Our beloved Dr. Seuss is back. Posthumously, of course. Thanks to the release of a long-lost manuscript, What Pet Should I Get? will be published by Random House in July. Dr. Seuss devotees will do a dance, and pet lovers in particular will feel doubly blessed. The manuscript itself was in a box of papers and sketches discovered in the home of Dr. Seuss shortly after his death nearly 25 years ago; but the box was set aside and the contents left unexamined. It wasn't until the fall of 2013 that Seuss's widow, Audrey Geisel, made the exciting discovery when she was cleaning out his office space. At least two more books will be published as a result of this find, bringing the number of Dr. Seuss children's books to 50.
As with many of Dr. Seuss’s fanciful creations, there is a life lesson hidden behind the charmingly quirky illustrations and the characteristic lilting cadence* of his verse. This one has to do with one of life's frustrating realities, i.e. sometimes you just have to make up your mind! We pet lovers may identify with this brother and sister (we met them long ago in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish) who, though we won’t know the details until July, are faced with having to choose one pet from many. Will it be a cuddly cat? A wiggly pup? A bird, perhaps? Or a fish? How can they possibly choose?? Yet it must be done, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how Dr. Seuss gives children, and perhaps us adults, a lesson in how to make a choice when all the options are so good.
It is twenty-five years since the publication of Oh the Places You’ll Go! the book we thought was the last from Dr. Seuss; so there couldn’t be a more fitting, or happier, way to celebrate the anniversary than the publication of this newly-discovered manuscript. If you haven’t done so already, this is the perfect time to introduce your favorite little person to the wonder and fun of Dr. Seuss. He said it best himself, of course:
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, / to pick up a book and read to a child."
*Dr. Seuss adopted anapestic tetrameter for his fanciful children’s books, i.e. each line of verse consists of four groupings of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable. This example will surely be familiar!
“Then our mother came in. And she said to us two, / “Did you have any fun? Tell me. What did you do?”