painted books 

Much of Dr. Seuss’s illustration work incorporated compact pen-and-ink line drawings filled with bold swatches of flat color. Those colors drove his stories, and Ted was meticulous about their selection. Early in his career, however, budgetary and technical constraints often dictated that his books be executed in very few of those colors. The exception was a small collection of books in which Ted was able to explore a broader palette. In those instances he created elaborate paintings more reminiscent of the work he made privately for his own pleasure. Each page became a fully developed painting that moved the visual experience of those books beyond what had been laid out in Seuss’s pen-and-ink works. The resulting three “painted” books—The Seven Lady Godivas (1939) and McElligot’s Pool (1947), done in finished pencil and gouache on board, and Happy Birthday To You! (1959), painted in gouache—stand out as artistic highlights from Dr. Seuss’s book career.