What greater gift can a fan imagine than a brand new book from a favorite author?
And when that author happens to be the legendary Dr Seuss, who has been gone for more than twenty years, the reward is that much richer.
What Pet Should I Get?
An original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr Seuss, aka Ted Geisel — What Pet Should I Get? — was discovered in the La Jolla, California home of the late beloved children’s author, and published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015.
What’s the story of the new story? A box filled with pages of text and sketches was found shortly after Ted’s death in 1991, when his widow Audrey Geisel was remodeling her home. At that time, it was set aside with other of Ted’s materials.
It was rediscovered in the fall of 2013 by Mrs Geisel and Claudia Prescott — Ted Geisel’s longtime secretary and friend — when they were cleaning out his office space. They reviewed the materials, finding the full text and illustrations for What Pet Should I Get? among other work.
Seuss often worked on many projects at once
“While undeniably special, it is not surprising to me that we found this because Ted always worked on multiple projects and started new things all the time — he was constantly writing and drawing and coming up with ideas for new stories,” says Audrey Geisel. “It is especially heartwarming for me as this year also marks twenty-five years since the publication of the last book of Ted’s career, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!“
“We had no idea what we were in store for when Claudia notified us of the materials discovered in Ted’s home,” says Brandt. “Pages and pages of manuscripts and sketches were laid out on the big glass dining room table. It was truly a magical moment, and we immediately knew this was more than just a box of sketches.”
The text and illustrations for What Pet Should I Get? were found nearly complete. Geisel traditionally completed his black-and-white line art illustrations first, with color to be filled in later.
An author’s legacy
Dr Seuss’s former Art Director, Cathy Goldsmith, now VP & Associate Publishing Director at Random House Books for Young Readers, oversaw process of preparing What Pet Should I Get? for publication. Goldsmith is the one remaining publishing executive at Random House to have worked directly with Ted Geisel during his lifetime, including spending time with him in La Jolla when he was finishing Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“We believe that he wrote and illustrated What Pet Should I Get? somewhere between 1958 and 1962 — as the brother and sister in the book are the same as those in his bestselling Beginner Book, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, which was published in 1960,” says Goldsmith.
“My connection to Ted remains as vital as it was when we worked closely together years ago — I know he is looking down, watching over the process, and I feel a tremendous responsibility to do everything just as he would have done himself.”
“To be able to share this newly discovered Dr Seuss book that was created during a most prolific period in his career marks a special moment in children’s book publishing,” says Marcus. “The millions and millions of children and adults who have learned to love reading because of Dr Seuss can now look forward to adding this treasure to their beloved collections.”