Dr. Seuss (Remarkable People)
“If Dr. Seuss is a representative example of its overall quality, this series should be considered for inclusion in K–6 school curricula and libraries.”
The last oral presentation given my college speech students is called a rhetorical criticism—basically an oral biography about a speaker and his speech. If a student does not pick someone, the choice is made for him, starting with Theodor Geisel. Most do not know the prolific and famous author’s real name, and he gave only one speech titled “Popovers,” but we all know him and love his books. He is Dr. Seuss.
AV2 by Weigl publishes a cornucopia of educational books for the K–6 market. The biography of Dr. Seuss is part of their Remarkable Writers series alongside biographies of J. K. Rawling (Harry Potter) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
Dr. Seuss, covering the life and times of Theodor Seuss Geisel and the development of his remarkable career as a children’s book writer, is a well-written biography suited for the target reading audience as well as for the English and writing classroom. Fun!
What makes this book and the series most pleasurable are the sidebar learning commentaries by the author and publisher. As much as this book is about a famous writer, it is a lesson on how to write a biography.
Starting with “Why write a biography in the first place?” The sidebars in each section focus on the individual steps needed to complete writing a biography, why each step is important, what should be in that section, and how to write it.
The lesson portion points to the key questions to ask about the person who is being researched. In “Early Years,” the questions those includes “Where and when was the person born?” “What is known about the person’s family and friends?” and “Did the person grow up in unusual circumstances?”
Of course, there is a computer interactive website for the students to roam, with most of the information emulating the book. To generate additional resource information, the student is lead out of the book’s site. These include the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Art of Dr. Seuss, and “Seussville” a Random House creation.
Two complaints: the website takes too long for the videos to upload and there appears to be no information as to the original sources. To illustrate Seuss’s earliest achievements, the accompanying video is John Lithgow’s narration of “Oh, the Places You'll Go!” A fifth grader’s attention span is short, and the two very long minutes it took to download the video may cause the child to move on before it is ready to be viewed.
If Dr. Seuss is a representative example of its overall quality, this series should be considered for inclusion in K–6 school curricula and libraries.