Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. Geisel began signing his work with the pen name “Seuss”, while at Dartmouth. It came about when Geisel was caught drinking gin with his friends in his room. As a result, the Dean insisted that he resign from all extracurricular activities, including the college humor magazine. He came up with a pen name in order to continue work on the Jack-O-Lantern without the administration’s knowledge.
Dr. Seuss is probably best known for his book The Cat in the Hat. According to Wikepedia, in May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children, which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. Accordingly, William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin Publishing, compiled a list of 348 words he felt were important for first-graders to recognize and asked Seuss to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words. Spaulding challenged Seuss to “bring back a book children can’t put down.” Nine months later, Seuss, using 236 of the words given to him, completed The Cat in the Hat.
CREATIVITY TIP: Honoring Dr. Seuss’s creative works is a great way to provide your children with another Creative Play Activity. Children spend most of their playtime with gadgets or objects that “do” something, or are given projects where they just follow directions. They aren’t given many chances to explore things for themselves. For this “Dr. Seuss” project, instead of giving them a ready-made picture to color in, or a pre-determined character to create, ask your child to develop their own character they think would fit into a Seuss book, by using items they find around the house. My daughter created this character that she calls ” Bluebell ” out of a paper bag, ribbon, some straws, construction paper, and a plastic top. You could then have your child create a little story about their character, while trying to rhyme some of the words. Have fun with it and enjoy Dr. Seuss’s birthday!