Dr. Seuss: The Pied Piper of Children’s Poetry
Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904, was the author who spirited away a generation of children from their parents into a world of mesmerizing rhymes, strange characters, and free thinking. And with personified characters such as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas he imparted values to the children of the WWII post baby boom such as the importance of spiritual things over materal goods and the importance of being able to think outside the box and resist the status quo.
Seuss was the most wildly popular illustrator and children’s author of his time, and the secret to this Bard’s success lay in large part to his enchanting rhymes and mesmerizing meters. His most commonly used meter was called anapestic tetrameter which consists of two weak syllables followed by a strong syllable from this example from Wiki Pedia
And today the Great Yertle
that Marvelous he
Is King of the Mud. That is all
he can see.
But some of his verse also contained a kind of meter wherein every other was the stressed syllable called amphibrachic tetrameter, and most of his rhyme schemes most often consisted of AABB and ABCB all these elements together giving the poetry a the sing-songy appeal most familiar to children:
All ready to put up the tents
for my circus.
I think I will call it the circus
“Dr. Seuss”Giesel was an undergraduate at Dartmouth College and a graduate student at Lincoln College where he adoted the “Dr.” in front of his name when he did not finish his doctorate studies. After college he became an illustrator for Vanity Fair Magazine and a prosperous advertiser for Standard Oil. During WWII Giesel became a satirical political cartoonist for New York’s PM Magazine and wrote his first children’s book entitled “And To Think That I First Saw It on Mulberry Street, which
was subsequently rejected by 30 publishers before it found a home. All in all he wrote 60 children’s books and one adult book which flopped. He said about adults, “Adults are obsolete children. To hell with them.”
‘Dr. Seuss” Giesel was born Springfield, Massachusetts and died on
September 24, 1991 in La Jolla, California at the ripe old age of 87 and sold over 600 million copies of his books and won the Pulitzer prize for his massive contribution to literature. He led a long, prosperous and prolific life,