The wit and wisdom of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

I have read and re-read — usually to my children, grandchildren, and their friends –all of the Dr. Suess books. These are among my favorite observations by Theordor Seuss Geisel, one of the very few people who is comparable with the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and more recently, with Burr Tillstrom, Fred Rogers, Walt Disney, Maurice Sendak, and Joan Ganz Cooney.
Oh, the places he’s seen!
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Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.
I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.
You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.
Only you can control your future.
Fun is good.
When at last we are sure, You’ve been properly pilled, Then a few paper forms, Must be properly filled. So that you and your heirs, May be properly billed.
A person’s a person, no matter how small.
You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.
Whenever things go a bit sour in a job I’m doing, I always tell myself, “You can do better than this.”
I meant what I said and I said what I meant.
The main problem with writing in verse is, if your fourth line doesn’t come out right, you’ve got to throw four lines away and figure out a whole new way to attack the problem. So the mortality rate is terrific.
I stay out of politics because if I begin thinking too much about politics, I’ll probably… drop writing children’s books and become a political cartoonist again.
I was saving the name of “Geisel” for the Great American Novel.
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
The problem with writing a book in verse is, to be successful, it has to sound like you knocked it off on a rainy Friday afternoon. It has to sound easy. When you can do it, it helps tremendously because it’s a thing that forces kids to read on. You have this unconsummated feeling if you stop.
Sometimes, when I see my granddaughters make small discoveries of their own, I wish I were a child.
Adults are obsolete children.
Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.
Preachers in pulpits talked about what a great message is in the book. No matter what you do, somebody always imputes meaning into your books.
Every once in a while, I get mad. The Lorax came out of my being angry. The ecology books I’d read were dull… In The Lorax, I was out to attack what I think are evil things and let the chips fall where they might.
I start drawing, and eventually the characters involve themselves in a situation. Then in the end, I go back and try to cut out most of the preachments.
Hollywood is not suited for me, and I am not suited for it.
I am not a consecutive writer.
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I recently read and am now re-reading — and highly recommend — Brian Jay Jones’s biography, Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination, published by Dutton/Penguin Random House (May 2019).
For at least some biographical information about him, please click here.
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