If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

I love Dr. Seuss! He is one of my favorite authors. True, I don’t read his work often anymore, although I still have some of his books on the bottom shelf with other children’s books that I can’t let go.

I read Dr. Seuss books to my children when they were young so many years ago; The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, Fox in Socks, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and many other books of his. And then I read them to my grandchildren and recently to a great-granddaughter.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to the world as Dr. Seuss, was born in 1904 in Springfield, Mass.His father and grandfather were brewmasters. His mother used to chant rhymes she remembered from her youth (I’m thinking maybe nursery rhymes) to her children when she put them to bed. Ted credited his mother with his ability and desire to create the rhymes for his books.

Ted left Springfield as a teenager to attend Dartmouth College. He became editor-in-chief of the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine, but when he and his friends were caught having a drinking party, which was against prohibition laws and school policy, he was ousted as editor-in-chief. However, he continued to contribute to the magazine using the pseudonym of “Seuss” which was his mother’s maiden name and his middle name, too.

His father wanted him to be a college professor, so he went to Oxford University in England, but he found academic studies boring and decided to tour Europe instead. However, Oxford was where he met Helen Palmer, who was a children’s author and book editor. She would become his first wife. When he returned to the United States, Ted began to pursue a career as a cartoonist. Although some magazines published his early pieces, most of his early career was devoted to creating advertising for Standard Oil. Later he focused on political cartoons and then made U.S. Army training movies. Viking Press offered him a contract to produce a collection of children’s sayings called Boners. The book didn’t sell well, but his illustrations got great reviews.

Our door won first prize in the door contest that year.
His first book that he both wrote and illustrated was And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. The illustrations were of streets and people in Springfield where he grew up. The book went through 27 rejections before being published by Vanguard Press.  

One year when I was still teaching, our school had a Dr. Seuss Door Contest. I chose his first book, and after reading it to my students, I asked them to write poems with the title “And to Think That I Saw It on Bancroft Street”. What I particularly liked about this book is that it encourages a child to use his/her imagination. My students came through with many imaginative poems, but the following was one of the best.

                                                          I saw a large truck
                                                          hooked to a bike
                                                          with a boy on it
                                                          that I seemed to like.
                                                          The boy was attached
                                                          to a man with a flute,
                                                          the man was hooked to
                                                          a small puny newt.
                                                          So that’s what I saw.
                                                          It was pretty neat,
                                                          And to think that that I saw
                                                          It on Bancroft Street.
-          John Franks

In 1967 Ted’s first wife died, and after that he married an old friend, Audrey Stone Geisel. She  influenced his later books, and now guards his legacy as the president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

From the time he wrote And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street until his death on September 24, 1991, he wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages. Over 200 million copies found their way into hearts and homes throughout the world. Besides the books, there were eleven children’s TV specials, a Broadway musical and a feature-length movie with other motion pictures in the works. His honors include two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the Pulitzer Prize.

I think I’ll go now and dig out some of those books I’ve saved and read them again.

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?


E. B. Davis said...

To tell you the truth, Gloria, my mother read me one or two, when I was too young to read. We both decided they were too nonsensical, like Green Eggs and Ham, and we didn't like them, with the exception of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. But I don't think he wrote it until after I grew up because I don't remember it from childhood. It had a story that I understood, and the last lines were beautiful.

Welcome Christmas. Bring your cheer,
Cheer to all Whos, far and near.

Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to grasp.

Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.

Welcome Christmas while we stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Dr. Seuss books didn’t enter our house until they were appropriate for one of my sisters. My kids had favorites, so much so that I could “read” many of the books without having it in front of me.

As an adult I found the social politics and environmentalism of his writings of special interest.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, he was certainly an interesting man. I didn't realize how much so until I started researching him for the blog. I think he made a good and positive contribution to the education of children and had much to do with children enjoying books. His books entered my home when I signed up for a children's book club and had new books sent every month. Some of his books were the ones that came.

Gloria Alden said...

E.B., my children loved Dr.Seuss's nonsense rhymes - some more than others, but I think a lot of it may have had to do with the joy I had reading them. There was another author, P.D. Eastman, who wrote in the same style, but not quite as nonsensical, and my kids loved those, too. I wonder if it has to do with how much the reader enjoys the book? There was another book, "Funny Miss Twiggly Lives in a Tree" - not sure of the exact title or remember the author offhand, but we wore that book out and now the cover is missing. I loved it so much that I read it to my students even though it no longer had a cover. I'd love to find an intact copy of it sometime.

