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Thursday, July 10, 2014

HHHH Inducts Theodor S. Geisel

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
--- Dr. Seuss

The great advantage of books is that people like Homer, Aristophanes, or Donald Trump can speak to people born thousands of years after they have ceased to convert O2 to CO2. While I wouldn’t necessarily inflict Donald Trump on the people of the forty-first century, I wish them Dr. Seuss with all my heart.
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
--- Dr. Seuss
His first publication was a series of four chapbooks that were combined into The Pocket Book of Boners, (1931) a title which (sadly) doesn’t translate well for the modern children’s market, but nine years later, he introduced us to the wonderful Horton
 in Horton Hatches the Egg (1940). Horton re-appeared over a decade later in Horton Hears a Who! (1954). Horton was, and continues to be, one of the great teachers of my life in the areas of kindness, patience, perseverance, and acceptance of others.
I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!”
A person's a person, no matter how small.”
--- Horton

It also helped that the Horton books are smashing reads.

Speaking of smashing reads, how about How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), The Cat in the Hat (1957), The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (1958), Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (1958)?
Courtesy of Joe T. can you decipher this 1960 Dr. Seuss book title?

Then came Green Eggs and Ham (1960).
What is it about this classic that drives so many of us to commit it to memory? Could it be that we recognize that there are secrets and insights children know that are forgotten as adults?
Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.”
--- Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss created books to help children read (Hop on Pop – 1963), develop vocal dexterity (Fox in Socks – 1965), connect visual skills with verbal (I Can Draw It Myself – 1970), and appreciate their environment (The Lorax – 1971).
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
--- Dr. Seuss

During the turbulent times of the late 60s and early 70s, Dr. Seuss had a way of looking beyond the conflict that divided people…
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”
--- Dr. Seuss

…and taught us to appreciate the wonder of our existence…

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” 
--- Dr. Seuss

…and how each of us makes the choices that give our lives meaning. As he said in Oh The Places You’ll Go (1990), the last book published before his death in 1991.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
--- Dr. Seuss

Over the years I’ve heard a number of publishers say words along the lines of – Don’t give me anything like Dr. Seuss. No rhymes. No nonsense words. It’s been done – we don’t need any others.
What I hear is – Don’t give me anything like Jesus. No Gandhi. No Dr. King. We’ve heard about peace – the world doesn’t need to hear any more.
And the publishing industry is wondering why it’s in such trouble.

And so – for being a great writer, illustrator, philosopher, maker of nonsense, and a lover of child-like wonder, I induct Theodor Dr. Seuss Geisel into the Headley Hauser Hall of Honor (pronounced Hawner.)
Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than to remember me and cry.”

--- Dr. Seuss

Part 1

Part 2