These are the books that I used for my research. They are fantastic, but very different in their approach.
Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel
by Judith & Neil Morgan
Published by Da Capo Press Inc. in 1995
“[The authors] vividly depict a quiet but exuberant man with a keen wit and biting–though never mean-spirited–sense of humor. A pleasant combination of fact and anecdote, this volume is a fitting tribute.”
– Publishers Weekly
This biography by Judith and Neil Morgan is more of a narrative. They write as if they had a camera following Ted Geisel from his humble beginnings in Springfield, Massachusetts, all the way to his death on September 24th, 1991. However, it does not feel made up or over dramatic. They depict Theodore Geisel in a way that his friends and family feel was true to his real personality and all of their facts are well supported by various documents and interviews.
I am a fan of the simple black and white cover, but I own the original bright yellow cover, which does a lovely job of showing us a simple and happy Theodore Geisel.
Dr. Seuss: American Icon
by Philip Nel
Published Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. in 2004
“Mr. Nel has done his homework…he draws on a wealth of esoteric knowledge.”
– The New York Sun
Philip Nel writes this biography with a clear thesis in mind. He is very wordy and it is organized more by points he’s trying to make then chronology. He has strong opinions on what he is writing and you can see his passion, but I don’t always agree with the way he interprets things. It is very well thought out and supported by many articles and literary journals. He often uses the Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel biography as well.
He does a great job of supporting his thesis and I do agree that Dr. Seuss is an American Icon, so I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys reading research papers and having facts laid out on a specific topic.
The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, And Nothing But The Seuss
by Charles D. Cohen
Published by Random House in 2004
If you are more of a visual person then this biography is absolutely for you. I love it, but it is definitely more focused on all of his work, not just children’s books. Cohen includes tid-bits from his college doodles all the way to his personal art that was not published until after Seuss’s death. Cohen does an amazing job of showing us Theodore Geisel’s entire collection of work and there are pictures for EVERYTHING. If you want to know more about what Seuss was surrounded by as a child or the various companies he worked for, before and while, he was writing children’s books then I would definitely recommend this amazing book.
Dr. Seuss from THEN to NOW
by The San Diego Museum of Art
Published by Random House in 1986
Dr. Seuss from Then to Now is “the first major retrospective exhibition of the work of Dr. Seuss.” It was put together by the San Diego Museum of Art in 1986. That is the same year that Seuss published You’re Only Old Once so this catalogue does not include his final book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go or any of his posthumous work. Just for that reason I think it is worth taking a look at. It is short and almost all of its content is in other, more complete, collections that were published after his death, but to hear how Steven L. Brezzo, the Director of the San Diego Museum of Art, describes the first generation of Seuss enthusiast is really touching. There are also some great preliminary sketches included in the mostly colored images.
The Cat Behind the Hat (aka Secrets of the Deep)
by Caroline M. Smith
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC in 2012
The Cat Behind the Hat is a beautiful collection of the art of Dr. Seuss. It was originally published as Secrets of the Deep in 2010, but was revised and rereleased with this new title. Most of it is from his private collection, but there is a lot of selections from his advertising work, political cartoons, and children’s books. The actual information given in the text of the book is very little compared to the Morgan and Morgan biography or even the American Icon biography, but the size and brilliant color of the images inside definitely make this book worthy of any home library.
Thanks for reading,