Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

By Shannon Smith

On March 2, 2010, Belmont University students and faculty celebrated the 106th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss, in a convo event in Massey 109. The celebration of Seuss’ life and work commenced with a group reading of his popular The Foot Book, followed by a discussion of his pleasing word choices, unusual rhyme schemes, and unique illustrations.

Dr. Rachael Flynn-Hopper, from the Department of Education, provided listeners with a wealth of little-known information about Geisel. Dr. Seuss is renowned, of course, for the 48 children’s books he published. What many don’t know is that he also wrote for publications such as Vanity Fair, devised advertising slogans, and even created the first animated training films for the soldiers in World War II. While attending college at Dartmouth, Seuss was the editor for the campus humor magazine. After publishing a piece that got him fired from the job, he adopted the name “Seuss” so he could still contribute.

Seuss classified himself as a doodler by trade and at heart; many have unsuccessfully tried to imitate his intricate drawing style. Seuss also selected colors that would be distinctive.

Dr. Seuss’ goal in writing children’s stories was to encourage kids to read. His first book was And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street. This work was turned down by 27 publishers before a friend agreed to do the job. One of his most popular books, Green Eggs and Ham, was written in response to a bet that challenged him to write a book using 50 or fewer words.

Our celebration slowly came to a close as we read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day and watched a clip from an animated version of The Sneetches, a Seuss story that symbolically examines the folly of racial discrimination. We parted quoting the wonderful Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Shannon Smith is a Senior BU English Major.