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What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

Updated on July 26, 2015
Dr. Seuss' new book to be published July 28, 2015.
Dr. Seuss' new book to be published July 28, 2015. | Source
Dr. Seuss' iconic character, The Cat in the Hat.
Dr. Seuss' iconic character, The Cat in the Hat. | Source

Oh the Places You'll Go!

There is fun to be done! There are

Points to be Scored. There are Games

to be Won!

~ from Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

With all the brouhaha and controversy going on about Harper Lee's "book", Go Set a Watchman, (which I haven't decided whether to read or not) another great publication is being overlooked, and that is a new book by Dr. Seuss.

Did you learn to read by reading Dr. Seuss' books when you were small? I am dating myself, but I am from the boomer generation of children growing up in the 1960's who learned to read each evening by reading a Dr. Seuss book. And, now . . .

Oh, yes! Dr. Seuss, deceased since 1991, has had a manuscript for a children's book hidden away or misplaced, whichever explanation you choose to believe, and it has come to life.

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss is a thirty-two page book written and illustrated by the beloved Theodor Seuss Geisel, best known as Dr. Seuss. It is published by Random House for ages 4 and up for $17.99. It will be on the book racks this July 28.

I have always considered Dr. Seuss a genius as well as others in the writing industry because of his ability to capture the imaginations of children around the world. With his not-so-simple rhyming, that he makes look easy, children have learned to read and their imaginations engaged by Dr. Seuss and his lovable, crazy, wacky, and furry characters and illustrations.

His books illustrate his particular genius for including both the spirit of his times and the timeless mindset of children.

This new book is one of many that changed how American children learned to read. Dr. Seuss' books were always more entertaining and fun than the insipid Dick and Jane books we learned to read from in the first grade in the 1960's.

He made learning to read an adventure and a special club to which children would actually want to belong. He made reading aloud something both parents and children wanted to do, not had to do.

I remember, as a child, looking forward to reading after dinner with my mom, who listened to me read The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Came Back.

No matter how many times I read those books, I never tired to reading them and came back time and again to read them some more. Dr. Seuss instilled in me a love of reading that has carried me through my entire life.

I even used Green Eggs and Ham to help teach my students iambic pentameter when we were reading Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. My 8th graders immediately understood stressed and unstressed syllables and we clapped along with the beat of the lines. Of course, I think my principal thought I had lost my marbles.

However, when I explained to my students they already had heard the use of iambic pentameter through reading Dr. Seuss books, they were amazed and immediately understood the rhyming and meter concept. This is another reason I consider Seuss a genius.

I also treated my 8th graders to the Seuss book, Oh, the Places You'll Go, on the last day of school. I smiled as I watched them roll their eyes, and I knew they were thinking, "a Dr. Seuss book? We'll just have to humor Mrs. Walker again . . ."

By the time I got to the end of the book, there was not a sound in the room and all their eyes and ears were riveted to the story. Someone always remarked at the end that this was not a book for children but for all ages, including adults, because of its theme.

This Seuss book is many times given as gifts for high school and college graduates.

Again, evidence of the genius of Dr. Seuss.


What Pet Should I Get?

This Seuss book was a nearly finished picture book and is believed to have been put aside in his files at his La Jolla,CA home in favor of the publication of his popular, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. (1960)

Why didn't Seuss publish What Pet Should I Get? before or after One Fish? Seuss' second wife Audrey has said he must have simply forgotten about it in the many projects on which he was working.

The book was believed to have been written in the years leading up to 1960; somewhere between 1957 to 1962. It seems Pet was a warm-up to One Fish . . . which is a more classical Seuss book.

The Pet manuscript was discovered in 2013 in a box that Audrey Geisel, his second wife, had set aside after his death. It was already in the final stages of preparation for publication.

The story and illustrations are about two siblings who enter a pet store excited about being able to take a new animal home because, "Dad said we could get one/ Dad said he would pay."

The children find that inside the pet store there is a dizzying lineup of choices from which to choose. But, they don't have much time because Mom has said they must be home by noon.

MAKE UP YOUR MIND is in bold letters on a banner that stretches across the top of a two-page spread and held aloft by different invented creatures Dr. Seuss is so great at creating.

The boy sums up the central theme of the book. "Oh boy! It's something to make a mind up!", which resonates today with the choices we are bombarded with everyday.

The story is a typical 1960's scenario; a pet store would have offered a setting for the angst of childhood - What Pet Should I Get?

