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Posts tagged ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’


“Be awesome!  Be a book nut!”  Dr. Seuss

“Think and wonder, wonder and think.”  Dr. Seuss

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”  Dr. Seuss

Theodore Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904.  His early work includes being a teacher, advertiser and political cartoonist, but he is best known as a children’s author.  Geisel started using the pen name “Dr. Seuss” while attending Dartmouth College. It’s a fun story.  He was caught drinking on campus during prohibition and was ordered to stop working on the campus humor publication called Dartmouth Jack-o-Lantern.  Instead, he published under a different name!  (No wonder I like this guy!)

hortonHe published his first book To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937.  Over his lifetime, he published over 60 books, including classics such as Cat in the Hat (1957), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960) and one of my favorites Horton Hears a Who! (1955). He and his work are loved by millions around the world!  He died from cancer in 1991.  If he were alive today. Dr. Seuss would be celebrating his 113th birthday.

In 1998, the National Education Association named Dr. Seuss’ birthday as Read Across America Day as a way to celebrate this great man and the love of reading his work often inspires.  A great way to celebrate would be to read one of his books—or really anything at all!  By yourself is fine, but reading with kids is even better.  Giving children the love of reading is one of the best gifts anyone can offer.


placesI am celebrating today by reading Oh, the Places You’ll Go! written by Dr. Seuss in 1990.  This was the last book Seuss published.  Its main message is to be brave, to get out there doing things, to not let fear and obstacles make you wait, wait, wait.  As Seuss concludes, “Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So. . . get on your way!”  When initially published, it reached the top of the New York Times Best Selling Fiction Hardcover List.  Every spring, its sales surge a bit as the book is given as a gift for many high school and college graduates.  All his works offer life lessons that are worth sharing at any age!



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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.”

 “Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.”

 “You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You’re on your own, and you know what you know.  And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”


“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”

 “Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

 “Being crazy isn’t enough.”

 “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

 “Today was good.  Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one.”

 “Only you can control your future.”

 “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

 “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

 “There’s no limit to how much you’ll know, depending how far beyond zebra you go.”

 “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.”


This is one of Dr. Seuss’ political cartoons from over fifty years ago.  Sad that it still seems relevant today.  I wonder what he would make of the world today.


Hip Hip Hooray, Let’s Celebrate Dr. Seuss Day!

Wikipedia Photo

Wikipedia Photo

Today, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known and loved by all as Dr. Seuss, would have been 111 years old.  He died in 1991.  In honor of his great contribution to the love of reading for children, the National Education Association adopted his birthday as the National Read Across America Day.  It is a logical honor.  He wrote 46 books for kids—that they actually like to read!  In 1980 he was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from children’s librarians; they lauded him for his “substantial and lasting contributions to children’s literature.”  Then in 1984, he was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for his “contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.”

Horton hears a whoOh the places you'll goDr. Seuss may be best known for The Cat in the Hat (1957) or maybe Green Eggs and Ham (1960), but my favorite has always been Horton Hears a Who! (1955) followed closely by The Lorax (1971).  [The fact that they are respectively about an elephant and about saving the environment might have a little to do with it!] And is there a better Christmas story than How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957)?  His later works are fun too, even more appropriate than his others for “obsolete children” otherwise known as adults:  Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990) and You’re Only Old Once (1986).

160px-Dr_Seuss_signature.svgBut what I like best about Dr. Seuss’s life are the anecdotes that show he finds ways around obstacles and loves a challenge.  For example, when he was in college at Dartmouth, he got caught drinking gin with several friends.  His punishment was to stop all his extracurricular activities, including writing for the humor magazine.  But he did continue his efforts as a contributor to the Dartmouth Jack-O-Latern, albeit secretly—that is when he first simply used “Seuss” as his pen name.  He permanently added the “Dr.” to his signature once Dartmouth awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1956.

cat in the hatAnother fun story is what prompted him to write The Cat in the Hat.  It happened in 1954, just after Life published an illiteracy report noting that one reason kids were not learning to read was because their reading material was so boring.  In response, W. E. Spaulding, the director of the education division of Houghton Mifflin, created a list of 348 words he figured first-graders should know.  He then challenged Geisel to trim the list to just 250 words and write a book using only those words to create “a book children can’t put down.”  Less than a year later, The Cat in the Hat was ready for publication, using only 236 words.  Within its first three years, this little book sold about a million copies. And it has been a favorite of kids around the world ever since.

Green eggs and hamIn 1960, Bennett Cert, co-founder of Random House, bet Geisel $50 that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 different words.  Geisel accepted the challenge and produced a book of 681 total words from a list of 49 monosyllabic words and one polysyllabic word (anywhere).  That book was Green Eggs and Ham, which encouraged all its readers—along with its main character Sam-I-Am—to try new things.  Not a bad lesson for life!

No wonder I love Dr. Seuss and his books so much.  He loved life and encouraged his readers—young and old—to get out there and have fun.  If you have kids in your life, read to them and give them their own books to treasure.  And maybe thank Dr. Seuss for helping to make reading for kids of all ages such fun!  Ice cream would help the celebration as well.  Always does! And the fun of reading is always worth celebrating.  Happy Dr. Seuss Day!


For little ones, I really like Animalia by Graeme Base and have recently enjoyed The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak.


“Today you are you!  That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.  Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

“You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

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