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Trusty Old Typewriter

For the second time in the Art of Dr. Seuss Collection’s 20 year history, we proudly announce the release of a mixed-media print with collage on paper—I ALWAYS Pick Up All My Play-Things.

Only two artworks from The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection now contain the added dimensionality of collage. These artworks, This Sound Sounded Merry! and our newest release, I ALWAYS Pick Up All My Play-Things, faithfully replicate Ted Geisel’s antiquated lifelong process of creating a book with the help of his trusty old typewriter. Here we witness the moment where hand-typed and hand-cut blocks of copy, often still in progress, are taped or glued against a preliminary rough drawing, or even the final line work itself. This glimpse of Dr. Seuss’s exact process of creation, caught in the midst of development, is one of the key elements behind the considerable demand for This Sound Sounded Merry!


Master of the Moral

Rather than using a big stick or knock on the head, Dr. Seuss ingeniously finessed his morality tales, couched within a playful verse or rebellious storyline.

In several books, he challenges us to think through the issue and decide for ourselves what’s best to do.

The Cat in the Hat presents perhaps one of the best examples of the conundrums Dr. Seuss leaves in the hands of six-year-olds to solve. At the end of the book, after the Cat in the Hat wrecks the home and returns to clean everything up, the mother finally appears and asks, “Did you have any fun? Tell me. What did you do?” Instead of answering the question, Dr. Seuss passes the conundrum from the characters in the book to the readers who are now challenged to answer the dilemma.

And Sally and I did not know
What to say.
Should we tell her
The things that went on there that day?

Should we tell her about it?
Now, what SHOULD we do?

Well . . .
What would YOU do
If your mother asked YOU?

Not only does The Cat in the Hat teach kids to think for themselves, but it encourages one of the most universal messages supported by parents around the world. 

 I ALWAYS Pick Up All My Play-Things

Pigment Print on Paper with Collage, 14 x 19" with deckled edges   Limited Edition of: 1500 Arabic Numbers, 99 Patrons' Collection, 155 Collaborators' Proofs, and 5 Hors d'Commerce

Pigment Print on Paper with Collage, 14 x 19" with deckled edges
Limited Edition of: 1500 Arabic Numbers, 99 Patrons' Collection, 155 Collaborators' Proofs, and 5 Hors d'Commerce


The Cat That Changed the World

When Theodor Seuss Geisel created The Cat in the Hat, he couldn’t possibly have known the impact his feline creation would have on the world. In fact, the book was published with relatively little fanfare in the spring of 1957. The reviews, however, were immediate and thrilling. 

Ted had mastered on the printed page the cinematic flair for accelerating words as the plot quickened and, in so doing, had stepped far outside established educational guidelines. It seemed as though the critics stood up and shouted in a single voice, “masterpiece!”
Image: First edition copy of   The Cat in the Hat,   1957  .

Image: First edition copy of The Cat in the Hat, 1957.

In 2010, LIFE Books selected Dr. Seuss as one of the “100 People Who Changed the World,” choosing the men and women who made history and brought us from the distant past to the present day. Of Ted they said: “Theodor Seuss Geisel will always be known by his nom de nonsense. It was in that guise that Geisel entertained America’s young with his rollicking rhymes, nutty narratives, and playful (but artful) pictures. And Dr. Seuss did even more than entertain. Kids were blown away [by The Cat in the Hat], and when their parents learned of the subversive value of this intricately crafted reader, they were, too; the book was a runaway best-seller in English, then traveled the world in a host of translations. Dr. Seuss wasn’t a real doctor—he didn’t possess a Ph.D.—but he was something even better for the world’s schoolchildren.”

When LIFE published 100 People Who Changed the World, they put Dr. Seuss in the “Cultural Icons” section, a fascinatingly disparate group that included Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Dickens, Beethoven, Eleanor Roosevelt, Picasso, Coco Chanel, Louis Armstrong, Marco Polo, Oprah, and Elvis. Ted would have loved that!