7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #255: Featuring Dr. Seuss

h1 November 13th, 2011 by jules

“Then the Gritch started giving the come-along sign, / Inviting a GRICKLE to get in the line! / ‘Join up!’ called the Gritch. ‘For I’m sure they’ll be able / To set one more place at their dining-room table.’ / An Ikka, a Gritch and a Grickle to feed! /
My mother, I knew, would be angry indeed…”
(From “Steak for Supper”)

Did you all know that one of our country’s most devoted Seuss scholars is a dentist by day? Yes, his name is Dr. Charles D. Cohen, and he will tell you that his trove of Seussiana is likely the most comprehensive in the world. He brought readers this in 2004.

Dr. Cohen has written the introduction to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories, a collection of little-known tales by Ted Geisel that have for the first time been pulled into one collection by Random House. Here’s part of what Dr. Cohen wrote:

From 1948 through 1959, Ted Geisel published a series of short works that appeared in magazines, most of which were tossed out when the next month’s issue arrived. Over time, these stories were largely forgotten. But after tracing references to them, I traveled to libraries to research their collections of these old magazines; investigated, photocopied, and chronicled the stories; and eventually tracked down and purchased copies of the original magazines through the Internet. The discovery was thrilling—-I was reading Dr. Seuss stories that few people even knew existed!

Yup, a must-have for Seuss fans. There are seven stories here. As Cohen notes, we are presented examples of his “‘message’ stories”; stories showing off his mastery of rhyme and rhythm; stories with some new-to-us beasts to add to the Seuss menagerie of marvelous creatures; and adventure stories. We even see in the story “Gustav, the Goldfish” that clearly Helen Palmer’s book, A Fish Out of Water, was based on this lost tale — though Helen’s version doesn’t rhyme, as Seuss’s does, and her tale was illustrated by P. D. Eastman. Palmer was Geisel’s first wife. “Gustav, the Goldfish” was originally published in Redbook in 1950, and as Cohen writes, “it has been floundering in obscurity ever since.”

Well, not anymore.

When these stories were first printed, they were done so in black and white. But for this new collection, they are re-printed in color, made to look like the stories printed when Geisel was alive. As you can see at this interview, Cohen has stated, “I’m an anti-colorizing-movies guy, but I wanted this. Cathy Goldsmith [a Random House art director] had worked with him — she knew his color palette.”

Here are a couple more illustrations from the collection. Enjoy.

“‘Err . . . well,’ said the rabbit. ‘I’ve counted the hairs / That grow on the eyelids of hundreds of bears / And I always have noticed, in adding up theirs, / That they always come out to an even amount. / But yours, Mr. Bear, make an un-even count! / And I guess that’s the reason,’ the rabbit then said, / ‘For the lop-sided way that you’re holding your head. / It’s twisted! It’s sagging! Because of the weight /
Of your un-even lashes, you can’t hold it straight!'”
(From “The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga”)

“He was almost too big for a fellow to lug, / But I got to the bathtub and put in the plug / And I turned on the cold-water faucet full blast. / ‘Gustav,’ I panted, ‘you’re safe now, at last! / Gustav,’ I panted, ‘this tub ought to do. / It holds my whole family.
It ought to hold you!'”
(From “Gustav, the Goldfish”)

THE BIPPOLO SEED AND OTHER LOST STORIES. Published 2011 by Random House, New York, NY. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Speaking of Dr. Seuss, another Seuss scholar is the talented Philip Nel. (See here and here.) This week I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Phil and Karin Westman, who were in town lecturing at Vanderbilt University. Though, unfortunately, I missed the lecture, I had dinner with them and really enjoyed it. Good people. Good conversation.

2) Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones in 1970. How in the name of all things groovy could they manage to stay seated during this swingin’ number?

3) I’ve been thinking all week about how much I love Conor J. O’Brien’s voice and how it’s one of the world’s greatest wonders, and I’ve been wearing out his CD (and wondering when we’ll see another one). So, it prompted me to check the website to see what’s new with Villagers, and I saw this, a song he evidently sings live but isn’t on any CDs anywhere. This was animated by Adrien Merigeau. The site says:

Nothing explains the film better than the film itself. Nonetheless, here is a concise and vaguely pretentious synopsis: The film charts the development of a young man as he navigates his way through an impressionistic landscape in search of an elusive monster which is intent on destroying his childhood home. Lost and confused for the most part, he nonetheless uncovers the beast; a creature whose origins are both terrifying and liberating.

