This biography is definitely visual, with tons of drawings by Ted Geisel, from every period of his life. It is certainly not an exhaustive biography because it is very much focused on his work, rather than other parts of his life. But what a body of work it was! From a wiseguy college boy, to a cartoonist for magazines like Saturday Evening Post, to an advertising whiz for various products, to a political cartoonist, to a creator of educational material for the Army during World War II, to a movie scriptwriter, to the reigning king of children’s picture books, with many detours and experiments along the way.
What the author did that I found fascinating was to trace images and concepts back through the years so that you can see how a bizarre animal drawn for the Dartmouth College literary magazine in 1923 developed into an ad for Flit bug spray in 1941 and ended up in How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1957. Geisel apparently never forgot anything he saw or drew, and remembered every name he ever heard, or at least every odd-sounding name.
If you are only aware of Ted Geisel as Dr. Seuss, the author of children’s books, you need to read this book to be amazed at just what a talented, multi-dimensional Renaissance Man he really was!
– Reviewed by Bob Sibert