Imagine how I felt when I found out Dr. Seuss was not a real doctor, not even one of those fake ones of literature. No, he dropped out of the Oxford doctorate program because a girl—never mind that she happened to become his supportive and loving wife, Helen Palmer—was impressed by his classroom doodles and told him he should be an artist. And of course, like any parent's nightmare scenario when a boy is given advice from a girl, Theodor Seuss Geisel threw away the money his father had scrounged together to pay for his tuition and decided to put his Ivy League education to even greater use: writing and illustrating children's books that show kids how to: invite into their homes unknown, possibly drug-hyped, partying cats that want to show the children Thing One and Thing Two when the parents aren't around; be picky about their breakfast foods; and commit serial burglary of holiday ornaments while practicing religious intolerance. But despite all this, you must admit that the Dr. has become a staple of our American upbringing.
His legacy as a man who devoted the later part of his life to children's literacy by creating stories with illustrations and plots that were interesting enough to hold short attention spans using only a few carefully selected basic words (only 50 in Green Eggs and Ham) will live on despite Hollywood making a movie out of it. Seuss even created political cartoons for Life and PM and a couple of documentaries for the military during World War II. So if you want to pay your respects to the man who taught you how to read (five words at a time), come see "The Art of Dr. Seuss—A Retrospective and National Touring Exhibition" at the Sarah Bain Gallery, showcasing previously unseen work by Seuss. You might even learn something.
"The Art of Dr. Seuss" at Sarah Bain Gallery, 411 W. Broadway, Ste. C, Anaheim, (714) 758-0545; www.sarahbaingallery.com . Call for times. Through Aug. 21. Free.