On Beyond Zebra!

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Illus. in color. "Children will be intrigued and delighted with the nonsensical alphabet that begins after Z."—Booklist.
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Overview

Illus. in color. "Children will be intrigued and delighted with the nonsensical alphabet that begins after Z."—Booklist.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Children will be intrigued and delighted with the nonsensical alphabet that begins after Z."—Booklist.  
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394800844
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1955
  • Series: Classic Seuss Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 104,559
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.27 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL—aka Dr. Seuss—is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. From The Cat in the Hat to Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, his iconic characters, stories, and art style have been a lasting influence on generations of children and adults. The 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

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 23, 2011

    A must have

    Both my children, now 37 and 33 loved this book. Purchased for my grandchildren and neighbors children. They want to hear it again and again.Makes everyone smile every time we read it. The illustrations are wonderful, as always.
    What a great partnership: Dr Seuss and Stan Berenstain. A long time gift to parent and child.
    Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    phenomenal!!!!

    highly recomended for early readers to older children.... very funny and beautiful pictures... a simple MUST-HAVE! i never heard of it a year ago now i read it... its won-der-ful!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2002

    Fantastic...classic Seuss!

    Fabulous. This book is a wonderful example of setting forth into a world of discovery and creativity. It encourages readers to stretch beyond the common, beyond the expected, and discover wonders for themselves. Wonderful for readers of all ages. As Dr. Seuss says, 'So, on beyond Z! It's high time you were shown/ That you really don't know all there is to be known.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2001

    Seuss's Structure Slips!

    Doctor Seuss has taught us all to enjoy flawless humor, good fantasy, and fantastic illustrations. So it was a great surprise to me when this book didn't carry off its premise smoothly. The book is a satire on those alphabet books that all children trudge through to learn their ABCs. A is for apple, and so forth, is the predictable format. Here, Dr. Seuss adjusts the format to be about animals. 'A is for Ape. And B is for Bear.' The story opens with Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell announcing, 'I know all the twenty-six letters like that . . . .' Our narrator disagrees. 'But not me.' 'In the places I go there are things that I see that I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.' 'My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends.' Now, here's the problem. Although the book has many interesting and new letters and creatures, each letter is actually just a combination of the first twenty-six. For example, YUZZ is the first new letter, and is illustrated by the tall and hairy Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz. Although a sort of symbol is established to represent the letter, Dr. Seuss doesn't use the symbol in the rhyme. He always refers to the letter as YUZZ. Dr. Seuss could have used his new letter symbol wherever it fit into the rhyme, or he could have made up letters that were not combinations of the first twenty-six letters. Either approach would have worked. I suspect that the structure in the book can either consciously or subconsciously confuse a new reader about what a letter is, what a syllable is, and what a word is. It's all quite unnecessary. If Dr. Seuss had used his new symbols to form new words, that would have been a nice basis for helping English readers learn how to move back and forth between English and languages with different methods of representation, like Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Hebrew. So, the book's a bit of a missed opportunity in this direction, too. My suggestion is that if you want to have fun with the story anyway (because the creatures are pretty swell), simply point out that Dr. Seuss made a little goof and clarify the point about what a letter is in whatever way makes the most sense to you for where your child is in reading readiness. The animals and their names are terrific, and you will enjoy them and their illustrations. Here's a partial list: Wumbus ('my high-spouting whale who lives on a hill'), Umbus ('a sort of a cow' with 98 or 99 'faucets' for giving milk), Humpf-Humpf-a-Dumpfer, Miss Fuddle-dee-Duddle (a bird with the longest tail), Glikker (blue and small, eats seeds, and juggles cinammon seeds), Nutch (lives in small caves that are in short supply), Sneedle (a mos-keedle with a sharp hum-dinger stinger on its head), Quandery (a red creature on shells in the ocean that worries a lot), Thnadner (the big one has a small shadow and the small one a big shadow), Spazzin (a camel-like creature with amazing horns for carrying baggage), Floob-Boober-Bab-Boober-Bah (fish you can use like stepping stones to get across the top of water as they bob on the surface), and Zatz-It (like a tall giraffe). The story concludes with young o'Dell getting the spirit of the narrator. 'This is really great stuff! And I guess the old alphabet ISN'T enough!' o'Dell draws a new letter: ' . . . what do you think that we should call this one, anyhow?' Enjoy imagination, and honor it . . . wherever it may be found! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2010

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    Posted October 9, 2011

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    Posted December 8, 2009

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