“…WE CAN HAVE LOTS OF GOOD FUN THAT IS FUNNY!”: RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE CAT IN THE HAT
SEUSS, Dr. The Cat in the Hat. New York: Random House, (1957). Octavo, original pictorial paper boards, pictorial endpapers, original pictorial dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of this rare and important children’s classic.
“A turning point, not only in the career of Dr. Seuss but in the reading habits of American children, occurred in the late 1950’s. Inspired by a thoughtful article by John Hersey in Life magazine, entitled ‘Why do Students Bog Down on the First R?,’ Seuss began to address the problem, which has since entered the popular parlance as the why-Johnny-can’t-read syndrome. Hersey’s contention was that the schools were filled with ‘pallid primers’ such as Fun with Dick and Jane, featuring ‘abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls,’ that real children found them uninspiring, and that many bookstores displayed more attractive alternatives, the ‘jaunty juveniles’ with ‘strange and wonderful animals and children who behave naturally, i.e., sometimes misbehave.’ Seuss’ answer was The Cat in the Hat. By enhancing everyday situations with irresistible imaginary characters and telling the tales with cleverly rhymed, easily recognizable words, Seuss gave control of learning to read back to children, while providing wit, charm, comic verse, and a surprise on every page. The Cat in the Hat was so successful that Random House, publisher of all the Dr. Seuss books since 1937, created a special division, Beginner Books, with the Cat in the Hat as the logo and Dr. Seuss as president of the division” (Dr. Seuss from Then to Now, 45). “This extraordinary writer has done more to foster literacy in children than most because he manages to combine lunacy with sanity, fun with learning, and quality with exuberant readability” (Joseph Connolly). First edition, with 200/200 on the inside flap of dust jacket and all other first edition points. Younger & Hirsch 7. Contemporary gift inscription and child’s signature. Notation on rear flap of dust jacket.
Bright book with only a tiny bit of rubbing to spine ends. Very bright, price-clipped dust jacket with light wear to extremities. A near-fine copy.