The Cat in the Hat

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A long time ago, lived a man who was Ted,
Who had thoughts of a Cat inside of his head

His books were as silly as a polka-dot moose
He thought Ted, too boring, and wrote them as Seuss

The children all thought that his books were quite nifty,
They’re still selling well and they’re practically fifty

There’s plenty of parties, for both Ted and his Cat
They’re coming March second, you won’t want to miss that.

Fifty years ago when Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Seuss as you probably know him, teamed up with Random House to publish The Cat in the Hat they didn’t expect the book to be still popular today.  Children’s books rarely become collectable.  The lifespan of a children’s book is usually closer to five years rather than 50, however today The Cat in the Hat is hotter than ever.

His books were more fun, not boring and thick. 
His books were much better, than old Jane and Dick.

The Cat in the Hat was considered revolutionary at its time of writing because it was one of the first children’s books to break the dull Dick-and-Jane-style of beginner readers.  The Cat in the Hat taught kids that reading could actually be fun.  Today literary critics have described the book as an incredible feat of skill owing to the fact that the total story (1626 words) includes only 236 unique words, all pre-selected by the publisher for their ease of reading by youngsters. Of these words 54 occur exactly once and 33 occur twice. All the while the story maintains the strict triple meter rhyme scheme common to many Seuss stories.  All of this took Geisel nine months to complete.

How would you know their value when old,
An old one right now is almost like gold

According to Helen Younger of Aleph-Bet Books in New York, specialists in rare and collectable children’s and illustrated books since 1977, The Cat in the Hat is “right up there” as one of the most sought after children’s titles of all time.  “I've seen a fine first edition in dust wrapper, signed with a drawing by Seuss, sell for $12,500.”  If you wanted to pick up a first edition right now they run all the way up to £8,500

Featured Dr. Seuss Books from Aleph-Bet Books:

The Cat in the Hat
New York: Random House, 1957. First edition of Seuss's first reader (correct binding paper and price of $2.) Fine in dustwrapper slightly worn at spine ends. Beautiful first editions of this title are exceptionally rare. £4,908

Oh, The Places You'll Go!
New York: Random House, 1990. First edition of the inspirational classic. Inscribed by Dr. Seuss to his editor, "With many thanks to Jed, who patiently shepherded me through some of the damndest places!" £1,039

It’s hard to tell if Ted’s books are a first,
Here’s an easier way, so your mind will not burst

“It can be quite difficult to determine first editions of Dr. Seuss books.  Over the course of our careers we have seen many books described as first editions that weren't firsts at all.”  To solve this problem Aleph-Bet published a book in 2002 entitled First Editions of Dr. Seuss Books: A Guide to Identification.  The book is fully illustrated in color and limited to 1000 copies.

What can I do if I don’t have The Cat,
Are there some other books better than that?

The Cat in the Hat is not the only sought after title by Dr. Seuss. "All of the books are collectable,” says Younger.  While The Cat in the Hat is considered Seuss’ breakthrough work it was by no means his first, and definitely not the only collectable title.  His first book And to Think that I saw it on Mulberry Street (1937) as well as other notables Horton Hears a Who (1954), If I Ran the Zoo (1956), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), were all among books published before The Cat in The Hat and all come with hefty price tags.  Right now on AbeBooks you can find copies of Mulberry Street for up to £7,834 or rare first editions of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938) for £4,908. For books that came after The Cat in the Hat, Dr.Seuss’ best selling title of all time is Green Eggs and Ham (1960), which comes in at £2,598 for a first edition.

Did Seuss only write books that were for kids?
There must have been some other works that he did.

Theodor Geisel wrote under his own name, as well as the pseudonyms Dr. Seuss and Theo LeSieg (Geisel spelled backwards).  Not all of his works were intended for children. Geisel penned many books with more adult oriented topics including his satire of the inefficiency of clinics and retirement homes, You're Only Old Once as well as The Seven Lady Godivas and Oh The Places You'll Go!  He was also heavily involved with creating political cartoons during WWII and actually joined the army in 1943 as commander of the Animation Dept. of the First Motion Picture Unit.  His wartime cartoons can be seen in the 2001 compilation book Dr. Seuss Goes to War.

If you don’t like my rhymes please don’t cuss or be sour
Seuss had nine whole months, I just had one hour.

But if you have some time
And want to see more
click on this link
To see what's in store!

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