4) Tom Waits, continually redefining bad-assery:

5) I literally jumped up and down and screamed in happiness and high-fived myself and may have done spirit fingers and looked for someone—ANYone—to fist-bump and generally made a lot of noise when I found out that a long-time and very dear friend of mine, now a midwife*, and her wonderful family will be moving back here. They are from middle Tennessee as well — but were in West Virginia for the past several years. This is such great news that I can’t even begin to say how great.

{* Midwifery is so fascinating to me that I love saying, “hey, one of my best friends is a midwife.” Truly, I do.}

That’s it for me this week. However, a few bits of …

Notes and news:

  • The November issue of The Bluegrass Special is out. It always include 7-Imp content (this month it’s the spotlight on McKissack’s and Dillons’ latest book), but the music in there … Wow. It’s particularly good this month and includes mentions of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams.
  • Chooseco is planning a Choose Your Own Adventure book giveaway this month to help kids in need. For every Facebook fan they gain during the month of November (here’s their home over at Facebook), they will donate one new book to a child with limited resources. Their donation efforts are spearheaded by the Children’s Literacy Foundation, a non-profit that has worked for 14 years on a variety of literacy efforts for at-risk kids, including children in shelters and low-income housing, refugee and migrant children, children of prison inmates, and many others.
  • There’s a new organization, called Gone Reading International, which markets a line of gifts for readers and donates 100% of company profits to fund new libraries in the developing world. As the Founder & CEO told me, they’re finding that readers love what they’re doing, but spreading the word on a philanthropic budget is a challenge, so go take a look, if you’re so inclined.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

13 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #255: Featuring Dr. Seuss”

  1. Hi. I love Seuss so I am going to have to get this collection.
    Jules, how cool that your friend is moving back and is a midwife. I always thought it woud be a cool job.
    My kicks:
    1. Keeping up with PAD (poem a day).
    2. Seeing grandgirls 2 and 3 last night.
    3. Great conversations with 5th graders.
    4. CYBILS nominated poetry books are arriving from the library and in the mail.
    5. Sound of bamboo chimes as I fall asleep.
    6. My snow bird friend is arriving in town for three months.
    7.A lengthy phone conversation with a colege friend on Friday morning,
    Have a great week.

  2. Dr. Cohen’s dedication to all things Seuss is amazing. @_@ I want that new collection!

    Jules: Thank you for all this. :o)

    Jone: Two long weekends in a row because of national holidays. :o) Love your third kick this week!

    Little Willow: Blowing bubbles from a mix in a bottle!

    My kicks from the past week:

    1. A student complaining because I hadn’t assigned a new novel to read yet. She hated reading novels six months ago!

    2. The Christmas shopping on Monday went well! :o)

    3. The successful completion of a module I taught at a language learning center.

    4. A crush! Crushes?

    5. Fashion.

    6. There’s a Japanese song “Doushite” sung by Tohoshinki and I watched the video of one of the live performances that was so emotional it had me bawling. :o(

    7. The Philippine taekwondo team winning one bronze medal, one silver medal, and one gold medal at the latest international tournament. My brother JP was the coach this time!

  3. I listened to an audio version of the Bippolo Seed a couple weeks ago, and it’s really fun, too–a different reader for each story, and they do a fine job with them.

    I am grateful for music this week, too, and books and movies. The finest give me something to think about besides my own life while somehow at the same time helping me think more clearly about my own life. Right now, I’m knee-deep in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I am finding it hard to step away from. Speaking of which, back I go.

  4. My favorite Dr. Seuss story is The Sneetches.

    Jules: Gotta love that they were rocking while they were rocking out. I hope your friend’s family has an easy move!

    jone: Enjoy the poetry and the conversations.

    Tarie: Congratulations to the awesome athletes and coaches! There were time bubbles on Fringe this past Friday.

