Becoming Dr. Seuss: Book summary and reviews of Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones

Becoming Dr. Seuss

Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination

by Brian Jay Jones

Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones X
Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones
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  • Published in USA  May 2019
    496 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

The definitive, fascinating, all-reaching biography of Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss is a classic American icon. Whimsical and wonderful, his work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. The silly, simple rhymes are a bottomless well of magic, his illustrations timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh. The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Horton, and so many more, are his troupe of beloved, and uniquely Seussian, creations.

Theodor Geisel, however, had a second, more radical side. It is there that the allure and fasciation of his Dr. Seuss alter ego begins. He had a successful career as an advertising man and then as a political cartoonist, his personal convictions appearing, not always subtly, throughout his books—remember the environmentalist of The Lorax? Geisel was a complicated man on an important mission. He introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well.

Agonizing over word choices and rhymes, touching up drawings sometimes for years, he upheld a rigorous standard of perfection for his work. Geisel took his responsibility as a writer for children seriously, talking down to no reader, no matter how small. And with classics like Green Eggs and Ham, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Geisel delighted them while they learned. Suddenly, reading became fun.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Whether readers are familiar with Dr. Seuss books or not, they will find this biography absorbing and fascinating." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Comprehensive and thoughtful...Fans of Dr. Seuss will find much to love in this candid but admiring portrait." - Publishers Weekly

"Finally! ...It comes as no surprise that Theodore Geisel was a born story-teller; prying truth from fact, Jones pins our favorite fabulist nimbly, colorfully, and splendidly to the page." - Stacy Schiff, author of The Witches

"[A] poignant, affecting tale of a man who mastered the art of concision through imagination and sheer toil yet could never bring such exactitude to his own life." - Caroline Fraser, author of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Once again, Brian Jay Jones takes us on a beguiling deep dive into the life of one of the leading lights of American popular culture. Written with verve and warmth and a close attention to both the life and the times in which it was lived, Becoming Dr. Seuss brims with charm and humor from beginning to end." - William Souder, author of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson.

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Author Information

Brian Jay Jones

Brian Jay Jones is the critically-acclaimed, bestselling biographer of three books on some of the world's most iconic creative figures, including Jim Henson: The Biography and George Lucas: A Life. For nearly three decades, he has served as a speechwriter for elected officials at all levels of government, including ten years in the United States Senate.

Brian currently lives in Virginia with his wife and a very excitable dog.

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