THERE are some who might claim to have read the seven-volume masterwork of Marcel Proust, ``Remembrance of Things Past,'' and others who would be expert in the writings of Samuel Clemens, including that rare piece ``1601'' and his earliest writings under the pseudonym ``Josh,'' but who among us has read the complete works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, all 49 books, including his latest, ``You're Only Old Once!''? This last book was published on March 2, 1986, Dr. Seuss's 82nd birthday. I discovered this book in the humor section of the university bookstore, available in hardback only, but then most of his books have been available only in hardback. It's now on display as a best seller.
Prior to this book I hadn't read anything by Dr. Seuss since 1959. ``Happy Birthday To You!'' was published that year: I wish we could do what they do in
Katroo. They sure know how to say ``Happy
Birthday to You!''
I used to be quite a fan of his; as a matter of fact, I enjoyed his work even before I could read. My favorite was always ``The King's Stilts.'' That book, his third, was published in 1939, and it's one of a small number of stories that don't rhyme.
His first book was ``And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,'' followed by ``The 500 Hats of Batholomew Cubbins,'' then ``The King's Stilts'' -- or was it ``The Seven Lady Godivas,'' an ``adult'' book?
And his subsequent books were published in the '40s, the '50s when he created Gerald McBoing-Boing and, later that decade, introduced his Beginner Books series with The Cat in the Hat, the '60s when he first wrote under the pseudonym Theo. LeSeig (Geisel by any other name), in the '70s, and now three books in the '80s.
I just finished reading and rereading everything Dr. Seuss ever wrote. . . . It seemed strange being up so late, and even more strange waking up in the morning and not being tucked in.
I must confess I much prefer having Dr. Seuss read to me. My mother used to read to me, but I don't remember her voice, I hear Droon, and Thidwick, Horton, and Mayzie, and ``every Who down in Who-ville,'' The Cat in the Hat who didn't have any other name, The Grinch (did he sound like Boris Kar-loff?). And I prefer his earlier works, they were his best. People say that about Woody Allen.
I was the youngest of a family of three and my mother taught second grade, so I had the benefit of a lot of practice on her part. I wonder if I'll ever be any good at reading those to some-one? If you read with your eyes shut you're likely to find that the place where you're going is far, far behind.
I hope, someday, to find out.