At first, the children face a simple choice of a dog or a cat. But they quickly realize their pet options are much more numerous. They just don't have a choice of a dog or a cat, but a kitten or a puppy, a bird or a fish, and even a monkey or a bunny to consider.

"Look over there / said my sister Kay / we can go home / With a Rabbit today."

Then the real problem for the children starts - what other amazing animals exist for them to choose from. Some imaginary pets?

"a fast kind of thing / who would fly around my head / in a ring on a string," but the children reconsider because, "Our house is so small / This thing on a string / would bump bump into a wall," and their mother "would not like that at all."

A Yent, another gigantic, furry creature is considered. But, "A Yent would need a tent." Can they bring home "one of each kind of pet?" Noooo, "Dad would be mad."

By now the children realize, "If we do not choose / we will end up with none."

Finally, the brother does make up his mind, "I picked one out fast and then that was that." So the brother and sister leave the pet store with a basket but we cannot see which creature is inside.

It is left up to each child to guess what pet is in the basket and each child can end the story in his or her own way.

That is the genius of Dr. Seuss; he nudges children to imagine what pet is in the basket and engages children's imaginations. Children are required to use their imaginations just as Seuss does when he writes his books.

Each book that Seuss wrote went through many drafts and many times he would produce a thousand pages just to end up with the sixty-four pages in a finished book.

Theodor Seuss Geisel
Theodor Seuss Geisel | Source


Two Academy Awards

Two Emmy Awards

Peabody Award

Pulitzer Prize (1984)

Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal


Theodor Seuss Geisel 1904 - 1991

Thedor Geisel was an American writer and illustrator best known for his authoring children's books under the pen name of Dr. Seuss. He was born on Howard Street in Springfield, MA and since 2002, five bronze sculptures depict Dr. Seuss busily working on his drawing board with his different book characters surrounding him in a National Memorial to Seuss.

His parents were Theodor Robert and Henrietta Seuss Geisel. Seuss has credited his mother with both his ability and desire to create the rhymes for which he became so well known. His mother soothed her children to sleep by "chanting" rhymes remembered from her youth.

Seuss attended Dartmouth College and was editor-in-chief of Dartmouth's humor magazine, Jack -O-Lantern; however, he was caught throwing a drinking party on campus and so came the end of his editorship of the magazine.

He continued to contribute to the magazine signing he work "Seuss", his mother's maiden name. This is the first recording of his use of the pseudonym "Seuss."

After graduating from Dartmouth (1925) Seuss went on to Oxford University in England, but became bored with his academic studies and left Oxford without earning a degree. He decided to tour Europe instead.

He did meet his future and first wife, Helen Palmer at Oxford, a children's author and book editor in her own right. They returned to the U.S. and Seuss pursued a career as an illustrator for different magazines of the time: Saturday Evening Post, Vanity Fair, Life, and Harper's Bazaar.

Seuss also worked creating advertising campaigns for Standard Oil which he worked at for fifteen years.

His first break into children's literature came when Viking Press offered Seuss a contract to illustrate a collection of children's sayings called Boners. The book was not a commercial success but his illustrations drew great reviews.

Seuss' first book that he wrote and illustrated was And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. (1937) This book was rejected twenty-seven times before being published by Vanguard Press.

The Cat in the Hat (1957), the defining book of his writing career, was a joint venture between Houghton Mifflin (Vanguard Press) and Random House. They asked Seuss to write and illustrate a children's primer using only 225 "new reader" vocabulary words.

With the release of The Cat in the Hat, Seuss became the definitive children's book author and illustrator world wide. His books are been translated into more than fifteen languages and he has published over 200,000 million copies of his books.

Helen died in 1967 and Seuss married an old friend, Audrey Stone Geisel who influenced his later books and now holds his legacy as president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

At his death, Seuss had written and illustrated forty-four children's books such as Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Fox in Socks, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) and more recently, Oh, the Places You'll Go.


How does Seuss do it?

While when reading Seuss' books, it looks as if his stories are made up of simple words and rhymes; however, much more time and effort goes into the writing of his books than readers would realize.

The majority of his books are written in anapestic (poetic meter) tetrameter, the English literary canon. This type of rhyme meter consists of four rhythmic units or anapests of stressed and unstressed syllables of: u u /

Example: And today the Great Yertie, that Marvelous he.

