20 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Seuss

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Geisel and second wife Audrey Stone Dimond had no children. “He was afraid of children to a degree,” Audrey Geisel said in a 2004 interview. He found them unpredictable. “What might they do next? What might they ask next?” he would joke. “No, he couldn’t just sit down on the floor and play with children. It was none of that. He just had to do what he had to do, and they loved him. And he loved them for loving what he did,” Audrey revealed.

While there were no children in the Seuss clan, he did make up imaginary little ones to brag about when his friends boasted about theirs. “Chrysanthemum Pearl” was probably the “daughter” he discussed the most. She was precocious imaginary child, capable of making “the most delicious oyster stew with chocolate frosting and flaming Roman candles.” Other mythical kids included Norval, Wally, Wickersham, and Thnud. Geisel even signed their names on the family holiday cards.

The Cat in the Hat author is said to have owned hundreds of hats that he kept stashed away in a secret closet. He enjoyed showing them off at dinner parties.

Geisel was a smoker (he died of oral cancer). Once when he tried to quit, he planted strawberry seeds, peat moss, and radish seeds in his pipe and watered it with a medicine dropper every time he craved a puff.

Geisel greatly admired the work of children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak and appreciated his “adult” approach to subjects. He once said that he if he were a child, he’d be reading Sendak.