"Highly engaging and eminently readable, this short yet comprehensive biography of the author of the some of the most popular children's classics of all time is bound to be of wide interest to anyone who grew up with them and would like to know more about the life and career of the man who was Dr. Seuss."
-Lawrence Buell, Harvard University
"Dr. Seuss is known to millions of grateful readers of all ages, but Theodore Geisel to far fewer. But, indeed, he was a major presence in the world of literature in the twentieth century, as Donald E. Pease Jr. makes abundantly clear in this thoroughly engaging, often brilliant, biography. It's an original work of scholarship as well as a book with narrative momentum. I learned a great deal from its pages, which has sent me back to Dr. Seuss-always a good place to land."
-Jay Parini author of The Last Station
"I'm glad that so many of Donald Pease's unique and revealing insights on Dr. Seussobservations he shared with me on camera with an effusiveness and profundity quite unmatchedhave found their way into book form. No one tells these tales of young Ted, Mr. Geisel, and Dr. Seuss, and makes the connections between the three of them, quite like Dr. Pease."
-Ron Lamothe, producer-director of The Political Dr. Seuss
"A solid addition to the literature about one of the 20th century's most influential American writers." Kirkus
"The biography offers a succinct, thoroughly researched, and engaging introduction to one of children's literature most influential creators...The result is a smoothly integrated portrait that humanizes an American icon and will appeal to casual readers and researchers alike." Booklist
"Lively little psychobiography...Pease nimbly demonstrates that Geisel's lessons for children and adults alike are that learning need not be tedious, brilliance need not be gratuitously complex, and moral lessons can be conveyed without scolding." Daily Beast
"Offering a compelling treatment that is accessible to any reader...Highly recommended." Choice
"Well researched biography. It is both a candid and a sensitive portrayal of an author and illustrator, revealing his pain and sensitivities from childhood to old age...This volume deserves a place in academic, public and school libraries. It is truly a treasure. Highly recommended." Catholic Library World
"A distinguished addition to the "Lives and Legacies" series...Pease's sensitivity to the quality of linguistic play and the substance of the author's communitarian message demonstrates why Seuss's art has earned its continued admiration and universal respect." Modern Fiction Studies
A slim biography puts the good Doctor and his oeuvre on the couch for some gentle analysis. In the preface, Pease (English, Comparative Literature, African-American Literature/Dartmouth Univ.) gives a brief overview of existing Seuss scholarship and locates his work within it as "a modest effort to explore" the "relationship between Dr. Seuss's art and Geisel's life." The author-who was awarded the Ted and Helen Geisel Chair in the Humanities at Dartmouth, Geisel's alma mater-proceeds in largely chronological fashion. He sketches Geisel's childhood in Springfield, Mass., the child of two prominent German-immigrant families and scion of the Geisel brewery dynasty. The double whammy of World War I and Prohibition was a trauma, writes Pease, that Geisel spent the first part of his career working to exorcise. His anti-authoritarian streak was cultivated as editor of the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth's humor magazine, from which he was fired for drunken shenanigans. Pease consistently refers to his subject as "Ted," "Geisel" or "Dr. Seuss" depending on the context, a device that works well in advancing his thesis: "Dr. Seuss was no longer reconstructing Ted's boyhood experience; in [The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and The King's Stilts] he was teaching moral lessons. Geisel's democratic impulses and his liberal humanitarianism are evident in both works." Drawing on Geisel's writings and speeches as well as secondary sources both contemporary and retrospective, Pease drives his narrative forward, occasionally indulging in lit-crit gobbledygook (If I Ran the Zoo and If I Ran the Circus "both introduce a hypothetical frame that suspends the provenance of the adult's insistence on empiricallyverifiable reality"). For the most part, though, he argues his points cleanly, and his readings of his subject's books will engage readers. In his sparkling exegesis of The Cat in the Hat, the author interprets the Cat "as the activity of reading personified."A solid addition to the literature about one of the 20th century's most influential American writers.