    Hi Adrienne!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Harmony
    2) Clarification
    3) Credits
    4) Holding my ground
    5) Definitive
    6) New friends
    7) Choosing

  5. Hi, everybody!

    A Dr. Seuss fan from way back, here. I never got into those “message” books of his later years, but loved Bartholomew Cubbins’s 500 hats, the foofaraw on Mulberry Street, the thought of running either a zoo or a circus — let alone both — and the “who” whom Horton heard. This book looks to be a delight.

    (And as you might’ve predicted, Jules, I counted the eyelash hairs on each of the bear’s eyes and was satisfied. :))

    Kickin’ video clip of Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones. Spent a little time just now looking around for information about it. Apparently, this was the This Is Tom Jones TV show — the Christmas 1970 episode. I thought the reason they were seated might’ve been in deference to her health: she had diabetes, and would eventually lose both legs to it. But that happened over 20 years later. So, who knows. Maybe just a dopey joke about “rockin'”? (Many dopey pop-culture things happened in the 1970s.)

    I confess that I don’t think I’d heard of Villagers OR of Conor J. O’Brien before reading this. But the handful of videos I just watched — wow, yeah, great voice. (I liked it especially on “That Day.”)

    And then Tom Waits… aaiiieee. How on earth you have enough space in your head for ALL. THIS. MUSIC. is a mystery explainable only, perhaps, by theories of an expanding universe. (They say they’re still looking for all of this missing so-called “dark matter” that’s supposed to be out there somewhere. I wonder if they’ve checked a particular address in Tennessee?)

    Such great news about your returning friend, Jules!


    1. We got back Monday from a 4+-day trip to NJ, for my mother’s 80th birthday party. It’s always nice to take a trip with a different home at each end of the route. (OTOH, the trip back sort of puts an aching, poignant point on the differences between the two homes.)

    1a. One of my sisters prepared a Thanksgiving meal for us last Sunday. In 20-some years, I’ve had T’giving in NJ exactly once — 2001, when we went up there for Mom’s 70th. So this was VERY welcome. (Especially since the weather was all fall-ish.)

    1b. …and my brother hosted a great party for us on Friday night.

    2. Things suddenly perking up at work. Slow periods are a nice change, but the lively ones remind you why you do the work in the first place.

    3. Progress.

    4. Continuity.

    5. The cushion of confidence.

    6. This goes back to Halloween, but I’ll put in a plug for an unexpectedly GOOD horror film, Pontypool, with a bizarre premise: the population of a small Canadian town is becoming zombie-ized, courtesy of a virus passed via the English language. As a bonus, 99.9% of the action takes place within the confines of a locked radio station, where the people just hear about what’s going on outside the walls. And there’s very little, like, blood. (Only one brief segment, really.)

    7. Moments of silence (for any reason, but especially just the random ones scattered throughout a day).

  6. 1. I just finished eating a piece of a friend’s homemade banana bread generously laced with chocolate chips and candied ginger.

    2. Yesterday,I had 3 sales in one morning. I was amazed.

    3. Elisa Kleven.

    4. I’ve booked a tour for Theo’s Chocolate Factory, to take place on December 26. My daughter wants to go to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but Theo’s will be a fine facsimile. Alas, there is no river of chocolate or a boat made of a boiled sweet… as far as we know.

    5. I’m starting to like running. Sort of.

    6. Despite being very, very busy, I have more energy and am not waking up exhausted. I suspect that cat #2 (RIP) no longer waking me up at night has something to do with it, but I can’t say for sure.

    7. We cleaned the house for guests. We need to have guests over more often!

  7. Jone, snow bird friend? I’m intrigued. And bamboo chimes sound lovely. What’s been your favorite poem of late?

    Tarie, congrats to your brother! And congrats to you on the language learning center module. You had a good week. And I’ll say it for the seven skerjillionth time: Those lucky students of yours.

    Adrienne, good to hear the book gets a thumbs-up from you. I took a late-night bookstore trip on Friday to get my hands on Chime, and it was out of stock. I was super disappointed.

    Little Willow, nearly all of your kicks began with a “h” or “c.” Kick #5 is nice and cryptic.

