​Dr Seuss FAQ - Common Dr. Seuss Questions

19th Jan 2018

​Dr Seuss FAQ - Common Dr. Seuss Questions

Are Dr. Seuss books considered poetry?

Although not traditionally thought of as poetry, you could consider Dr. Seuss' work to be poetic in nature. The unique rhyme and rhythm patterns of a Seuss book make it somewhat similar to poems. However, they are ultimately thought of as illustrated narrative stories that happen to rhyme. Most poetry classes you take in college will not introduce students to Seuss' work. You will instead be studying writers like Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.

With that said, a 'poem' is a debatable term that many in the literature world argue about. A poem could be just considered an alternative type of writing that expresses strong emotions and feelings. With this in mind, some of Dr. Seuss' more lyrical works could be considered poetry.

Are Dr. Seuss books public domain?

Unfortunately, Dr. Seuss books are legally not public domain. Current laws in the US established in the late 1970s determine that they are copyright property. Therefore, they are not free to the public. This won't be forever though!

After 95 years of publication, the books are required to become public domain. That means The Cat in the Hat will be within the public domain by 2053. It used to be that the public only had to wait 56 years for this to happen. However, that all changed on January 1, 2014 when Congress voted to extend that time period. This was a very disappointing measure for the literary world that was looking forward to bringing Dr. Seuss' magical texts to the public at no cost.

Are Dr. Seuss quotes copyrighted?

Dr. Seuss Enterprises owns the copyright property for all quotes from the author's works. They will definitely enforce these rights as well. Using these quotes without permission has resulted in legal action.

This is done not to just be a 'grinch.' The reason for imposing these copyright infringement laws is to ensure that the quotes are used properly. Using Dr. Seuss quotes in a way that is in-line with how the author would have wanted is important.

What are Dr. Seuss characters?

Dr Seuss is known best for his wonderfully strange characters in his stories. From a giant talking cat in a hat to the little Whos of Whoville, this is an author that had an endless imagination. Supposedly, the author modeled two of his most famous characters off of himself: the Grinch and the Cat in the Hat.

Other than that, many of his characters simply came from daydreaming. The author has claimed in previous interviews that they just appear in his brain and he brings them to life on the page.

Did Dr. Seuss win any awards?

Yes, the author won many awards in his lifetime (and beyond it). The most prestigious one awarded to him was the Pullitzer Prize. Dr. Seuss received this honor back in 1984. It was specifically for his contribution to children's literature. However, literature is not the only thing Dr. Seuss received awards for. He also helped make many films and television shows from his work. He received an Oscar, 2 Emmys and 2 Peabody awards for those. Dr. Seuss was a beloved author, illustrator, and producer in his lifetime. He will always be remembered for the contributions he made to culture.

Did Dr. Seuss go to college?

Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Theodore Geisel) graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the year 1925. Growing up in Springfield, Massachussetts, the school was only a couple hours from his childhood home. This is where he first combined his talents in writing and drawing. Naturally, he graduated with a degree in English and was a very successful student at the college. He began working on his first works at the campus' popular humor magazine entitled Jack-O-Lantern. It was here that he had his first works published.

Did Dr. Seuss get married?

Yes, he married Helen Palmer in 1927. They met in a class at Oxford University. Also a writer, she had a great influence on her husband's life. She is the one credited with encouraging him to make writing and illustrating children's books his career. Sadly, the marriage didn't end well. Helen had a series of cancerous illnesses flare up between 1955 until her death. Unable to handle the pain, she eventually committed suicide in 1967 by overdosing on barbiturates.

Did Dr. Seuss have any pets?

Although best known for his book about a cat, the author was more of a dog person. His very first childhood pet was a Boston Terrier named Rex. He had a few different dogs he was close with throughout his life. However, it isn't apparent that he wrote any of them into his books. Later in his life, he had a dog he was very close with: an Irish setter named Cluny. Cluny lived with the author in his home in La Jolla, California where they would often take walks on the beach.

Did Dr. Seuss have any siblings?

Dr. Seuss had two siblings. His younger sister, Henrietta, was born 2 years after him in 1906. Sadly, she was struck with pneumonia at the early age of 18 months and died. Ted was only 3 years old at the time, but it is a memory that remained with him for his entire life. His older sister was named Margaretha, but everyone called her Marnie. They were very close and only a few years apart.

Did Dr. Seuss have any other jobs?

Dr. Seuss worked for various publications before he was able to make a career out of his own work. In the early parts of his career, he worked for a humor magazine called Judge where he created cartoons. When the Great Depression hit, Dr. Seuss had to find another line of work. He turned to making illustrations for advertising companies like NBC and General Electric. This helped him get the attention of many big name people. He was able to save the money he made from this job to make his own creative work.

Did Dr. Seuss do his own drawings?

Dr. Seuss was a dedicated artist and drafted every single one of his published drawings. He loved to draw and did it his whole life. His signature color palette, active pen strokes, and surreal landscapes have made him a memorable artist that no one can recreate.

Do all of Dr. Seuss' books rhyme?

All 48 of Dr. Seuss' books have rhyming patterns in them. This is what makes them so memorable. Each line gallops across the page like a horse trotting through a field. When there wasn't a word to rhyme with, Dr. Seuss would simply make it up. He was known for throwing in creative words like 'shloppity-shloop' and infinite others. His readers loved his magical array of nonsensical rhyming words. The author never strayed from this pattern. One must wonder if the man thought in rhymes, too.

Why do Dr. Seuss books rhyme?

With a rhyme comes a reason. Rhymes make something memorable. They also make for a fun read. Although no one can be certain why the Doctor was so taken by rhyming patterns, it is clear that he wholeheartedly loved rhyming in his books. It is said that rhymes especially help children learn language. The musical pattern of a rhyme sticks in a child's memory and makes reading more fun.

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