New Dr. Seuss v. new Harper Lee

Many of my friends expressed great anticipation at finally reading new words from Harper Lee.

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JEOPARDY! episode #7008, aired 2015-02-18. Category: SEUSSIAN KEYWORDS

“Oom-pahs and boom-pahs” help this title elephant save folks from “Beezle-Nut oil”

“A ten-foot beard” & “a sleigh and an elephant” are said to be on this street

Sylvester McMonkey McBean dealt with “Star-Belly” & “Plain-Belly” these, who hung out “on the beaches”

“Flupp Flupp Flupp” & “the Father of the Father of Nadd” are found within his “500 Hats”

“Truffula Fruits”, “bar-ba-loot suits” & “Humming-Fish” are in the world of this title fella

Answers at the end.
***
I was delighted to discover that there were more Dr. Seuss stories, released in 2014, that had never been published in book form before.

The challenge of figuring out what was true about the children’s author drove [Northampton, MA dentist Charles] Cohen to spend more than 25,000 hours studying the life and work of Ted Geisel.

Over the course of his research, he kept seeing references to Dr. Seuss stories that he’d never heard and at first thought were just more misinformation. A trip to the magazine archives of the Boston Public Library proved otherwise.

There, in Redbook issues from the 1940s and 1950s, Cohen discovered approximately 30 Dr. Seuss stories that had never made it into books.

The illustrations, though tiny, were unmistakably Seussian, as were the themes, settings, characters, morals, rhythm and rhyme of the stories.

My affection for Seuss – whose name is often misspelled as Suess, even in the URL of the Newsweek story above – comes in large part because his characters were often taking on pompous authority figures. The king in Yertle the Turtle, a book I’d only first read in the last decade, literally takes a fall from his throne of oppression. My all-time favorite Seuss book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, shows the lad chastising the king for his foolishness.

Yes, these “new” stories were published, but lost, until fairly recently.

In July 2015, a recently discovered manuscript with illustrations called “What Pet Should I Get” will be released. Random House “plans at least two more books, based on materials found in 2013 in the author’s home in La Jolla, California, by his widow and secretary.” Good news.

I was also pleased by the announcement that the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird was going to be published, over half a century after the original. Many of my friends expressed great anticipation at finally reading “new” words from Harper Lee.

Then the backlash came. Don’t Publish Harper Lee’s New Novel, HarperCollins. The argument is that the author is “increasingly blind and deaf.” Importantly, “Lee’s protective older sister Alice died last year at the age of 103. And now, 60 years after stashing it in a box and stowing it away, the notoriously shy author decides to send an apparently unedited novel into the world?” Moreover, many of her neighbors are quoted as saying that they “believe her wishes for her career are not being respected.”

I’m feeling quite ambivalent about this. If Go Set a Watchman had come out posthumously, as some of the Seuss material is, would that have been a better outcome for Ms. Lee and/or her fans?

Not incidentally, today would have been Dr. Seuss’ 111th birthday.
***
I took one of those online quiz things, Which Dr. Seuss Character Are You?

Kind, curious, sweet, and small
You are easily the cutest of them all!

With eyes full of wonder
And dreams ne’r too big
Your heart lives to love
and your hands itch to dig

You care deeply for others
And take them as your own
Your heart is enormous
This you have surely shown

Our official results
peg you and Cindy Lou
As one and the same
Tis nothing but true!

This is SO wrong…
***
Oh, the Places You’ll Go

JEOPARDY! responses: Horton; Mulberry Street; the Sneetches; Bartholomew (Cubbins); the Lorax.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “New Dr. Seuss v. new Harper Lee”

  1. Took the test. I am Cindy Lou Who! Funny, because my original middle name was Louise, and Lex (LEX ONLY) calls me Amy Lou. So now I imagine he will call me Amy Lou Who! Amy

  2. I find most Dr. Seuss books have deeper moral lessons than most people realize. I thoroughly love every one of them. If they publish another collection….I’m there.

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