60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know

You may be a lifelong fan of Dr. Seuss, but how well do you really know the children’s books legend? The American icon was born in 1904 in Massachusetts as Theodore “Ted” Seuss Geisel, and many know him for his whimsical children’s books.

As kids, a lot of people could quote his books word for word, and many avid readers credit their love for reading to his delightful publications.

Here are some things you might have never known about Dr. Seuss.

1. His Name Is Pronounced “Soose”

Many people mispronounce Dr. Seuss’ name. The family emigrated from Bavaria where the name is actually pronounced “Zoice.”

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

2. He Invented The Word “Nerd”

Dr. Seuss wrote If I Ran the Zoo in which the word “nerd” is used for the first time ever. In the book, the word refers to a red and yellow and white-haired sourpuss, and it would later evolve into a word that describes bookish people.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

3. Doodling Helped Him A Lot

Apparently, many of the story ideas Dr. Seuss had came to life through doodling.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

4. He Was An Avid Writer

Every day, Dr. Seuss would write for eight hours.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

5. He Wasn’t A Doctor

Although a lot of people might think Dr. Seuss was actually a doctor, he started using the name to give his writing more credibility.

However, his second wife thought he was a medical doctor when she first met him.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

6. He Had Lots Of Fans, Still Has

It is estimated that Dr. Seuss received about 9267 pounds of mail from his fans every year. He had his publisher, Random House, send out standard notes with his autograph claiming he lived on a high mountain peak and that his mail was delivered by a slow-moving animal called Budget.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

7. He Would Discard Between 500 and 1,000 Pages Before The Final Draft

During the first draft of a picture book, Dr. Seuss would dispose a lot of pages before coming up with a final draft.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

8. His Mother Inspired His Poetry

In a 1995 biography, Dr. Seuss revealed that his mother was the inspiration behind his popular rhymes. Apparently, the legend’s mother would chant soft bedtime rhymes to her children on the regular.

She had memorized these rhymes while working at her father’s bakery.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

9. He Wrote Children’s Books After Seeing That American Kids Had Problems Learning To Read

After reading that American children had problems reading, he decided to become a creator of children’s books.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

10. Dartmouth College Often Serves Green Eggs And Ham In His Honor

The Dartmouth Outing Club often pays tribute to Dr. Seuss by serving freshmen green eggs and ham during their outdoor excursions.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

11. He Owned A Cherished Dinosaur Footprint

Seuss’ father gave him a footprint measuring about 16 inches by 11 inches. It was from a shale pit in Massachusetts and was estimated to be about 150 million years old.

However, some people thought he made the fossil himself, probably because he was known to make practical jokes.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

12. Yertle The Turtle Represents Hitler

Dr. Seuss admitted that he never set out to prove a point with his books, except for Yertle the Turtle, which is about Hitler’s life. Apparently, he even considered giving Yertle a mustache.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

13. He Got Into Children’s Books To Avoid Breaching His Contract

Before writing children’s books, Dr. Seuss had an advertising contract that prohibited him from doing lot of things except for children’s books and a few other creative projects.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

14. He Used Dr. To Console His Father

Dr. Seuss’ father hoped that his son would be a doctor one day. For this reason, he used Dr. as a way to console him.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

15. The Grinch Movie Was Not Successful At First

Today, The Grinch is a popular holiday movie. However, soon after its release, it drew a lot of criticism and was actually a flop.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

16. His Book About Mount Everest Was Rejected

Dr. Seuss tried to write a book about climbing Mount Everest, but it was rejected because children could not understand words like Everest, scaling, peaks, or degrees.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

17. He Has An Honorary Degree From Dartmouth

In the year 1956, Dr. Seuss got an honorary doctorate degree.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

18. He Liked Practical Jokes

A lot of people had a problem taking Dr. Seuss seriously. For instance, the local fish store’s number differed from his by just a single digit. 

When people ordered fish through his number, he would send them pictures of the drawing instead of directing them to the store.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

19. One Of His Books Was Self-Inspired

How The Grinch Stole Christmas was inspired by Dr. Seuss himself. He was brushing his teeth on 26th of December when he realized something had gone wrong with Christmas and it was all his fault.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

20. He Enlisted In The Army

During the Second World War, Dr. Seuss enlisted in the army, but was sent to Hollywood to create propaganda cartoons that featured the misadventures of Private SNAFU.

