Over the course of his life, beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss published 60 books, many of which hold a special place in the hearts of young and old readers alike – books like Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While you may already know some interesting facts about Dr. Seuss, such as that his real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, what you may not know is how he got his pen name. It might surprise you to learn that his decision to publish under the name Dr. Seuss was the result of college drinking.
These Dr. Seuss facts will give you an in-depth look at this prolific author and leave you wondering just who is Dr. Seuss. So go forth and read this list because, in the words of the great author, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
Green Eggs & Ham Was Written on a Dare
Seuss’s editor, Bennett Cerf, bet Seuss he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. Seuss took the bet. The result was Green Eggs and Ham, one of the best-selling children books of all time.
If you’re curious, those 50 words are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
His Pen Name Was Created as a Result of College Drinking
While at Dartmouth College in 1925, Theodor Seuss Geisel and his friends were caught drinking gin in his dorm room. This violated Prohibition laws set in place at the time, and Seuss and his friends were put on probation. Seuss also lost his position as editor of Jack-O-Lantern, one of the college’s magazines. Wanting to still be involved in the school’s magazine, Seuss began publishing work under a number of pen names, one of them being Dr. Seuss.
He Never Had Any Children of His OwnPhoto: Vince Bucci, Getty Images
Although most of his work was written for kids, Seuss never had any biological children. However, when he married Audrey Stone, his second wife, he inherited her two children. When asked about why he chose to write children’s books when he didn’t have any of his own, he answered, “You make ’em. I’ll amuse ’em.”
He Added New Words to Our VocabularyPhoto: Penguin Random House / penguinrandomhouse.com
Seuss joins the ranks of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens as an author who has created words that have become part of our everyday discussions. The first written instance of the word “nerd” appears in Seuss’s book If I Ran the Zoo. In it, the main character says that if he were in charge of the zoo, he would “sail to Ka-Troo / And bring back an IT-KUTCH, a PREEP, and a PROO, A NERKLE, a NERD, and SEERSUCKER, too!"