In his book, If I Ran the Circus, he uses amphibrachic tetrameter with u / u u / u u /

Example: All ready to put up the tents for my circus.

He also uses trochaic tetrameter: / u / u with four units per line.

Example: One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish.

And he uses iambic tetrameter/pentameter as does Shakespeare in his plays. u /u / u /

Example: Green eggs and Ham.

As shown here, his stories are well thought out and the rhyming and meter are well thought out as well. This is part of his genius. To this day, I can remember the names of Seuss' books after all this time.

Which Dr. Seuss book is your favorite?

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    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      3 years ago from Taos, NM

      teaches: you know so well that Seuss appeals to readers of all ages, but it is the youngsters that learn the value of reading from Seuss. I love the Places You'll Go and have read to it classes on the last day of school. They love it. So glad you enjoyed reading this.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      3 years ago from Taos, NM

      tillsontitan: I agree with you, Seuss has inspired more kids to read and keep reading. Anderson is not bad either! LOL! So glad you enjoyed reading this.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Vellur: That is what is so great about Seuss as he appeals to all ages. This book is another one of his enjoyable rhymes and illustrations. I am so glad you enjoyed this and I know you will enjoy the book.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 years ago

      I have used Dr. Seuss books to teach important concepts for Preschoolers and High Schoolers. You highlighted my favorite: Oh The Places You'll Go. I have given it to graduates over the years. It is such a motivator! I will have to pick up the new book you mention here. Dr. Seuss will always be best reads in my library.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Seuss has kept more kids reading than any other author in history. Well, I'm not sure about Hans Christian Anderson.

      Dr. Seuss's books were fun to read and kept children wanting to come back for more. I'm glad they found another manuscript! Thanks foro the information.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      This is great news and I must get my hands on that book. He is really amazing the way he writes. Great hub, you have explained the rhyme meters so well and given a great introduction to Dr.Seuss. Enjoyed reading your hub!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Audrey: Thanks so much for reading. I also loved his books and still do. I am looking forward to reading this one.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi Nell: here in America he is quite famous for his books. I find it interesting that he attended Oxford to study English, so he comes to us by way of England!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      I hadn't realized there was another manuscript being published! I loved his books when I was growing up--still do!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      I really can't remember his books, I know I read them but its a blank! lol! I will have to go and take a look, but what a great hub! I learned things about him that I didn't know, and didn't realise that he written so many books, this was a great read, nell

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      lady: So glad you enjoyed reading this. Seuss was so much more fun to read than Dick and Jane. I am looking forward to reading this book. His rhymes are fun to see and read also.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      lady: So glad you enjoyed reading this. Seuss was so much more fun to read than Dick and Jane. I am looking forward to reading this book. His rhymes are fun to see and read also.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Genna: It must have been put aside and then forgotten. I know I have done that with some of my writings. I think he thought it was inferior to his other stories, but publishers today want to publish anything written by a successful author even whether the work is complete or not. So glad you enjoyed this and I can't wait to read this book either.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      travmaj: So glad you enjoyed this and are a Seuss fan. I am surprised that children's publishers do not accept rhyming poetry these days. That is so sad. I wonder what the reasoning is? Rhyming is something important for children to learn. That is what I love about Seuss, his books are perfect for children and adults of all ages!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Jodah: Dr. Seuss is one of my favorites authors also. So glad you enjoyed reading this and yes, your rhyming poetry is a delight to read as Seuss' is. You are in fine company!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi Kim: Thanks so much for reading this and I am glad you enjoyed it. Spirtdom- love your new word! You are as imaginative as Seuss, but I already knew that! You are my writersis!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi Theresa: I too have loved Seuss' books. They are fun and imaginative and entertaining for kids and adults alike. I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this. I look forward to reading this new book too.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Blossom: So glad you enjoyed reading this. Yes, Seuss is my favorite for teaching kids to read and use their imaginations. Seuss certainly had an imagination. Thanks for reading this.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      4 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      The hub you wrote is very good with most of what kids felt in the 60's. I remember how I felt when our school got the Cat in the Hat, which could hold a kids attention. Dick and Jane, put kids to sleep.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Dr. Suess is timeless...I still love his work. If this manuscript was already in the readied stages for publication, I'd say it stands apart from the mysterious, so-called "discovery" [cough] of GSAW. (Nuff said, my friend. :-) I look forward to reading this wonderful new Seuss book. Thank you for the heads up.

