Friday, March 2, 2012

Queer Fish

Should I, could I, write this post?
Will you, will you think it's gross?
From Baton Rogue to Tuskaloos'
Everyone knows about Dr. Seuss

Okay, I'm not really a poet, and I'm no Dr. Seuss by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel like I need to honor him today. For those that don't know, today is Theodore Seuss Geisel day, in commemoration of his birthday. Today, had he survived, he would have been 108 years old.


Of course, we probably all know his work in children's books (Sam I Am, Green Eggs and Ham, Oh, the Places You'll Go, The Lorax, The Butter Battle, Diffendoofer Day), but in that seeming inanity and simplicity, didn't he achieve the goal we all strive for? Is he not, at least a little bit, immortal?

Geisel and Dahl stand out as unique childrens' authors in my mind, mostly because they are queer fish.

Far fish, near fish, old fish, queer fish.

Why are they queer fish? Think about their work. Admittedly, they had some basic childrens' books, but they also didn't, and the books (I nearly wrote fish there, so you know) that aren't your average childrens' books seemed to stick around better. The Lorax is terribly depressing, The Sneetches is totally political and, again, not a happy story. The same can be said of Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Matilda.

Why is that important? Both Seuss and Dahl decided that children could handle dark subjects and, yes, there are some Dahl books I would never read to children (Dahl fans know what I'm talking about.), but Seuss was a smashing success. The pointlessness of war, prejudice, deforestation--he presented them all in kid-friendly format, and with a unique, brilliant, and recognizable style. It's thanks to those two and, in America, mostly Seuss that we have as much freedom as we do in young adult and middle grade literature.

Theodore Geisel, I bow at your feet,


Frances Pauli said...

You rock! I think everyone should try least once, at least today.

far fish, near fish, hehehe

Jaleta Clegg said...

At our house:

One dog, two dog, red dog, blue dog, this one has a little star, that one wants to ride in car...