Dr. Seuss’s iconic cover image has become synonymous with the ideals outlined in Kupferberg’s statement above. The fact that it graces the cover of his last book has catapulted the image into the public conscious at a level beyond that of nearly any other Seussian graphic.
It is fitting then that his last cover image would come full circle as an autobiographical illustration of his own life, as well as a forward-reaching symbol for generations of young adults. As Dr. Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, said about Oh, the Places You’ll Go! — “I think he was intending it to be the summation of his own life. He was taking everything he knew and put it into the life voyage of this particular little boy.”
the pajama-clad seussian hero
In the summer of 1946, a New York friend invited Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, to vacation at Villa Narcissa above the Pacific southwest of Los Angeles. Ted’s biographers wrote: “After a few golden mornings padding about the terrace, Ted declared that he wanted to live the rest of his life in a climate that allowed him ‘to walk around outside in my pajamas.’” In the cover image of his last book, we see that pajama-clad boy as he embarks on life’s journey.
TARGETING EXCELLENCE IN LIFE
Dr. Seuss was interviewed for the July 1989 issue of LIFE magazine around the time he was completing Oh, the Places You’ll Go! During their meeting, the interviewer inquired about a framed target hanging on the wall. The target sported a perfect “dead-center” bullseye. She was told that his father was the marksman, having won an international rifle meet the year Ted was born, adding:
Nearly six decades earlier, Dr. Seuss began exploring this topic of excellence in his now coveted By Gad, Old Man, You Got Him! In that groundbreaking work, Seuss seemingly highlights life’s journey—and the pursuit of excellence—via an homage to great marksmanship. For more information on that image click below.