Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Forgotten Manuscript by Seuss

Forty-odd years ago, Dr. Seuss started an early reader with the working title All Sorts of Sports. He and an assistant helping with the project completed 19 pages, with the first seven written exclusively by Seuss. He also did some rough sketches to go with the text. The project was ultimately shelved. Until 1983, that is, when the assistant brought it again to the Doctor's attention, asking if he remembered it.

Seuss did. He replied in a letter that the manuscript was flawed because the main character, an athlete named Pete, presented a negative image, his inability to catch a ball making him a "schook." Seuss went on to add: "This is not entirely apparent in the text, but when you picture these negative scenes in illustrations, you will find that negatives are always more memorable than positives."

It is to Seuss's credit that he recognized the defects of the story and choose not to publish it. If only more named authors would do the same, instead of putting out ill-conceived stories just because they can.

To read more about the manuscript and to see some sample pages, click here.

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