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Mulberry Street

How Did Dr. Seuss Get Published?

Dr. Seuss’ book, which was first published in 1937, launched Theodor Geisel’s career as Dr. Seuss. He wrote and published over 60 books, which have sold over 700 million copies worldwide, making him one of the world’s most enduringly popular children’s book authors. But did you know how Dr. Seuss’s books got published?

The first book by Dr. Seuss, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” was rejected by 27 publishers. He planned to burn the book, but he ran into an old friend who had recently become a children’s book editor and asked to look at it and publish it.

The Story Behind Dr. Seuss’ Book

Before Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, rocked the culinary world with green eggs and ham or put a red-and-white striped top hat on a talking cat, he was stuck on a boat returning from a trip to Europe.

He sat for eight days, listening to the ship’s engine chug away. The sound became ingrained in his mind, and he began writing to the beat. Those rhythmic lines in his head eventually became his first children’s book, “And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.”

Dr. Seuss had a difficult time selling the bittersweet story to publishers. Geisel told his friend that he had given up and intended to destroy the book, but the editor asked to see it.

It was rejected 27 times. He bumped into a friend who had just become an editor at a publishing house in the children’s section,

Guy McLain, Springfield Museum

McLain has become a local Dr. Seuss expert. Mulberry Street, he claims, might never have been published if it hadn’t been for a chance encounter Geisel had one day while walking home in New York City.

He said if he had been walking down the other side of the street, he probably would never have become a children’s author.

Guy McLain, Springfield Museum

In 1937, the book was published. It received positive feedback, and the rest is history. But what about Mulberry Street? It turns out to be a real street in Geisel’s hometown. 

It was a street very close to his grandparents’ bakery, And I think also, it was the rhythm, the sound of the word that was very important with Dr. Seuss. Because there’s nothing special about the street, really.

Guy McLain, Springfield Museum

(Source: NPR)

Is Dr. Seuss a Real Doctor? 

Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, was not a real doctor. Instead, he used the honorific Dr. to appease his father, who expected him to pursue a medical career. (Source: NPR)

How Did Dr. Seuss Come up with Grinch? 

Dr. Seuss didn’t have to look far for inspiration for his classic Christmas book ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ published in 1957. In an interview with Redbook in 1957, he discussed the book.

I was brushing my teeth on the morning of the 26th of last December when I noted a very Grinchish countenance in the mirror. It was Seuss! Something had gone wrong with Christmas, I realized, or more likely with me. So I wrote the story about my sour friend, the Grinch, to see if I could rediscover something about Christmas that obviously I’d lost.

Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss

However, it took him three months to determine the ending of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Source: NPR)

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