For children who can read And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street without help, an account of its creator’s life and career.
Klimo teams up with the illustrators of Kathleen Krull’s The Boy on Fairfield Street (2004) to tell the same tale in (somewhat) simpler language. Opening with the news of his Pulitzer Prize win—“Not bad for a lifelong doodler!”—she follows “Ted” from birth on. It’s a lightweight chronicle that includes his youth and early career as a cartoonist, his personal and public lives, his major picture-book successes and breakthrough easy readers, and his work as the publisher of the Beginner Books imprint. Johnson and Fancher incorporate actual Seussian artwork into their golden-toned paintings, including some commercial work but not, happily, the now-discomfiting racial caricatures he drew during World War II when, as the author diplomatically puts it, he “poked fun at Hitler and Japan.” Along with views of the man himself at various ages, the illustrators include racially diverse groups of children and (something of a stretch) publishers raptly reading or listening. There is no bibliography, and the recent string of posthumous publications goes unmentioned. Still, newly independent readers will come away with a picture of the creative genius behind the Cat, the Grinch, and all that incomparable wordplay.
Not essential but a handsome tribute. (Early reader/biography. 5-7)