The end of April is nigh, but there’s still time to celebrate National Poetry Month! If you haven’t had time to celebrate, or you just plum forgot, we have some offerings from one particular poet/author/illustrator that is near and dear to many hearts… and that person is Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss! Listening Library has an audio collection of some of Dr. Seuss’s best-loved stories, all read by your favorite celebs. Haven’t heard Dustin Hoffman’s take on Horton Hears a Who? That’s ok, now is your chance! We’ve picked out a few Dr. Seuss stories that you might not be quite as familiar with… Any of them ring a bell? Don’t be a ‘nerd’ (the first documented appearance of ‘nerd’ appeared in If I Ran the Zoo), read on!
In 2011, Charles Cohen—a dentist passionate about all things Seuss—took it upon himself to reintroduce readers to some of Dr. Seuss’s more obscure tales. Never before released in book form, THE BIPPOLO SEED AND OTHER LOST STORIES is a collection of seven stories originally published in magazines in the 1950s—basically, they are the literary equivalent of buried treasure. Though Dr. Seuss passed on two decades before, his poetic legacy is immortal. The collection is read by an all-star cast, including Neil Patrick Harris, Anjelica Houston, and Peter Dinklage.
Not particularly familiar with GERTRUDE MCFUZZ or THE BIG BRAG? You’ll be forgiven, as they were the ‘other stories’ in Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. Though not as well known as, say, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz managed to appear as one of the main characters in Seussical The Musical when it debuted on Broadway in 2000. Without giving away too much, GERTRUDE MCFUZZ is a cautionary tale about a bird who wants more feathers, and THE BRAG is a story about a rabbit and a bear who both boast that they are the “best of the beasts.”
THIDWICK, THE BIG-HEARTED MOOSE was published in 1948, the year after McElligot’s Pond was named a Caldecott Honor book, and the year before Bartholomew and the Oobleck was also named a Caldecott Honor book… why no Caldecotts for Thidwick? It’s speculation, though some of it may have had something to do with the book’s tongue-in-cheek dark finale. Dr Seuss is no stranger to gloomy endings (remember The Lorax?), and THIDWICK definitely qualifies—let’s just say Thidwick’s antagonists meet an untimely end. The audio edition is expertly narrated by Oscar winner Mercedes McCambridge (Best Supporting Actress for 1949’s All the King’s Men).
I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY is unique in that it is written by Dr. Seuss, but not illustrated by him—that honor goes to James Stevenson, who has written and illustrated many children’s books in his own right. In fact, Dr. Seuss illustrated all but three of his own books, not including those released posthumously. I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY is a story about a boy who refuses to get out of bed, no matter what’s happening around him, narrated in audio by Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame. Probably, both kids and adults can relate to this bed-ridden tale.
April is National Poetry Month, but you can celebrate poetry and Dr. Seuss all year round!