Kara Cerise said...

You gave your students the most interesting assignments, Gloria. Did John Franks become a writer?

Horton Hears a Who is my favorite Dr. Seuss book. I found the idea of tiny planets fascinating. Also, I liked the saying, "A person's a person, no matter how small."

Anonymous said...

Very early memory, going to the library with my mother and getting The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. It seemed weird and foreign to me. I didn't know how a kid could have 500 hats on his head, and I didn't know you were supposed to take your hat off in front of the king. My parents explained it all to me. That was when I realized that you could write what ever came into your mind and someone might like it. KB Inglee

Gloria Alden said...

Not that I know of, Kara. He just graduated from high school and is in his first year of college, but I'm not sure what his major is. I sent a message through another teacher that I have his poem up today. His mom is a teacher where I taught. I had so many bright and gifted kids.

I liked that book, too. There's a lot of his later books I never read - those published after my kids grew beyond Dr. Seuss and I read mostly chapter books to my third graders, along with some delightful picture books sometimes and poetry, too. It's one of the things I miss most about teaching.

Sarah Henning said...

Mine is definitely "The Sneetches" in "The Sneetches and Other Stories." However, it is often overshadowed in our house by my son's favorite Seuss story, which happens to be in the same book, "Too Many Daves." Hard to compete with a mom naming all 23 of her sons Dave. When Seuss goes on to renaming them for her and we read "Oliver Boliver Butt" he giggles and repeats it every time.

Gloria Alden said...

I'm not familiar with that book because it came out long past when I was reading his books to my kids. I'll have to look for it and get it. I haven't outgrown Dr. Seuss books. Maybe I'll buy it for my great-grandkids and read it first.

Warren Bull said...

While nobody had any problems when Seuss parodied Hitler in Yertle the Turtle, when he took on the cold war and mutually assured destruction some libraries kept The Butter Battle Book off their shelves.

Anonymous said...

My favorite book is "Oh, The Places You'll Go". I have given it several times as a graduation gift. (Along with a check. LOL )

Nancy Adams said...

I love Dr. Seuss, too, and it's so hard to pick a favorite! I particularly like Fox in Sox and One Fish, Two Fish, but all of them are so wonderful and such a great way to get kids interested in books and reading.

And I love the message of The Lorax about speaking for the trees.

Thanks, Gloria, for making me think about these wonderful books!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Yes, thank you, Gloria. Lots of wonderful memorable quotes today!

Shari Randall said...

Hi Gloria - What a fun post! At work we are gearing up for Read Across America Day - which is a celebration of reading in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday - March 2.
A favorite? Hard to pick. The two that come to mind are The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. My kids leaned more toward P D Eastman - hard to top the drama of Go Dog, Go.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I wasn't aware of that fact. Interesting. I remember reading that book, but didn't see anything subversive about it.

Anonymous, Roxanne, what a great idea. I'll have to keep that in mind for my next graduate who is a granddaughter of mine.

Nancy, I liked the ones you mentioned and I liked the Lorax, too, especially since I'm a lover of trees big time.

Paula, it certainly is a change from mysteries, isn't it. Memories are special.

Shari, son #2 loved Go Dog Go and I had to read that over and over and over to him. So much so that if Maggie is ambling along in front of me sniffing smells, I always say firmly "Go Dog Go" and she hurries up.

Patg said...

My grandkids had a big collection and I read them to them over and over. Yes, they were good learning devices for kids, but grandma got worn out. Plus grandma couldn't separate the adult author from the stories. Yes, Warren, I knew that.

Gloria Alden said...

They did get tiring when they were read over and over, Pat. Which one was your favorite one?

KM Rockwood said...

My parents felt they were too nonsensical to waste time reading, at least when I was a kid, but my first husband loved them and read them to me and out duaghter. Then I discovered my younger siblings had a great supply of them! I think they are a lot of fun.

Gloria Alden said...

KM, even coming to them late, they're a fun read, aren't they. I'm glad you had a husband, who read them to you and your daughter.