New Seuss Story Discovered After Being Locked in a Box

Sometimes great discoveries are right under our noses. Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss to millions of children) died in 1991, and soon after, Audrey, his widow, found a box of unpublished manuscripts and illustrations in his office during a home renovation. The box was put aside, and remained undisturbed and unopened for another 23 years. In 2013, Audrey took a second pass at cleaning her late husband’s office, this time with Geisel’s longtime secretary, Claudia Prescott, whereupon the box was opened again. This time, the contents were examined more carefully, and inside was the complete manuscript and illustrations for What Pet Shall I Get? The material was quickly sent to Random House, which will publish the book on July 28.

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Seuss’ former art director, Cathy Goldsmith, estimates the book was written between 1958 and 1962, since the brother-sister duo in this story are the same pair who appear in the 1960 Seuss classic One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. (The New York Times just ran a wonderful profile on Goldsmith, exploring her eleven-year working relationship with Seuss as well as how she prepared this manuscript for publication.) “My connection to Ted remains as vital as it was when we worked closely together years ago--I know he is looking down, watching over the process, and I feel a tremendous responsibility to do everything just as he would have done himself,” Goldsmith said in a prepared statement. The materials will now be stored at the Geisel Library at UC San Diego.

Next week I’ll share my thoughts on What Pet Shall I Get? over at Literary Features Syndicate.

Image: Reproduced with permission from Random House.

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