He was even awarded the Legion of Merit for the work he did during the war, although he regretted his depictions of Japanese Americans.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

21. Even Before Becoming A Successful Children’s Writer, He Was Still A Success

Most people might assume that Dr. Seuss got his big break from creating children’s books, and to some extent, that’s true.

However, before then, he was successful in advertising and worked with companies like Standard Oil and Flit bug spray.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

22. He Wasn’t A Fan Of Richard Nixon

Dr. Seuss didn’t like Richard Nixon, and he parodied him in The Washington post when it was clear he would get impeached over the Watergate scandal. Dr. Seuss was urging him to resign.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

23. He Had A “Grinch” License Plate

Dr. Seuss had a license plate saying “GRINCH.”

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

24. He Co-Wrote A Movie Musical

Dr. Seuss co-wrote the musical, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, in which a crazy musician kidnaps 500 boys and forces them to play a giant piano. The musical bombed at the box office after it was released in 1953.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

25. His Wife Handled His Business

Dr. Seuss’ wife Helen was in charge of most of his business matters. They also ran an imprint of Random House called Beginner Books.

He remarried a year after she died in 1967.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

26. It Took 3 Months To Come Up With An Ending To How The Grinch Stole Christmas

After agonizing over an appropriate ending to this popular book, he choose to end it with an image of the Grinch and the Whos sitting around a dinner table enjoying a Roast Beast.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

27. He Had Wacky Hats In His Closet

Dr. Seuss had a closet full of hilarious hats that he would sometimes wear to get the creative juices flowing when hit by the writer’s block.

It was reported that he had more than 300 hats at one point. Strangely, he also wrote a book titled The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, a man who collected many kinds of hats throughout his life.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

28. He Dropped Out Of Oxford

After Dartmouth, Seuss enrolled at University of Oxford hoping to get a Ph. D in English Literature. He met his first wife there, although he dropped out before completing his studies.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

29. Dr. Seuss Won A Pulitzer Prize

In the year 1984, Dr. Seuss won the Pulitzer Prize for his work, the first for a children’s book.

During the award, he was told he had gotten the award for his “special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.”

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

30. The Butter Battle Book Was Controversial

In his 1984 book, The Butter Battle Book, Seuss clearly references the U.S.-Soviet hostilities that happened during the Second World War. Some parents thought such a story was too scary for children.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

31. He Liked To See If The Editors Were Paying Attention

Dr. Seuss would often include NSFW content in his manuscripts to see if the editors were attentive. In Dr. Seuss’ ABC, he included a picture of a naked woman next to a letter “X” with a message that read: “Big X, little x. X,X,X / Someday, kiddies, you will learn about SEX.”

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

32. According To Him, Children’s Books Were Too Boring

Dr. Seuss came up with the plot to The Cat in the Hat after what he felt were boring and simple Dick and Jane book series.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

33. He Wrote 45 Books

Although you might know about a dozen books by Dr. Seuss, he was able to write a total of 45 books during his career.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

34. He Was Shy Around Children

Dr. Seuss was naturally shy, and usually didn’t know how to conduct himself around kids. Apparently, the shyness he had around adults was “magnified tremendously” around children, according to his secretary Julie Olf.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

35. His Books Have Been Translated Into Latin

Some of Dr. Seuss’ books have been translated into Latin, such as How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

36. Dr. Seuss Won Two Academy Awards

During this lifetime, Dr. Seuss won two Oscars. He won the first award in 1947 for Design for Death, a book he wrote with his wife. His second award came in 1951 for his animated short film, Gerald McBoing-Boing.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

37. He Was A Fan Of Author Maurice Sendak, The Writer of Where The Wild Things Are

Dr. Seuss loved Sendak because he had the courage to resist the influence of editors:

“Like me, he isn’t writing for kids; he’s writing for all people.”

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

38. His Meeting With Teddy Roosevelt Scarred Him For Life

Dr. Seuss was a boy scout and he managed to become one of the top 10 best bond sellers in his Boy Scout troop, a feat that earned him an opportunity to get medals from former president Theodore Roosevelt.

However, instead of the expected 10 medals, he received 9. Roosevelt did not realize the oversight and asked “what is this little boy doing here?”

Dr. Seuss was then quickly taken off the stage, humiliated. He attributes his lifelong fear of public speaking to this incident.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

39. He Has A Walk Of Fame Star

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame features movie stars and television personalities. Dr. Seuss was indicted into the Walk of Fame posthumously in 2004.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

40. He Died Of Oral Cancer

Dr. Seuss was a heavy smoker, and he died of oral cancer at 87 in the year 1991.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

41. No Biological Children

Surprising as this might sound, considering how much joy he brought into the lives of many kids, Dr. Seuss did not have his own biological children.

