Children across America often have their first exposure to literature through the form of picture books. These books are often filled with images that will resonate in the child’s mind, and contain a moral in which the child should learn from. Perhaps the most famous author of children’s books is Theodor Geisel, who wrote under the pen name Dr. Seuss. His works are celebrated in elementary schools nationwide on Dr. Seuss day, and four of his stories have been adapted into movies. However, Geisel’s most distinct legacy can be found in his distinctive writing style, which provided his young audience with an understanding of realworld issues while conveying them in non intimidating manners. Geisel’s childhood, his experience as a war cartoonist, and his dedication to children’s writings have all attributed to his distinct poetic style.
From a very young age, Geisel was exposed to creative thinking. Geisel was born in
Springfield, Massachusetts, a city that was filled with innovative businesses and ideas. “Horace
Smith and Daniel B. Wesson had founded their revolver business here in 1852, lured by proud craftsmen who had made swords and guns since the American Revolution. The .30caliber, magazinefed Springfield rifle was produced in the local armory and adopted by the United
States Army in 1903, the year before Ted’s Birth” (Morgan 5). Weapons such as the Smith and
Wesson Revolver, and the Springfield Rifle were innovative tools that used creative thinking to revolutionize the ways weapons were designed. Nationwide attention to these products left a lasting impression on the people of Springfield, including Geisel. Springfield is also the birthplace of a sport called Naismithball, now known as basketball. “At the Springfield
International YMCA Training School, young men were playing a game that instructor James
Naismith had devised in 1891 for indoor exercise during the bitter winter. At first it was known
as Naismithball, but its inventor preferred naming it for the peach baskets that he nailed to the gymnasium balconies as goals, so basketball it became. Ted’s father wondered aloud, as they walked home, if their local sport would catch on across the country” (Morgan 12). As basketball established a nationwide reputation, residents of Springfield, including Theodor, were once again reminded of the power of creativity.
Just as many talented artists, athletes, and writers have shown, often times the skill of such a person can be attributed to natural ability, and Geisel is no exception. Nettie, Theodor’s mother, was able to recall her son’s response to rhyme and repetition at a young age: “He knew all the words to the hymn ‘Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord God Almighty!’ and devised a way to recite the books of the Old Testament in rhyme: The great Jehovah speaks to us/ In Genesis and
Exodus;/ Leviticus and Numbers, three,/ Followed by Deuteronomy” (Morgan 11). His father, also named Theodor, also recounted Geisel’s early passion for writing: “‘Ted always had a pencil in hand,’ his father recalled” (Morgan 12). Later, Theodor Sr. would speak of his daily routine: “Ted’s imagination was the outlandish Krazy Kat, drawn by George Herriman. In the evenings he ran to the corner to meet his father, who came home by trolley from the brewery, bringing a copy of the
Boston American with its comic page” (Morgan 12). Geisel’s infatuation with comics eventually influenced his early writing career, as he began to write comedic and war comics. Lastly, Theodor’s career can also be attributed to his raw art talent. While in high school,
Geisel took an art class in hopes of bettering his drawing ability, and later dropped the class after one day because he did not like drawing by the rules of art. This would serve as Geisel’s only formal art training. The story was written in his biography: “Our model that day was a milk bottle containing a few scraggly late autumn daisies. I…