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Dr Seuss: Books For Obsolete Children…

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“Adults are obsolete children, and the hell with them.” Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss: Books For Obsolete Children...

Dr Seuss: Books For Obsolete Children...

Dr Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904 and would have celebrated another birthday yesterday. Happy Belated Birthday! He wrote under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and Rosetta Stone (for one book) and was a writer, poet, and cartoonist. His children’s books put him on the map and in our collective memories for life; his impact crossed generations of readers.  I grew up reading Dr Seuss’ hysterically funny, brilliant, and whimsical books that were written for children but truly for all ages…

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Official Trailer #2 (2012) Movie HD (The Lorax Film)

When I had children of my own, I bought his book collections for them and we read those rhyming, nonsensical, absolutely outlandish but incredibly entertaining books together. The Sneetches, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, and Cat in the Hat were some of my favorites. Another book, The Lorax, was made into a movie and deputed across the US on March 2nd. Dr Seuss wrote 46 children’s books (over 60 books if we include those he wrote as Theo LeSieg and one as Rosetta Stone) and it’s apropos that his birthday was adopted as the official date for National Read Across America Day. However, what caught my attention when I went looking for information on his life was his short lived attempt at writing for adults.

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

Dr Seuss: Books For Obsolete Children...

Dr Seuss: Books For Obsolete Children...

From what I gathered, Dr Seuss had phenomenal success with his children’s books; over 222 million copies sold and translated in 15 languages. He tried his hand at adult literature and wrote three adult books: The Seven Lady Godivas (1939; reprinted 1987); about 7 naked sisters sharing their stories on their search for “horse truths,” You’re Only Old Once! (1986; Geisel was 82); about an elderly man’s visit to the Golden Years Clinic and his experiences there, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (January 22, 1990); about the journey of life and its challenges, including a stop at The Waiting Place where people are always waiting for something to happen. That book had the famous line “Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed. (98¾% guaranteed.).” Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was Dr Seuss last book and the most popular of the three. Of the three, The Seven Lady Godivas is definitely adult humor and titillating… The other two, like all his books, offer wonderful insights and wisdom on life and aging… Which ones have you read? More below. 😉

“If I were invited to a dinner party with my characters, I wouldn’t show up.” Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss: Books For Obsolete Children...

For a man who delved into the world of children’s books, offering fantasies and entertainment, and gave us some of the best writing in the genre, it is interesting that he didn’t have any kids of his own. His books were his children and he made sure they had tons of fun. As for his adult books, they were for, as he described it, obsolete children… Yet, they were fine and instructive books as well. We know where his talent and love reigned and that’s fine with me. Enjoy!

What about you? What are your thoughts? Did you read Dr Seuss books? Which ones were your favorites? What memories do you have of them? Did you read them to your kids?   Do share! Thank you. 🙂

Positive Motivation Tip: Books offer a fantastical world for adults and children to play and learn. Find your books and spread some joy.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Seuss landing, You’re Only Old Once, Oh, the Places You’ll Go,The Seven Lady Godivas, Seuss cartoon, via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

53 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/03/2012 12:14 am

    I love Dr. Seuss – like you I loved him as a child and also read him to my kids. I didn’t know he wrote books for adults, though I have read Oh the Places You’ll Go but just presumed it was a children’s book. Great post, thanks.

    • 04/03/2012 12:24 am

      Me too… and I wasn’t aware of his adult books until I started reading up on him. I thought it would be an interesting backstory to share. TY for your feedback. 🙂

  2. 04/03/2012 12:31 am

    I might have to g see the new film 🙂

  3. 04/03/2012 12:37 am

    we do not know him in Europe – our star was Janosch and his little tiger duck (we painted the tiger duck even on our automobile) – and their trip to Panama (not very far as you might think, just around 100 steps in the neighborhood)

    • 04/03/2012 12:46 am

      Janosch, eh? C 😎 😎 L!
      We knew Seuss and Milne in England and of course the Beatrix Potter series… I love children’s books. 🙂

  4. 04/03/2012 2:46 am

    Bang on. Dr. Seuss – the King of kids books. I loved him and encouraged my daughter to read them when she was younger. Fantastic. Thx for the reminder.

