Theodore Geisel had enjoyed some success as a cartoonist and humor writer. He wrote his first childrens book in 1936 and it was promptly rejected by all 43 publishers he sent it to. A friend had to publish it for him.
During WWII Captain Geisel was assigned to Frank Capra’s Signal Corps Unit where he would work on documentaries.
But it was after the war when Geisel’s publisher would notice an article in Life Magazine that said kids wouldn’t read because the material was too boring. So the publisher sent Geisel a list of 400 words, which he was then to pare down to 250, which was all the publisher figured a first grader could aborb.
Using 220 of the words, Geisel produced The Cat in the Hat. It was an instant success.
In 1960 Bennett Cerf bet Geisel $50 that he couldn’t write an entire book using only fifty words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham. Cerf never paid the $50 bet.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and two Academy Awards, Geisel was the author and illustrator of 44 children’s books, some of which have been made into audio cassettes, animated television specials, and videos for children of all ages. Even after his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss continues to be the best-selling author of children’s books in the world.