"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."
An American cartoonist and writer, Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904–1991), more commonly known as Dr. Seuss (pronounced "soyss," although he later accepted "sooss"), was famous for his 65 children's books.
Most of his work liberally uses rhyming schemes, illogical logic, fantastical buildings, nonsensical vocabulary, and sometimes incorporate Anvilicious-ness (READ: The Lorax, The Sneetches), as well as art. This, at the time, was fairly radical and the epitome of advant-garde, though not by today's standards. Seuss was a lifelong inhabitant of Springfield, Massachusetts, and drew inspiration from his surroundings; for instance, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street took place on the street he himself lived on (note that in real life it's a lot less impressive).
On the less savory side, while he opposed anti-semitism Seuss is also known for being quite racist towards Japanese in his WWII-era political cartoons (here's an example), though he later realized such work was inappropriate and felt horrible about it and was against Jim Crow, even basing one book on getting over small differences (also dedicating Horton Hears a Who to a Japanese friend). He would probably enjoy that hand-drawn, Animesque spoof in the Horton movie quite a lot!
Speaking of, much of his work has been movie-fied, whether by animation or live-action. The only movie he himself made was The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. He did collaborate with various directors (most famously, Chuck Jones) in adapting his stories for television, but again, those were TV specials, and not feature-length. When he passed away, the rights to all his stories and characters went to his widow, and no adaptations could be made unless she approved it. After the dismal adaptation of The Cat In The Hat soured her for the casting of Mike Myers (whom she was strongly against) and the adult jokes that clashed with the family friendly nature of the books, she declared that any feature Seuss adaptations will only be animated from now on.
There's also Seuss Landing, a portion of Universal's Islands of Adventure, which features rides, costumed characters and other attractions based on the books.
Also, he seems to be the guy who invented the word "Nerd".
Books published under the name Dr. Seuss, in order of release:
- And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937)
- The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938)
- The King's Stilts (1939)
- The Seven Lady Godivas (1939)
- Horton Hatches the Egg (1940)
- McElligot's Pool (1947)
- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose (1948)
- Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949)
- If I Ran the Zoo (1950)
- Scrambled Eggs Super! (1953)
- Horton Hears a Who (1954)
- On Beyond Zebra! (1955)
- If I Ran the Circus (1956)
- 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)
- Happy Birthday to You! (1959)
- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1959)
- Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
- The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961)
- Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book (1962)
- Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! (1963)
- Hop on Pop (1963)
- Fox in Socks (1965)
- I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew (1965)
- The Cat in the Hat Song Book (1967)
- The Foot Book (1968)
- I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! and Other Stories (1969)
- My Book about ME (1970)
- I Can Draw It Myself (1970)
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss's Book of Wonderful Noises! (1970)
- The Lorax (1972)
- Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! (1972)
- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1973)
- The Shape of Me and Other Stuff (1973)
- There's a Wocket in My Pocket! (1974)
- Great Day for Up! (1974)
- Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! (1975)
- The Cat's Quizzer (1976)
- I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! (1978)
- Oh Say Can You Say? (1979)
- Hunches in Bunches (1982)
- The Butter Battle Book (1984)
- You're Only Old Once! : A Book for Obsolete Children (1986)
- I Am NOT Going to Get Up Today! (1987)
- The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough (1987)
- Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990)
Books published posthumously under his name:
- Daisy-Head Mayzie (1995)
- My Many Colored Days (1996, but originally written in 1973)
- Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! (1998)
- The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011)
Books published under the pen names Theo. Le Sieg and Rosetta Stone
- Ten Apples Up on Top! (1961)
- I Wish That I Had Duck Feet (1965)
- Come over to My House (1966)
- The Eye Book (1968)
- I Can Write (1971)
- In a People House (1972)
- Wacky Wednesday (1974)
- The Many Mice of Mr. Brice a.k.a. The Pop-Up Mice of Mr. Brice (1974)
- Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog? (1975)
- Hooper Humperdink...? Not Him! (1976)
- Please Try to Remember the First of Octember! (1977)
- Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet! (1980)
- The Tooth Book (1981)
- Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo! (1975; this was the one written under the "Rosetta Stone" Pen Name)
Animated Theatrical Shorts and TV Specials made during his lifetime:
- Horton Hatches the Egg (1942)
- Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950)
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
- Horton Hears a Who (1970)
- The Cat in the Hat (1971)
- The Lorax (1973)
- Dr. Seuss on the Loose (1973, included "The Sneetches", "The Zax", and "Green Eggs and Ham")
- The Hoober Bloob Highway (1975)
- Halloween Is Grinch Night (1977)
- Pontoffel Pock Where Are You (1980)
- The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982)
- The Butter Battle Book (1989)
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (Dr. Seuss characters as Muppets!, 1996-7)
- Gerald McBoingBoing (2005-7)
- The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!! (2010-)
Live-action films written by Dr. Seuss or based on his works:
- Our Job in Germany (1945)
- Your Job in Japan (1945)
- Design For Death (1947, an expansion of Your Job in Japan)
- The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953; Seuss's only non-propaganda live-action film during his lifetime)
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
- The Cat In The Hat (2003)
- Horton Hears A Who! (2008)
- The Lorax (2012)
- Dr. Seuss Goes To War (WW 2 political cartoons)
- The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss (personal paintings, collages, and unusual taxidermy)
- The Advertising Artwork of Dr. Seuss
Trope-based books include:
- Grass Is Greener: I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
- Green Aesop: The Lorax is a condemnation of short-sighted consumerism.
