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Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

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Overview

Back in 1957, Theodor Geisel responded to an article in Life magazine that lamented the use of boring reading primers in schools. Using the pseudonym of "Dr. Seuss" (Seuss was Geisel's middle name) and only two hundred twenty-three words, Geisel created a replacement for those dull primers: "The Cat in the Hat." The instant success of the book prompted Geisel and his wife to found Beginner Books, and Geisel wrote many popular books in this series, including "Hop on Pop," "Fox in Socks," and "Green Eggs and Ham." ...

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Overview

Back in 1957, Theodor Geisel responded to an article in Life magazine that lamented the use of boring reading primers in schools. Using the pseudonym of "Dr. Seuss" (Seuss was Geisel's middle name) and only two hundred twenty-three words, Geisel created a replacement for those dull primers: "The Cat in the Hat." The instant success of the book prompted Geisel and his wife to found Beginner Books, and Geisel wrote many popular books in this series, including "Hop on Pop," "Fox in Socks," and "Green Eggs and Ham." Other favorite titles in this series are "Go, Dog, Go!" and "Are You My Mother?" by P. D. Eastman, "A Fly Went By," by Mike McClintock, and "Put Me in the Zoo," by Robert Lopshire. These affordable hardcover books combine large print, easy vocabulary, and large, bright illustrations in stories kids will want to read again and again. Grades 1 - Grades 2.

Relates in verse some of the unusual thinks you can think if only you try.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Contains one of Dr. Seuss's solid-gold morals, the joy of letting one's imagination rip."—The New York Times.  
Children's Literature - Heather Christensen
A current trend in publishing is to repackage popular children's picture books as board books for the very young. With some books, like Margaret Wise Brown's classic, Goodnight Moon, this makes sense, as the text is already perfectly suited for the youngest set, and putting it on thick sturdy pages helps it outlast the "book as a teething toy" stage. The question then, is how well does this Dr. Seuss classic—which was never intended for the toddler set—hold up to this transformation? The original forty-eight pages have been trimmed down to a mere twenty. The pages that stayed seem to match a two-year-old's interests—colors, day and night, light and dark. Children will respond well to the cadence and rhythm of the text, which nonsense words such as "Schlopp" and "Zong." Indeed, the singsong feel quickly reminds the reader of baby's first poetry—Mother Goose and other nursery rhymes. Although the grandeur of the marvelous things one can imagine is lost in the smaller pages, Seuss' bright colors will certainly hold their interest. In general, though it will not replace the original, this adaptation will effectively introduce little ones to one of the giants of children's literature. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Theodor Seuss Geisel—aka Dr. Seuss—is, quite simply, one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. The forty-four books he wrote and illustrated under the name Dr. Seuss (and others that he wrote but did not illustrate, including some under the pseudonyms Theo. LeSieg and Rosetta Stone) have been translated into thirty languages. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. Dr. Seuss’s long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck; the Pulitzer Prize; and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys, and a Peabody.

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
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Again, rave reviews for any Dr. Seuss book!!!!

    This book is part of a "book gift" for Christmas for our almost four year old grandson. This title intrigued us...something for the intelligent child who is very curious. Dr. Seuss is a great way to build a reading bond with your child, children, or grandchildren. Our whole family and circle of friends are heavy duty readers. When my sons were young they both had books in the car to keep them settled and quiet. Personal favorites can be read over and over again. Yes! Our grandson has a large personal library thanks to us, his other grandparents, and his aunts and uncles. You can't go wrong when you pick a good book from a good author for a child that you love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2013

    Fun to Read!

    I have fun reading this to my daughter. She usually loses interest in this one pretty quickly though.
    These board books are very sturdy, they're the perfect size for babies and toddlers. Also the pages are easy for my daughter to turn.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Love it...

    great book... again small but great... my son love it...

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