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The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel

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Theodor Seuss Geisel, creator of Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and a madcap menagerie of the best-loved children's characters of all time, stands alone as the preeminent figure of children's literature. But Geisel was a private man who was happier at the drawing table than he was across from any reporter or would-be biographer. Under the thoughtful s Theodor Seuss Geisel, creator of Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and a madcap menagerie of the best-loved children's characters of all time, stands alone as the preeminent figure of children's literature. But Geisel was a private man who was happier at the drawing table than he was across from any reporter or would-be biographer. Under the thoughtful scrutiny of Charles D. Cohen, Geisel's lesser known works yield valuable insights into the imaginative and creative processes of one of the 20th century's most original thinkers.


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Theodor Seuss Geisel, creator of Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and a madcap menagerie of the best-loved children's characters of all time, stands alone as the preeminent figure of children's literature. But Geisel was a private man who was happier at the drawing table than he was across from any reporter or would-be biographer. Under the thoughtful s Theodor Seuss Geisel, creator of Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and a madcap menagerie of the best-loved children's characters of all time, stands alone as the preeminent figure of children's literature. But Geisel was a private man who was happier at the drawing table than he was across from any reporter or would-be biographer. Under the thoughtful scrutiny of Charles D. Cohen, Geisel's lesser known works yield valuable insights into the imaginative and creative processes of one of the 20th century's most original thinkers.

30 review for The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    After recently reading Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination, I was pleased to be able to flip through Charles D. Cohen's visual biography. The book complements the aforementioned piece nicely, providing visual support for much of Theodor Seuss Geisel's life through the art he created. Anyone familiar with Geisel's life and his artwork will find much pleasure in this piece, which offers detailed depictions of the man's progressively more detailed and intuit After recently reading Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination, I was pleased to be able to flip through Charles D. Cohen's visual biography. The book complements the aforementioned piece nicely, providing visual support for much of Theodor Seuss Geisel's life through the art he created. Anyone familiar with Geisel's life and his artwork will find much pleasure in this piece, which offers detailed depictions of the man's progressively more detailed and intuitive pieces, as well as noticing the shift from 'adult-based' drawing to those geared for the younger person. Cohen's work, a coffee table book, if I may use such a generic labelling, is full of wonderful drawings and illustrations, with added descriptions to help the reader better grasp the vast collection that is before them in this tome. While I am much more of a story-based biography reader, Cohen's book helped fill in the gaps that I missed while reading the aforementioned biography. A great piece of work that I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in Dr. Seuss and how he rose to prominence.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    So far, great collection of Dr.Seuss artwork and stories of his path to become a great illustrator and story-teller. Ironic how some cartoons drawn during WWII could be applicable today. Already feel like I'm getting to know much more about 'Theodore Seuss Geisel' than I ever could guess from reading 'The Cat in the Hat'! So far, great collection of Dr.Seuss artwork and stories of his path to become a great illustrator and story-teller. Ironic how some cartoons drawn during WWII could be applicable today. Already feel like I'm getting to know much more about 'Theodore Seuss Geisel' than I ever could guess from reading 'The Cat in the Hat'!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    The best Seuss biography I've read to date. Very well written, this book sets the stage for Seuss's work by discussing the time periods in which Seuss grew up and was working. I was fascinated by the way the author revealed how Seuss's influences colored his own work. This book gives readers a sense of how Seuss was received by his critics and what he made of it all, but presents the information in such a way as to allow the reader to make his own judgment. There are numerous examples of Seuss's The best Seuss biography I've read to date. Very well written, this book sets the stage for Seuss's work by discussing the time periods in which Seuss grew up and was working. I was fascinated by the way the author revealed how Seuss's influences colored his own work. This book gives readers a sense of how Seuss was received by his critics and what he made of it all, but presents the information in such a way as to allow the reader to make his own judgment. There are numerous examples of Seuss's work both in children's literature and advertising, and quite a bit of it was new to me. For anyone young or old who has ever wanted to know more about the man who created such memorable characters such as the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch, this is a must read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Radigan