- Silly Reason for War: The Butter Battle Book, a condemnation of the Cold War and Mutually-Assured Destruction
- Sacred Hospitality: Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, in which the animals who take advantage of Thidwick's generous nature meet an unpleasant end.
Dr. Seuss and his books provide examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Horton Hears A Who
- Adaptation Expansion: All of the feature films.
- Aerith and Bob: In The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins there is Bartholomew Cubbins, King Derwin, Mr. Snippets, Alrec and the Grand Duke Wilfred.
- An Aesop: Most books that aren't simple rhyming books contain one (notably The Lorax, The Butter Battle Book, Green Eggs & Ham, and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?)
- Affectionate Parody: The Veggie Tales episode "A Snoodle's Tale" is done in the rhyming style of Seuss's work.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: The titular characters of The Seven Lady Godivas are drawn this way.
- Bowdlerise: In The Lorax, the Lorax's line, "I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie," was removed from the book in 1985 after two research associates from the Ohio Sea Grant Program wrote to Seuss about the clean-up of Lake Erie. However, the same line is still kept in the 1972 TV Animated Adaptation (it is spoken by one of the Humming Fish), even in the VHS and DVD releases.
- Catch Phrase: Horton the Elephant has two: "A person is a person, no matter how small" (Horton Hears A Who) and "An elephant is faithful 100%" (Horton Hatches An Egg).
- Cloudcuckoolander: Read one of his books. Just ONE of them.
- Creator Provincialism: Seuss lived in Springfield, Massachusetts for the entirety of his youth and drew inspiration from his surroundings. Springfield is mentioned in several of his works (most notably Mulberry Street) and some of his illustrations are surreal versions of real places in town. Today the Springfield central library has an outdoor shrine to him that includes statues of him and various characters.
- Determinator: The Lorax gets a speech that illustrates this well in his book's 1970's Animated Adaptation.
I speak for the trees! Let 'em grow, let 'em grow!
- Evil Chancellor: Droon of The King's Stilts. Well, more of a Jerkass Chancellor anyway.
- Fantastic Racism: The driving plot of the Sneetches story.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Attempted. In his original draft of Hop on Pop, he tried to sneak "contraceptive" into the words the kid lists off that he's learning about. However, his editor caught it and made him change it.
- He Also Did: Seriously, who today expected Dr. Seuss to be a former political cartoonist during World War II?
- Honorable Elephant: Horton is always faithful, one hundred percent.
- Ignored Epiphany: The Once-ler does this twice in the 1972 Animated Adaptation of The Lorax. Once when the Bar-ba-Loots were sent away, and again when the Swomee Swans and Humming Fish leave. The latter instance segues into his rant from the climax of the book. Averted in the Sneetches where the Sneetches realized they shouldn’t discriminate against each other.
- Karma Houdini: McBean in the Sneetches doesn’t get his comeuppance for taking all the Sneetches’ money. While his business is legit, it also makes it clear that he’s an opportunist who was taking advantage of the Sneetches the whole time. Admittedly, some of them were jerks, but some weren’t. On the lighter side, the Sneetches actually learn a lesson from him.
- The Movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Cat In The Hat, Horton Hears A Who!, The Lorax
- Name's the Same: Mayzie, a bird from Horton Hatches the Egg and Mayzie of Daisy-Head Mayzie.
- Also used in the opening of the movie of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", which implied that these were the same "Whos" from "Horton Hears a Who" and showed the entire action taking place on a snowflake.
- Non-Indicative Name: There's a Wocket In My Pocket does not contain any Wockets.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The vug under the rug from There's a Wocket In My Pocket. It is never shown, appearing only as a lump under a rug in a dark room, and the only detail the reader knows about it is that it's the only creature the narrator is afraid of. This character, along with the red under the bed, was scary enough to be scrapped from the 1996 reprint.
- Only Six Faces: Even though the good Doctor is very good at defining characters, some of his male protagonists look remarkably similar to each other and to other characters, such as Herman "Butch" Stroodel of Daisy-Head Mayzie to the protagonist of There's a Wocket in My Pocket.
- Mayzie herself looks similar to Sally from The Cat in the Hat.
- Parental Bonus: The entirety of You're Only Old Once!
- Sdrawkcab Name: One of Seuss's pen names is LeSieg, which is his real surname (Geisel) backwards.
- Sneeze of Doom: Because A Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!. The whole thing escalates up to an entire town in absolute chaos because of that bug.
- Thematic Series: His Dr. Seuss books are all linked thematically but aren't typically in any sort of continuity.