    • travmaj profile image


      4 years ago from australia

      Hi Suzette, what nostalgia - and what an inspiration Dr Seuss is and will continue to be. I haven't decided to read 'Watchman' either, however I will look out for What Pet should I Get. I know numerous children who would love it and I'll have my time with it too. I'm surprised that many children's publishers do not accept submissions of rhyming poetry these days. The rhyme and rhythm in these books are perfect and engage children and adults.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Suzette, this is a wonderful hub. Dr Seuss is and always will be one of my favourite authors and constant inspirations. Yes, His books are responsible for my desire to read and my love of rhyming poetry. I am pleased that this new story was revealed and I look forward to reading it. Voted up.

    • ocfireflies profile image


      4 years ago from North Carolina


      This hub cements our kindred spiritdom -had to create a new word in honor of the late, great Dr. Seuss-Voted Up and Shared, here, there and everywhere!



    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great Hub Suzette. :) I have loved the Dr. Seuss books all my life. He was amazing and the popularity of his wonderful books does not seem to have diminished. This was both fascinating and very informative. Hope all is well. Blessings. Theresa

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I met the Dr. Seuss books as a teacher-librarian. They were wonderful to read to the children and so helpful in encouraging children to read. This is a great, interesting article - I'll look forward to this new addition to the collection. Voted up.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Bill: I know, his photo is not seen alot. No little kids, but there may be grandchildren on the horizon?

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Sunshine: Well, being a teacher, I have always loved his books and enjoyed reading them. They are really written for all ages. Thanks so much for stopping by to read this even though he is not your favorite writer.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Chitrangada: Thanks so much for stopping by to read this. I am glad you enjoyed it. I think writing for children is very challenging. Thanks so much for your interest.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi Faith: It is so good to hear from you. Yes, it has been awhile since I have published a hub. I think I am a bit "hubbed out!" LOL! I only write hubs now that really intrigue me. I don't know if I am going to read Watchman because I think the publication is plain greed. I do not believe Lee really knows and understands this is being published. I hate to see the elderly taken advantage of. I am sure your grandchildren will love Seuss' new book. Take care and again. so good to hear from you!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Mike: Yes, this is the summer for publication of lost manuscripts. Seuss' books are timeless and children today continue to read them. I like his lost manuscript much better than Lee's. Her's I feel is greed, but Seuss' I believe a manuscript overlooked that he would have published during his lifetime.

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      bluebird: Yes, Seuss lead an interesting life. I love this books and they appeal to all ages. Thanks so much for stopping by to read this and share your tidbits about Seuss.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly, I don't think I've ever seen a picture of Seuss. I do love his work, and I no longer have little kids. :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I have never been a fan of Dr. Suess, the excessive repetition annoyed me, but I do appreciate the Dr. Suess quotes and of course this tribute is fabulous!!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great review and excellent writing!

      Writing for kids is not easy. One has to keep the interest alive. Enjoyed reading your wonderful review.

      Nice to see your work again. Thank you!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Suzzette!

      So great to see you publishing and I have not been publishing myself. I figured you were writing on Harper Lee's new book, and I see I missed the controversy about it ...I saw a blurb on the Internet about Dr. Seuss's new book too!

      I am a child of the 60s too and remember reading his fun books and, yes, so much better than those Dick and Jane books! I will have to get it for my grands.

      Wonderful review here as always!

      Peace and blessings always

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Another found manuscript. Funny how that is a recurring theme in the publishing world. Like you, I read many a Dr. Seuss. I read mine at a local library annex.

      Great review and now I am thinking - 'who would enjoy a book by Dr. Seuss?' And there are one or two still young enough to learn.

    • bluebird profile image


      4 years ago

      Great subject, great hub. I'm with you, I enjoyed these books as a kid and also truly enjoyed reading them to my kids. I found his biography at the library, not even looking for it, took it home and skimmed through. Very interesting to say the least! He never had any kids and played tricks on his best friend and it went back and forth as they were always one-upping the other. He pulled a funny one with a tub full of jello on his friend. What a character! Thanks for this! Good job!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Thanks, Martie. Yes, I agree with you that children's books are more difficult to writer. I have written a book for middle school students and I know what you mean. I didn't know you were collecting Dr. Seuss books - what a great idea. I have a few from my childhood, but certainly not all of them. Thanks for reading this and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent review, Suzette! Writing for children is more difficult than writing for adults. One day i will have all Dr. Seuss books :)


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