Submitted by: Vivian Orr, SCC Communications and Publications Coordinator
Who doesn’t love the work of Theodor Geisel, known to the world as Dr. Seuss, author of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?”, “Green Eggs and Ham”, “The Lorax” and so many more well loved books.
In this coffee table book “Dr. Seuss The Cat Behind the Hat” (Caroline M. Smith, 2012) you get a glimpse of the man and his boundless creativity; author, illustrator, painter, sculptor, political cartoonist and adman.
I riffled through the book and fell head first for “The Seuss System of Unorthodox Taxidermy”. Sculpted of plaster, painted with oils, incorporating horns or feathers and mounted on wood, these “trophies” with their expressive faces just made me smile. Some of the first were created and displayed in NYC bookstores to promote Seuss’ 1938 book “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.”
Another thing that caught my eye was his original sketches for “The Cat in the Hat”. There is a lovely looseness to them with layers of type written text glued in place. This book was based on a list of 223 beginner’s words and written in anapestic tetrameter (try and say that fast three times); a cadence that was easy for young readers to grasp and now, instantly recognized by generations of people.
An intriguing part of the book is Ted Geisel’s private artworks, what he called his “Midnight Paintings”. Some are dark and ominous, others bright and colourful, and some are quite comical.
As one of the few men in town who worked from home, Ted lightheartedly considered himself a “bird watcher on the social scene,” always looking to create gentle spoofs of his chic female friends.
I particularly liked “View from a Window of a Rented Beach Cottage”. A cheerfully irreverent oil painting of a woman tanning on the beach with a sun umbrella sprouting from her navel, cleverly framed behind a wood window frame with the screen still in it.
If you are looking for a book that the whole family can enjoy pick this one up. Available at the Saskatoon Public Library Fine Arts section or at Amazon
“I don’t write for children – I write for people.”
~ Dr. Seuss