20 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Seuss

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Green Eggs and Ham contains only 50 words and was written on a bet. Publisher Bennett Cerf didn’t think Geisel would be able to create a story with fewer words than The Cat in the Hat — which featured only 225 words.

“And that is a story that no one can beat / And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street,” are the signature lines of the 1937 book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Geisel was inspired by the rhythm of a ship’s engine during a voyage to Europe with his wife and conceived of the story’s style during their vacation. The book was rejected 20 times before hitting the presses.

The author was fond of felines and considered his donation to the San Diego Wild Animal Park in California, used to build the lion wading pool, one of his greatest accomplishments.

Geisel found it tiresome and difficult to answer the question: “Where do your ideas come from?” He responded in a very Seussian way: “I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Über Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.”

The last line in Geisel’s final book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, reads: “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!”