As one of America’s most beloved children’s authors and illustrators, Dr. Seuss has enticed millions to enjoy reading and drawing.Saturday Jan. 17 and Sunday, Jan. 18, Seuss will be celebrated at a family event combining art and readings at Clarkston’s Abuzz Theatre (see info below). While actors read from his work, art will be on display by artists from Lewiston’s Fourth Wall Gallery. There will be Seuss-inspired games, face painting and food available for purchase.
By the time he died in 1991, Theodor Geisel, who wrote under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, had written and illustrated 44 children’s books. Here’s five facts about Seuss you maybe didn’t know.
1. Geisel’s grandparents were German immigrants. His grandfather and father were brewmasters in his hometown of Springfield, Mass., where the artist was born in 1904.
2. Seuss was Geisel’s mother’s maiden name. He said Henrietta Seuss Geisel inspired his work by lulling her children to sleep chanting rhymes recalled from her childhood.
3. At Dartmouth College, Geisel became editor-in-chief of the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine. His tenure quickly ended after he and friends were caught throwing a drinking party during Prohibition. He continued to clandestinely contribute to the magazine under the name Seuss.
4. Outraged by World War II, Geisel drew more than 400 editorial cartoons for the liberal P.M. Magazine criticizing U.S. isolationists, Nazi and Japanese leaders and Japanese Americans. Hitler was drawn as a turtle, a character that later reappeared in his 1958 book, “Yertle the Turtle.” Today some of his war-era cartoons are viewed as xenophobic, inflammatory and promoting stereotypes. Later in life, Geisel regretted this and said some of his political cartoons were “hurriedly and embarrassingly drawn” and “full of many snap judgments.”
5. Seuss’ story is told through bronze sculptures of his characters at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museums in Massachusetts. The Lorax and Yertle the Turtle were cast at Valley Bronze in Joseph, Ore.
If You Go
What: “The Seuss Show”
When: 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17 and 18
Where: Abuzz Theatre Company, 909 Sixth St., Clarkston
Cost: $10 adults, $5 children 16 and younger, $25 for a family of two adults and two children
Tickets are available in advance at the Fourth Wall Gallery’s new location at 832 Main St., (208) 743-9999 and online at thefourthwallgallery.com.