Apparently, when asked why he did not have children of his own, all he said was: “you make them, I’ll amuse them.”

Maybe his inability to have kids due to his wife’s inability to carry any had a lot to do with his immense drive to create fun content for children.

His second wife came with two children from a previous relationship.

However, he also had imaginary children, including Chrysanthemum Pearl. Dr. Seuss said she could make the “most delicious oyster stew with chocolate frosting and flaming Roman candles.”

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

42. He Changed The World

Life Books named Seuss one of the 100 People Who Changed the World.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

43. One Of His Characters Is Named After His Editor’s Son

The book And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street has the main character, Marco, named after the editor’s son. He was showing his gratitude after dozens of publishers rejected it before Marshall McClintock of Vanguard Press accepted the manuscript.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

44. The Lorax Might Have Been Inspired By A Monkey In Kenya

While on a trip to Kenya, Dr. Seuss saw a particular monkey species many believe to be the inspiration behind The Lorax.

The monkey is found near Mount Kenya, and it’s called the patas monkey. The ape is very similar to the fictional monkey Lorax.

The Lorax was also the first of his books to face censorship with the logging industry asking that it be removed from school reading lists.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

45. He Won A Peabody Award

For his animated special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton Hears a Who! Dr. Seuss won a Peabody award.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

46. Cat In The Hat Took Over A Year To Write

Many writers take years to write a single book. However, it is quite unusual that a book that uses 236 different words took that long to write.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

47. He Won Two Emmys

In addition to winning two Oscars, Dr. Seuss also won two Emmy awards in 1977 and 1982 for Halloween Is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

48. Dr. Seuss Was Voted “Least Likely To Succeed”

His Dartmouth classmates once voted Seuss as least likely to succeed. The joke’s on them.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

49. Only 4 Of His 44 Books Are In Prose

Most of Dr. Seuss’ books are written in verse. Only four are written in prose.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

50. A $50 Bet Was Behind His Best-Selling Book

When Bennet Cerf, his editor, claimed that he could not write a book using 50 words or less, he came up with Green Eggs and Ham in the 60s, a book that ended selling more than eight million copies.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

51. His First Book Was Published 6 Years After He Wrote It

Dr. Seuss wrote his first children’s book in 1931. However, it was published in 1937.

It was called And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

52. He Liked Anapestic Tetrameter

Most of his books are written in this poetic meter.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

53. Dad Was A Brewmaster Before Working At The Zoo

Dr. Seuss’ dad worked as a brewmaster, but went into another line of work after Prohibition came into force in 1920. At the time, he became a superintendent of Forest Park in Springfield, Massachusetts.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

54. He Wrote An Adult Book With Nude Drawings

Many people are not aware that Dr. Seuss wrote the book The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family.

The book had unclothed sisters, and many agreed that it was not particular erotic, including Dr. Seuss himself.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

55. The Butter Battle Book Was An Adult Bestseller

Although this was a children’s book, it spent six months as a New York Times’ adult bestsellers.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

56. He Published A Lot Of Picture Books

Before his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss had published 44 picture books.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

57. Oh, the Places You’ll Go Was The Last Book He Published When Alive

Before he died, the last book he published was Oh, The Places You’ll Go. It was also his bestselling book.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

58. One Of His Books Might Have Been Inspired By Japan

While traveling to Japan in 1953, Dr. Seuss was inspired to write Horton Hear’s a Who, which might have been about his friend, Mitsugi Nakamura.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

59. Dr. Seuss Was Initially A Form Of Escape

In college, Seuss and his friends were caught drinking in their dorm, and his editorship at the college was taken away. The only way he could to on publishing any work was by using a pseudonym.

After a couple of tries, he settled on “Dr. Seuss”. He was also saving his real name for the Great American Novel he planned on writing later.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

60. He Supported The War

At the start of 1941, Dr. Seuss made political cartoons urging the U.S. to take part in the war while also speaking against anti-Semitism and racism.

60 fun facts about dr. seuss you probably didn’t know about

Throughout his illustrious writing career, Dr. Seuss changed children’s literature for good. Many of his books remain favorites among children even today; decades after his death. 

However, although it might seem like you know everything there is to know about Dr. Seuss based on this works, there is still plenty people don’t know about this popular author.