BIOGRAPHY CAT IN THE HAT

The Cat in the Hat was published jointly by Houghton Mifflin and Random House on March 1, 1957. It was the 13th children’s book by Theodor Seuss Geisel, who came to be known as Dr. Seuss. It made him a household name and his trickster furball a pop-culture icon

A brazen cat strolls uninvited into the home of a boy and girl whose mother is out. To the children’s horror, he proceeds to trash the house — he calls it “lots of good fun that is funny!” Miraculously (with the help of Thing One and Thing Two), he manages to tidy up before Mom comes home.

Random House (now the sole U.S. publisher) estimates it has sold 10.5 million copies. Millions more — no one knows how many — have been sold by mail-order book clubs.

The Cat in the Hat was a product of the postwar baby boom. In 1957, 29 million children were in kindergarten and elementary school. The “Dick and Jane” primers used to teach reading were considered dull and uninspiring.

Challenged by a Houghton Mifflin executive to write a story that “first-graders wouldn’t be able to put down,” Geisel created The Cat in the Hat. The rest is publishing history.

Geisel was asked to use only 223 words from a list of 348 words for beginning readers. He ended up using 236. Even though it has been around for half a century, Cat is still popular with kids (and parents) and sells hundreds of thousands of copies a year.

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