    This is actually more of a collection of Ted Geisel's artistic creations over his lifetime than a biography of the artist himself. It shows a wide range of his artwork and writings from his college days until near the end of his life. and how he came up with idea of creating all sorts of fantastic beasts and snarky poetry. Spending the first half of his career on doing advertising work for major companies as well as doing propaganda for the Second World War, it was in the 1950's when he was intr This is actually more of a collection of Ted Geisel's artistic creations over his lifetime than a biography of the artist himself. It shows a wide range of his artwork and writings from his college days until near the end of his life. and how he came up with idea of creating all sorts of fantastic beasts and snarky poetry. Spending the first half of his career on doing advertising work for major companies as well as doing propaganda for the Second World War, it was in the 1950's when he was introduced to the topic of writing for children and deciding to pursue a career in that. The author finds plenty of Geisel's obscure creations as well as his famous ones, and how his attitudes changed over the years according to what he drew and how, but we learn little of Geisel himself, who was quite a private man. Some details of his personal life, such as his first wife's suicide, do suggest that Geisel had good reason not to tell too much about himself as a person.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile, and I was a bit disappointed. I personally didn't like the organization of the book, 9I would have preferred it to be chronological) and I found the writing thorough, but didn't keep me engaged. I read the first maybe 1/3, then skimmed the rest. I don't know how to explain my dislike except this book just wasn't what I was expecting. While the information is all there, the organization doesn't *quite* make sense to me, and the writing is dry. I was I've been wanting to read this book for awhile, and I was a bit disappointed. I personally didn't like the organization of the book, 9I would have preferred it to be chronological) and I found the writing thorough, but didn't keep me engaged. I read the first maybe 1/3, then skimmed the rest. I don't know how to explain my dislike except this book just wasn't what I was expecting. While the information is all there, the organization doesn't *quite* make sense to me, and the writing is dry. I was expecting more of a pictorial biography, and that's not really what this was. I'd recommend other books on Seuss before this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zuly

    This is a lovely book to have around--to dip into and take away something cheerful and to see the world a tad differently after reading about this artist's life. On my Christmas list to have around. I don't understand the author's disclaimer about his research at the start. He says he has no special connection to research the Seuss or interview those close to him, but the book delves deeply into the life. How lucky we are to have Suess. This is a lovely book to have around--to dip into and take away something cheerful and to see the world a tad differently after reading about this artist's life. On my Christmas list to have around. I don't understand the author's disclaimer about his research at the start. He says he has no special connection to research the Seuss or interview those close to him, but the book delves deeply into the life. How lucky we are to have Suess.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Dehoff

