“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Today is Dr. Seuss‘ birthday (books by this author). He was born Theodor Geisel, in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1904. His mother read bedtime stories to him every night. He’s the author of more than 60 children’s books, including Horton Hears a Who! (1954), One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Hop on Pop (1963), Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! (1975), The Butter
Battle Book (1984), and of course, The Cat in the Hat (1957) which uses just 220 different words. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which he said was inspired by the rhythms of a steamliner cruiser on which he rode.
Seuss was actually his mother’s maiden name and he took it as a pen name when writing for the Dartmouth campus magazine. Garrison Keillor writes interestingly of this time in Dr. Seuss’ life in The Writer’s Almanac. Keillor describes Seuss’ writing style as “rhyming anapestic meter, also called trisyllabic meter.”
“The meter is very alluring and catchy, and Seuss’s masterful use of it is a big part of why his books are so enjoyable to read. The meter is made up of two weak beats followed by a stressed syllable — da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM, as in “And today the Great Yertle, that Marvelous he / Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.”
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!