade, ninth month. Seuss, Dr. If I Ran The Zoo. New York: Random House, 1950.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2000

    Put your imagination to work!

    I loved this book so much as a child that I had to buy it for my children. Very fun to read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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