Monday, March 9, 2009

My Town Monday: Guess Who?

Lots of famous people end up living in San Diego. Why? Because we're a fun and interesting and delightful lot down here. Oh fine, because we have terrific weather.

See if you can guess who this is.

This children's author moved here in 1948. He lived in San Diego until 1991 when he died here of cancer.

He wrote under a pseudonym.

He wrote and illustrated 44 children's books.

His mother chanted rhymes to lull her children to sleep.

The rhythm of the ship's engines on an ocean voyage inspired his first book. Which was rejected TWENTY-SEVEN times before finally getting published. And this book just happens to have been my favorite book as a child. I checked it out of the bookmobile as often as the librarian would let me. *

Other things this author did: He was a cartoonist. He worked for 15 years in advertising (creating campaigns for Standard Oil). He developed animated training films for the U.S. military during WWII.

He wrote most of his books in anapestic tetrameter** and some in in trochaic tetrameter.*** (I give you these fancy terms to help you impress and dazzle at cocktail parties. I, myself, hope to impress and dazzle now that I've looked up said terms and learned what they mean!)

He attended Oxford, but never completed the doctoral program. He got married instead. His father always wanted him to be a doctor, so he used Dr. as part of his nom de plume.

In response to a 1954 Life Magazine article about the boring state of American primers, he wrote an entire children's book using only TWO HUNDRED THIRTY-SIX different (many of which were exciting) words for a total of 1,624 words.

If you haven't figured it out yet, here's a HUMONGOUS clue.

This book was about a cat.....

...in a hat.






























Theodor Seuss Geisel AKA Dr. Seuss

*And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

** anapestic tetrameter: two weak beats, then a strong beat
Eg.: And today the Great Yertle, that Marvelous he
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.


*** trochaic tetrameter: a strong beat, then a short beat with four units per line
Eg.: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Please visit Travis Erwin's blog where you'll find his My Town Monday post and links to the other participants.


Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/theampersand/archive/2009/03/02/five-things-you-didn-t-know-about-dr-seuss.aspx
http://www.catinthehat.org/history.htm

35 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I'm not the brightest bulb in the world, but I knew it was Dr. Suess right away!

David Cranmer said...

One of my favorite authors who I still read. Oh, the Places You'll Go! remains an inspirational favorite.

debra said...

I knew it was Dr. S. as well. I loved loved loved his books as a kid. They were all about being free.

Sarakastic said...

That last picture is priceless!

Barbara Martin said...

Wonderful post for MTM, and one of my earlier favourite authors.

One of my fondest memories of San Diego was buying my Dober dog, Bruce, there. (He's passed on to dog heaven sometime ago, but a neat laid-back dog). Must have been the climate he was born in.

Teresa said...

I love Dr. Seuss!! My favorite books growing up were Yertle the Turtle and Horton Hears a Who. I also liked the Sleep Book. When the kids were small, we subscribed to a book of the month club and got the entire set. I didn't know he was from San Diego.

Gina Black said...

I've been thinking about anapestic tetrameter all week, ever since I realized it was the good Dr's 105th birthday last Monday.

Charles Gramlich said...

Dr. Seuss, what a crazy storyteller. I loved reading his books to my son.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I doubt there is a child in this country who hasn't had one of his books read to him/her.

Maggie May said...

My son Dakota did a bio report on Suess last year in 7th grade. Guy had a hardish life!@

Sepiru Chris said...

Barrie,

There is a writer who created sound worlds. I had no idea that he was in San Diego for a while. I love the cocktail chatter which you produce. (I tend to produce cocktail monologues... nowhere near as effervescent...)

Tschuess,
Chris

G said...

I love Dr. Seuss.

When my kids were growing up, I used to love reading his books to them and making up silly voices in the process.

Even while growing up, his books were universally loved. I remember going to a high school talent show, and one of the students did a dramatic reading that had the audience in stitches.

The book he read was "Green Eggs and Ham".

Beth said...

Loved Dr. Seuss! While reading The Cat in The Hat as a child, I discovered my aversion to mess and chaos – was so happy he came back to clean up in the end!

blueviolet said...

Dr Seuss never gets old! Plus I adore San Diego!

D.A. Riser said...

Great post, Barrie. If I recall correctly, I think Dr. Seuss won over his wife with his doodling while they were in chemistry (?) or some such class in school together. He'd draw her funny pictures of cows and such.

Patti said...

he's still a fav of mine...

Anna Lefler said...

I knew it was Dr. Seuss, but I didn't know he lived in San Diego - cool!

Thanks for visiting my blog, BTW - yours rocks!

:^) Anna

sara said...

I feel so proud because I totally knew who you were talking about (and his real name) before you said it. I did a book report on him in 8th grade. I didn't know he ended up in San Diego though. No wonder it's such a great town!

Tabitha said...

I never got into his books as a kid, but we didn't have money to buy them, and the library was pretty far away (and it was a big deal to go). So the few I saw weren't my favorites. But now that I've been reading to my kids, I've sifted through all of them. And I wish I'd seen these books when I was growing up.

My kids LOVE Dr. Suess to death. So much that I've got several memorized, simply from reading them so often. :)

Lady Glamis said...

I love this author! Great post, thanks!

My daughter loves him, too, of course. Hehe.

Travis Erwin said...

The mention of the WWII training films gave it away to me.

Bina said...

That is freaking awesome! I love stories like this and I love me some Dr. Seuss. A Fly Went By is my all-time favorite by him.

Great post!

Keri Mikulski said...

Yay! I got it.. :) LOL.

Kaci loves Dr. Seuss. :)

Reb said...

I got it! My favourite was Green Eggs and Ham.

bethyarnall said...

I love reading Dr. Suess to my kids. My favorite book is And to Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street. It's so imaginiative. Our other favorites are-Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, Go Dog Go, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think (I can still quote from it) and The Cat in the Hat. Last week my youngest son celebrated Dr Suess day (yes he gets an honorary day), one of the teachers dressed up as The Cat in the Hat.

Cloudia said...

My favourite childhood book!
Inspired maddness that was wiser than "normalcy." Changed my life!!
Thanks & Aloha-

Stacy Nyikos said...

Of course he ended up in San Diego. When I become wealthy and famous as a children's writer, you know where I'm headed!! You just can't beat the weather :-)

Wunderwoman said...

I loved Dr Seuss when I was a kid!

Bee said...

He was a huge part of my childhood . . . and I read him now, almost weekly, with a young boy that I tutor.

I guess that his verbal and visual exuberance had something to do with all of that San Diego sun!

Linda McLaughlin said...

I figured it was Dr. Seuss, aka Theodore Geisel. His books are such fun.

laughingwolf said...

he was one neat character, that seuss

i posted about him a bit ago, for some kinda celebration :O lol

Caryn Caldwell said...

I've heard that before, about Dr. Seuss being rejected so many times, but it's still heartening, especially since I'm about the enter the query phase. I had no idea he was from San Diego, though. We went there several years ago for a wedding and I liked it very much.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I didn't realize he was rejected 27 times! Somehow, that makes me feel better...

Marty said...

Dr. Seuss will always be one of my greatest hero's. You can learn more about him in the link that I provided. ;D

Monnik said...

Dr. Seuss. Who doesn't LOVE him? We have so many of his books and I am definitely not parting with them - keeping them for the grandkids!