Synopses & Reviews
Recognized as the most popular children's book author of the 20th century, Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) had a career in illustration that varied widely before he wrote his first juvenile book. Early Works Volume 1 is the first of a series collecting political cartoons, advertisements, and various images drawn by Geisel long before he had written any of his world-famous books.
"Readers may have hoped this copious collection of early cartoons and accompanying texts by Geisel, alias Dr. Seuss, would prove to be a treasure trove of forgotten gems. Instead this volume demonstrates how long a path Geisel trod to reach the brilliance of his classic books. The opening selection, 'This is Ann,' a 1943 pamphlet meant to warn soldiers against a malaria-bearing mosquito, now seems misogynist, portraying the mosquito, 'Ann,' as if she were 'a real party gal' spreading venereal disease. The cartoons from the late 1920s and early 1930s from Judge magazine and elsewhere are unmistakably Geisel's, but much cruder than his later work, and the art is not enough to prop up the weak gags. By 1937 Geisel had made a breakthrough, and his cartoon ads for the Macy Westchester newspapers feature striking, imaginative compositions and appealing figures with the signature Seussian whimsy. The book also includes Geisel's 1941 editorial cartoons sharply attacking isolationists. Occasionally this book reveals images reminiscent of Geisel's famous characters: Yertle-ish turtles standing atop each other's backs and Horton-like elephants. But this collection is more for Dr. Seuss completists and those who wish to trace the evolution of a great artist than casual readers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)