    In addition to being a good overview of the famous children's author's life and works, including some of his lesser known material, it seeks to dispel some of the myths about Seuss that have come to be accepted. Some were started by Seuss himself in interviews and such, where he gave simple origin stories for ideas he'd actually been developing for years, like the basic premise of Horton Hatches the Egg. One point to which Cohen keeps returning is that Seuss rarely forgot an image or idea, and w In addition to being a good overview of the famous children's author's life and works, including some of his lesser known material, it seeks to dispel some of the myths about Seuss that have come to be accepted. Some were started by Seuss himself in interviews and such, where he gave simple origin stories for ideas he'd actually been developing for years, like the basic premise of Horton Hatches the Egg. One point to which Cohen keeps returning is that Seuss rarely forgot an image or idea, and would frequently recycle a gag like an elephant hatching an egg, a cow with multiple sets of udders, or two beings connected by the beard long after first devising it. It's also interesting how much Seuss's early career was influenced by alcohol, perhaps not too surprising when you consider his father was a brewer until Prohibition ended his career. Many of his earliest illustrations of the ridiculous animals we've all come to know and love were originally presented as the result of delirium tremens. There was also an incident involving gin-drinking that led to his dismissal as editor of the college humor magazine and led to his working under pseudonyms, although Cohen contradicts the oft-cited theory that this was the FIRST time he'd used such pseudonyms. Seuss was, of course, his middle name, as well as his mother's maiden name. Being German, it was actually pronounced to rhyme with "voice," but I guess doing so much work for children who wouldn't have known German pronunciation led to how the name is pronounced to rhyme with "loose" to this day. Some of his earliest uses of the pseudonym give the full name "Dr. Theophrastus Seuss," Theophrastus apparently being the name of a stuffed dog he had as a kid. Cohen also addresses Seuss's change in attitude regarding minorities, pointing out that much of his early work plays on the common racial and ethnic stereotypes of the day, and his World War II political cartoons feature a rather unfortunate take on the Japanese. Later, however, he would become a leading voice for tolerance, as evidenced in stories like "The Sneetches." Another popular myth is that Seuss was against merchandising his characters, when there was actually quite a lot of Seuss merchandise that came out within his lifetime. What he insisted on was being given creative control of such merchandise. We're all familiar with Seuss's work, but perhaps not with how complex his life and work really were.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I have such mixed feelings about this book. I love the subject, and I really enjoyed the information this book provided. However, the way it was written made it very difficult for me to stay interested. I found the writing extremely dry. Part of the other problem was I felt like this book wasn't organized in the best manner. I'm not sure how else it could have been organized, but it seemed like it bounced around a lot. It might have just been because Theodore Giesel had a habit of revamping prev I have such mixed feelings about this book. I love the subject, and I really enjoyed the information this book provided. However, the way it was written made it very difficult for me to stay interested. I found the writing extremely dry. Part of the other problem was I felt like this book wasn't organized in the best manner. I'm not sure how else it could have been organized, but it seemed like it bounced around a lot. It might have just been because Theodore Giesel had a habit of revamping previous work in order to make it work for whatever project he was currently working on. But it felt like the author was talking about one of the advertising campaigns, would switch to another one, and then go back. It might have been less confusing if he covered Giesel's work for one company at a time, but I'm not sure. I'm also a little sad there wasn't as much information about the propaganda cartoons (not the videos the actually newspaper cartoons) or his children's books as I wanted to read about. All in all it was a very interesting book and I did like it but if I didn't have a huge interest in Dr. Seuss I'm not sure I would have finished it because it was, in a way, a boring read. I would say this is a 2.5 star book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    A fascinating 'literary' biography of Theodore Geisel. Anyone looking for a full blown biography of the man should look elsewhere, as this (as stated in the introduction) does not attempt to do that. What it does is detail the the work and development from his work on college satire magazines, through the advertising cartoons and other work to the children's books for which he is most famous. It shows how certain ideas and images developed over the years, and does at least attempt to tackle some A fascinating 'literary' biography of Theodore Geisel. Anyone looking for a full blown biography of the man should look elsewhere, as this (as stated in the introduction) does not attempt to do that. What it does is detail the the work and development from his work on college satire magazines, through the advertising cartoons and other work to the children's books for which he is most famous. It shows how certain ideas and images developed over the years, and does at least attempt to tackle some difficult issues raised by some of the earlier cartoons, attempting to put these into the context of the time. It also shows the way that the political views espoused in the work shift and become entrenched.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    This book was beautifully presented by the publisher and filled with wonderful illustrations by Seuss. Sadly, I didn't feel the writing was up to the subject matter. Although I loved the Seuss pictures and could't wait to see the next visual, the writing had the opposite effect and I found it rather boring. It was sometimes confusing, jumped around and, at a times, I had to read and reread to clarify. Time was spent trying to disprove theories or rumors I had never heard of. Consequently, I foun This book was beautifully presented by the publisher and filled with wonderful illustrations by Seuss. Sadly, I didn't feel the writing was up to the subject matter. Although I loved the Seuss pictures and could't wait to see the next visual, the writing had the opposite effect and I found it rather boring. It was sometimes confusing, jumped around and, at a times, I had to read and reread to clarify. Time was spent trying to disprove theories or rumors I had never heard of. Consequently, I found myself plugging to finish a book that should have been a joy to read. As a biography of Seuss, disappointing, but as a compendium of Seuss's art, outstanding. Lacking a 2.5 option, I dropped it to 2.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Disappointing, actually. I was looking for a biography of Dr. Seuss, but this book focuses solely on his work. While it was interesting to read about (and see - there are a lot of pictures) his beginnings with his high school and college newspapers, his work in advertising, and his military cartoons during WWII, there was little to nothing about his personal life. Minimal stories about his growing-up years, a few scattered references to his first wife and even less about his second. This should Disappointing, actually. I was looking for a biography of Dr. Seuss, but this book focuses solely on his work. While it was interesting to read about (and see - there are a lot of pictures) his beginnings with his high school and college newspapers, his work in advertising, and his military cartoons during WWII, there was little to nothing about his personal life. Minimal stories about his growing-up years, a few scattered references to his first wife and even less about his second. This should not be called a biography. Rather, it's a complete anthology of his work.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ralph