    • 04/03/2012 10:17 pm

      TY for your comment Stu! My kids read him too and I could still reach for one any day and be entertained. I plan to see The Lorax. 🙂

  5. 04/03/2012 3:09 am

    I adore Dr Seuss. He was a definite influence on my own writing; I love word play.

    I never knew he wrote for adults as well.

    • 07/03/2012 7:47 pm

      Same here… I loved his magical way of using language, the word play, and the humor. The adult books were a surprise to me too. 🙂

  6. 04/03/2012 4:26 am

    I didn’t grow up reading Dr. Seuss books, but I read them to both of my sons. My favorite is Oh, The Places You’ll Go. I probably re-read it every year or two. This post is reminding me it’s about time to read it again. And thanks to introducing me to a few of his books for obsolete kids!

    • 07/03/2012 7:49 pm

      TY Karen. I am looking forward to re-reading some of the books. I checked and we still have copies from when my kids were younger. 🙂

  7. 04/03/2012 4:54 am

    Sounds so fun. My children must love it.

    • 07/03/2012 7:50 pm

      I hope they do… The illustrations, colors, language, and humor makes his books a terrific read for all ages. 🙂

  8. 04/03/2012 7:27 am

    Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    “Adults are obsolete children, and the hell with them.” Dr Seuss
    This from one of my favorite bloggers about one of my favorite authors. I was lucky enough at one point in my training as a clinician to become involved with Transactional Analysis. “I’m Ok, You’re Ok” and “Games People Play” stuff. The TA people speak of your free child, the child reacting to his or her inner nature. The Adult Children of Alcholics focused almost always on the sad inner child. He or she is there but in my humble opinion is best helped by learning to play and be free. Thank you Elizabeth.

    • 07/03/2012 7:52 pm

      TY Katherine for the re-blog. I appreciate the kind words too. I agree with you that we are all best helped by learning to play and be free. 😉

  9. 04/03/2012 7:49 am

    Hmm, learn something everyday. I never knew that Dr. Suess wrote anything for adults. But, I sure did enjoy reading his kid’s book, with or without the kids around. What a gift he was to the world. May he RIP.

    • 07/03/2012 7:54 pm

      Yes, Happy Birthday and RIP Dr. Seuss! I’ve always loved his books and this was a joy to write. 🙂

  10. 04/03/2012 8:03 am

    My students, who are learning English, love Dr. Seuss. Some of his lines are alluded to in other works of literature and are household quotes. He was truly gifted. Thanks for sharing his history.

    • 07/03/2012 7:56 pm

      I can imagine as he wrote in clear and simple English. He was gifted. TY! 🙂

  11. 04/03/2012 8:34 am

    Great post! I love Dr. Seuss because his books were written for his audience. They are fantastical but not dummied down by any means. These days all sorts of folk think they can throw a few words together and publish a children’s book. I think Dr. Seuss should be required reading before anyone writes anything ( or buys anything) for a young child.

    • 07/03/2012 7:58 pm

      I agree with you that it should be required reading for all writers in the genre. TY! 🙂

  12. 04/03/2012 9:32 am

    I’m a big fan and can’t wait to enjoy the Lorax with my grandkids!

    • 07/03/2012 7:59 pm

      I’m planning to see it too… Why not. The inner child will be thrilled. 🙂

  13. 04/03/2012 10:59 am

    I love Dr. Seuss . . . and I got to play one of his characters on stage! I played the Grouch in Green Eggs & Ham . . . I do not like them Sam-I-Am!

    Thanks for featuring his birthday! 😀

    • 07/03/2012 8:01 pm

      TY and I loved his books too… I bet you were an excellent Grouch. 🙂

  14. 04/03/2012 12:01 pm

    Just to let you know, I used this as the basis for today’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Of course, I had to rant a bit, but think you will agree. Thank you so much for all you do to keep us strong.

    • 07/03/2012 8:03 pm

      Oh TY Katherine and I will make sure to check it out… Rant away, it’s good for the soul. 😉

  15. 04/03/2012 2:07 pm

    I still have the Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham memorized from when my children were young.

