Saturday, February 28, 2009

Philip Nel, The Annotated Cat: Under The Hats of Seuss and His Cats

As kids, most of us cut our young reader's teeth on Seuss classics The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. Philip Nel expertly collects everything you'd ever want to know about the writing, illustrating, and publishing of these two children's books, and then some!

The Annotated Cat breaks down each of the Cat books page-by-page, examining how Theo "Seuss" Geisel developed each story, worked and re-worked the rhymes, and created the corresponding artwork. We see glimpses of early drafts and rough sketches of the artwork, and Nel's notes do a great job of noting the poetic patterns, symbols, and improvements that famously took Seuss over a year and a half as he wrote the first book!

But for the true aficionados, Nel includes a biography of Geisel that highlights his achievements as an animator of political cartoons and marketing ads ("Quick, Henry, the Flit!"), all of which functioned as an influence on his art and story development for the Cat books. With rare photos (Seuss's drawing table, for example) and facsimiles of the Cats in manuscript form, as well as tons of Seussian trivia, The Annotated Cat is a fun book to explore.

Check it out!