He published nearly 50 books for children, and when we think of him, we smile. Theodor Seuss Giesel mastered whimsey. His stories themselves sparkled with folly and fun. Add to the verse his nonsensical cartoons and caricatures of personality and you hold in your hand a ticket to the world's best carnival.
Most American children know at least one Seuss tale: "The Cat in the Hat", "Green Eggs and Ham", "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish". Children around the world also revel in his nonsensical rhymes and art. His words taught us to read, his stories taught us to wonder. Dr. Seuss mastered whimsey.
As a writer of young adult realistic fiction, you might wonder why I'd spend time reminiscing about an author for preschoolers. Young Adult fiction is a magical place. Our stories hold the hands of young people on the precipice of adulthood. We explore the loss of innocence, rites of passage, moral dilemmas, struggles with friendship, truth, vanity, family, and death. So did Dr. Seuss.
Sally and her brother must decide whether to partake in the Cat's fun and risk disappointing their mother. A boy feels the weight of the world on his shoulders and struggles with how to save the environment. A big clumsy elephant hears voices before he discovers a tiny unseen world, which he must now protect.
Dr. Seuss tackled large themes of youth, moral dilemmas, the conflict with self and society. Dr. Seuss provided plots and themes for adult tales. He did not forget us at that doorstep of darkness, he took our hand and guided us through to the other side of color, light and whimsey.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss. Thanks for the fun.