    I now am a grandmother and get to experience the joy of Seuss all over again. Taking the little one to see the Lorax (more for me than him, he’s just a convenient excuse)

    I’ll never grow up and be obsolete.

    • 07/03/2012 8:08 pm

      Good for you. I still have a few books in our home and will be re-reading them too. Enjoy the movie too! 🙂

  16. 04/03/2012 6:16 pm

    I learned more about Dr. Seuss as I didn’t know he wrote for adults as well. Like most children, I read his books, but was drawn more to fairy tales. I was your typical little girl who liked fantasy with glitter. LOL.

    • 07/03/2012 8:09 pm

      TY! I loved his books as a child too and wasn’t aware of the adult stuff. so, this was fun to write. 🙂

  17. 04/03/2012 7:20 pm

    I really liked Dr. Seuss when I was a kid. I like the “obsolete children” description.

    • 07/03/2012 8:09 pm

      I love the description too… It is perfect. 🙂

  18. 04/03/2012 8:01 pm

    I never knew about the adult books…that comes as a surprise! But I loved reading Dr. Seuss as a teacher, and to my children. My granddaughters are just now beginning to take notice. I never get tired of reading the stories out loud. They are just fun! Debra

    • 07/03/2012 8:12 pm

      Yes, he had the funniest tongue twisting stories and we loved them… The adult stuff was a surprise too. I’m going to catch up and read them again. 🙂

  19. 04/03/2012 8:32 pm

    Never read Dr. Seuss.
    Can’t believe he never had children. What a gift to be able to write with such insight!

    • 07/03/2012 8:13 pm

      Oh, do grab a copy when you have a chance, you’d love it. He was truly gifted. 🙂

  20. 04/03/2012 8:33 pm

    and understanding.

  21. 04/03/2012 9:14 pm

    I really enjoy Dr. Seuss books….The Lorax is a favorite, as is Oh the Places You’ll Go…come to think of it, I love Marvin K Mooney and Green Eggs and Ham too…what wonderful stories he offered to us all…

    • 07/03/2012 8:16 pm

      I loved his books too.. Go watch The Lorax movie. It’ll bring back warm memories. 🙂

  22. Narelle Smith permalink
    04/03/2012 11:35 pm

    Dr Seuss is pure genius!

    • 07/03/2012 8:18 pm

      Exactly… He must have had amazingly vivid dreams at bedtime. 😉

  23. 05/03/2012 12:35 am

    I grew up on Dr. Seuss and now my son is into too. I remember how excited I was seeing the Dr. Seuss park in Orlando Florida. I felt like a kid all over again. Thanks for sharing a post that brings delight to our adult hearts…”one fish, two fish, three fish…horay!”

    • 07/03/2012 8:29 pm

      TY too. I loved his books, as did my kids…H was an amazing author. 🙂

  24. 05/03/2012 5:58 am

    I loved reading this one! I learned so much about someone whose books have been part of my life since childhood but I knew nothing about! How strange that he is so well known for sooo many children’s books but had. O children of his own!

    We, too have the collection and little T just recently read out loud Hop on Pop which is actually over 55 pages! I never realized that til I was having him read it!

    I’m very curious about the adult books now too. I have Oh The Places You Will Go but did not know it was intended for adults. The other two look like fun reading!! Thank you Elizabeth, for a great post ( as usual!)

    • 07/03/2012 8:31 pm

      TY! I even read somewhere that he didn’t exactly like children… Interesting eh? Talk about talent and destiny… I’m checking out the adult stuff now. 🙂

  25. 05/03/2012 11:30 am

    I am STILL celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday! See how old that makes me?

    • 07/03/2012 8:32 pm

      😆 You are funny! We are all aging every day. 🙂

  26. 05/03/2012 3:25 pm

    Never realized “Oh, the places you’ll go” was written for adults! I read Dr. Seuss and read his books to my son. “The Cat in the Hat” is a classic, as is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

    • 07/03/2012 8:34 pm

      Yes, I read the classics and to my kids too. I’m checking out the adult books as I don’t mind reading his work over and over again. 🙂


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