    John, this is probably my favorite Villagers song. I’m kind of obsessed with it. I mean, I always was, but I’m re-discovering my obsession with it this week, having put it on a mix for someone:

    Beautiful. His voice is deceiving, I think, in that at first it sounds one way, but then you listen to his entire CD and realize it can do many, many things and beguile in many ways. … So glad you had a great trip and saw family. Happy belated birthday to your mother. I will have to ask my husband if he’s seen Pontypool. And I love your last kick.

    Farida: Candied ginger. Mmm. Having just had a large, home-made brunch, involving lots of pancakes, I’ve got that I’m-never-going-to-eat-again-as-long-as-I-live-how-could-I-possibly-ever-be-interested-in-food feeling or, as UrbanDictionary.com calls it, a food baby (“the feeling of being uncomfortably full, like you’re about to burst and vomit, after committing gluttony”). … I also find Elisa to be a kick. Congrats on a clean house. What is that like? (she says as she stares at the dust on her desk) ….

    Thanks for visiting today, all. I always like hearing from everyone.

  8. Curious about both the lost stories and Dr. Cohen’s visual Seuss biography. (Though P.D. Eastman is my man. of that era.) Looks like Goldsmith/ RH captured the right feeling in the color-added illustrations. Thanks for sharing.

    Enjoying today’s kicks a plenty:
    jules — Merigeau’s animation with O’Brien’s vocals is pretty dang cool. The wolf drinking from the reflective pond—oh my. The stunning “gemina-cide” reveal in the lyrics – oh me, oh my. And I too like hearing that the ancient trade of midwifery goes on (and of your friend’s return.)

    jone – I wish I could listen in on your great 5th grade conversations.
    tarie – Converting a novel hater to a novel lover. (!)
    adrienne – Thanks for the audio book lead.
    LW – Yeah, rockin’ while rocking; gotta love how professional musicians control their voices. Ella just rocks back and lets loose.
    JES – I like the idea of you running a zoo and/or a circus. : – ) What a nice thing: to hold Thanksgiving when family’s around (vs. exclusively on the designated date.) I plan to embrace that freeing concept!
    Farida – I so related to your #7, ha-ha! Though I’m still waiting for magical house elves to pick me as a worthy beneficiary.

    My three kicks:
    1. My cat, Zeek, attacks me (throws his paws round my leg and nips me) if I ever try to walk upstairs to go to sleep having forgotten to feed him. I feign disapproval, “Baaad cat.” But he makes me laugh inside.

    2. Enjoyed watching the debut of 65 minute, “The Beckoning of Lovely.”
    on 11/11/11 at 11:11am. And I love the event’s title; it’s perfection.

    3. My 16-year-old son casually invited me to eat take-out and watch “How to Train Your Dragon” with him. : – )

    Have a great week all.

  9. 1. Reading everyone’s kicks. I really do get a kick out of how different everyone’s life can be and how we all find joy in so many different places.
    2. A short, exciting family trip to DC.
    3. A fun read in What Alice Forgot.
    4. A smart puppy.
    5. Discovering that there are fashion blogs written by regular people who wear regular clothes whose looks are inspiring and doable.
    6. The most amazing read leaves on a tree in our neighborhood.
    7. Taking puppy walks that allow me to notice things like in kick #6.

  10. Denise, I actually recorded some ASL for Amy for The Beckoning of Lovely. I’m not sure if it made it in the film. I watched parts one through three and didn’t see it, but it could be in the last part. Who knows. (I will try to watch the last part later. I got interrupted.) There is a signer in part two, I think it was, but not I. … I liked reading about Zeek. Our kitten attacks my leg, too. He is nine kinds of insane.

    Stacey, good, rich kicks. Glad you enjoyed your trip to D.C. Speaking of good reads, I’m going to go read a novel for grown-ups. I hope everyone has a good week …

  11. Thanks, Jules! Getting to meet you was a highlight of the week, too! Other highlights include being reunited with my flash drive (which I had thought was lost for good), the flattering and surprising experience of giving an invited talk back at Vanderbilt, general experience of visiting Nashville & seeing folks, and getting a passel o’ mix CDs from you. Have a good week!

  12. Oh, the flash drive! Glad you found it. I read about that at your site and nodded in recognition and understanding (those where-did-I-put-that moments, that is).

  13. WOW. Just, wow. That Villagers video is AMAZING. Had to share it on my blog as well. Thank you!!!

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