The Day I Met Dr. Seuss

Written by Anne Emerick

The Day I Met Dr. Seuss pic

Most readers do not find themselves standing on middle ground when it comes to the work of Dr. Seuss; they either love it or hate it. This work of historical fiction is based on the author’s real experience in attempting to visit Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). In 1989, she wrote him a letter requesting an interview. His secretary politely declined. Emerick persisted  in her admiration for the author by writing an imaginary tale reminiscent of Geisel’s work.. She mailed him the manuscript in 1990 to ask if he objected to it. Geisel gave her permission to publish it.

In her story Emerick makes a long journey to the home of Dr. Seuss. She meets Mister Hupp who tells her that Ted is quite normal, but no one understands the thoughts in his head. The author is determined to see Dr. Seuss and continues to wait outside. She keeps knocking at the door, but no one will let her in. Then she converses with an old man who informs her that Dr. Seuss might be in. Soon after he ushers her inside the house. He shows her the author’s workroom and says that when he is really stuck he tries on one of his thinking caps because writers must imagine worlds. “When people work hard at what they do best, we often think of them as unlike the rest. But they aren’t really different than others you meet, just every day people who accomplished some feat.”

I think that this quote exemplifies Emerick’s experience. Like Theodor Geisel she worked long and hard to make her book successful. Publishers rejected this work until she decided to publish it on her own recently. Many writers find themselves in her position. Emerick includes copies of the original letters that she wrote to Geisel though she places the setting of this story a few years earlier in 1985. She includes authentic characters like his neighbor, Burt Hupp, and secretary, Claudia Prescott. While Ermerick’s verse is sometimes a bit off in cadence, it is written well and cleverly.

Who is the real Dr. Seuss? An answer may be found in his own words about the way children perceived him. “When I show up, they look at me and say, “ What are you doing here? Where’s Dr. Seuss?” The children expect him to be just like one of his characters.  My conclusion is that Dr. Seuss is all of us; he exists in everything that we can imagine. Children and adults who are fans of Dr. Seuss will thoroughly enjoy this book as a fitting tribute to the author who passed away in 1991 but lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of readers.

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