Review: Should You Get The New Dr. Seuss Book?

Jul 28, 2015

From Texas Standard:

By now, you've probably heard about the latest book – newly discovered and rushed to publication — by Dr. Seuss. It's been about as well-kept a secret as Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman," which came out a few weeks ago. We decided to call in our resident Texas expert on literature to find out whether you should get "What Pet Should I Get?"

Claiborne Smith is the editor-in-chief of Austin-based Kirkus Review.

On the Kirkus Reviews' review:

"This isn't our reviewer's favorite of [Dr. Seuss'] books. We were pretty lukewarm on it... The rhyme doesn't really quite attain that level of Dr. Seussian zaniness that we all remember and love."

On who it's being published for:

"Random House Children's Books did a first printing of one million copies, which is astounding, so I think they're intending it for everyone. So it's very much for children, it is also a great nostalgia trip for adults who read Dr. Seuss as children themselves."

On whether he thinks kids will like it:

"I do!"

On why it wasn't published before:

"I asked the editor at Random House Children's Books that very question. Her theory is that he had huge success with 'One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish' and 'The Cat in the Hat Comes Back' that he was so furiously working on those that this just got sort of forgotten. And he was an extremely meticulous thinker and creator so I actually tend to buy that. She said that if he really didn't want it to be published he would have thrown it away."

On how this book was put together:

"The publisher had to sort of assemble from the notes that [Dr. Seuss] had left. And what [Dr. Seuss] used to do, as you know, he illustrated his books as well as wrote them. So he would put these little pieces of onion skin down on his paintings and, as he was revising, he would put new onion skin on top of the previous pieces for the new rhyme that he would come up with and the new text. So the publisher had to kind of guess — for the most part they would take the text that was on the top — but there was no road map for this. So they had to assemble it from what was left, and it was in a storage closet in his house in La Jolla, California."