    Everything that you never knew about the career of "Dr. Seuss". My guess is that the author has an obsessive personality given the level of back ground detail that he has incorporated in this book. He also lists the various interests that he has devoted himself to, usually for no more than one year. Regardless, this book will give you a whole new insight into TSG. As a result reading this book, I've gone back and read the following: And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street; The 500 Hats of B Everything that you never knew about the career of "Dr. Seuss". My guess is that the author has an obsessive personality given the level of back ground detail that he has incorporated in this book. He also lists the various interests that he has devoted himself to, usually for no more than one year. Regardless, this book will give you a whole new insight into TSG. As a result reading this book, I've gone back and read the following: And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street; The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins; and The Seven Lady Godivas.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    The author jumped around a bit, trying to tie things together by themes instead of purely by year, so it took some flipping back to get thing lined up in my mind. Also, it was like the author hit a page limit and had to summarize the last 30 years of Geisel's life in one chapter. Aside from that, it was an interesting read. The author was able to look past the stories and come up with a truer history based on the images he discovered in his research. The author jumped around a bit, trying to tie things together by themes instead of purely by year, so it took some flipping back to get thing lined up in my mind. Also, it was like the author hit a page limit and had to summarize the last 30 years of Geisel's life in one chapter. Aside from that, it was an interesting read. The author was able to look past the stories and come up with a truer history based on the images he discovered in his research.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Pieters

    Amazing! Just amazing! Dr. Seuss was already my hero before I read this book, and now I feel like I know more about who he was as a person, and that even the great Dr. Seuss suffered difficulties and adversity the same as anyone else. This fantastic visual biography includes old ad campaigns that he created, posters from movies, a few childhood photos, and many, many other wonderful little artifacts that I had no idea existed. I would recommend this to any Suess fan. Bravo!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    A great explanation about the origins of many of the Seuss's drawings and how they changed over time. Favorite quote from page 15 " Bartholomew Cubins would later experience something Ted learned at an early age- that those in power can cause bad things to happen to people, seemingly at random, even to people who are working responsibly and trying to do the right thing." A great explanation about the origins of many of the Seuss's drawings and how they changed over time. Favorite quote from page 15 " Bartholomew Cubins would later experience something Ted learned at an early age- that those in power can cause bad things to happen to people, seemingly at random, even to people who are working responsibly and trying to do the right thing."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nickolina

    I found this book to be packed full with info! There is so much info in here I couldn't believe it. I thought I knew everything about dr. seuss but when I picked up this book I found that I was totally wrong. It tells me all about how he wrote for the newspaper, wrote adult books, etc. You should totally read this book!!!!!!!!!!! I found this book to be packed full with info! There is so much info in here I couldn't believe it. I thought I knew everything about dr. seuss but when I picked up this book I found that I was totally wrong. It tells me all about how he wrote for the newspaper, wrote adult books, etc. You should totally read this book!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kori

    This is a very good and very thorough biograph. It took me a while to get through it because I was reading all kinds of other books as well, but I learned a lot that I didn't previously know about my favorite children's author. This is a very good and very thorough biograph. It took me a while to get through it because I was reading all kinds of other books as well, but I learned a lot that I didn't previously know about my favorite children's author.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    I wish I had known, I was completely disappointed that it is some guy that knows nothing other than what other people have learned. This whole book is here say and others opinions and few Suess quotes. I was better off just looking at the pictures.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    A comprehensive look at the man known as Dr. Seuss, covering his life from editorial cartooning, the days of Private Snafu, and the underlying messages of his children's books. It’s a fascinating read about a classic author, filled with primary sources from his life. A comprehensive look at the man known as Dr. Seuss, covering his life from editorial cartooning, the days of Private Snafu, and the underlying messages of his children's books. It’s a fascinating read about a classic author, filled with primary sources from his life.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shar

    Who knew so much about Dr. Suess? Now I do!

  21. 4 out of 5

    redcrayoncircle

    Excellent reference on the art and life work of Dr Seuss. I did a research project on him in school and used this book more than any other.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Got this from the library. I thought it would be better than it was. Show a little insight into the early history of Suess, but overall was a tad boring.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Wonderful exploration of Dr. Seuss through the growth of his work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    SouthWestZippy

    Neat book. Great illustrations and easy to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janis Flynn

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sheenagh Morrison

  28. 4 out of 5

    L Wallace

  29. 4 out of 5

    axhxex_

  30. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

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