Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew up to Become Dr. Suess

The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew up to Become Dr. Suess

Kathleen Krull
Illustrator:  Steve Johnson , Lou Fancher 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
Random House, 2004   ISBN: 978-0375822988

Little Ted Geisel who lived at 74 Fairfield Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, was a busy little boy who loved books and animals. He loved to hear stories about how the animals in the local zoo were doing and treasured the times when his mother would read him books at bedtime. He had wonderful adventures in the park and riding around on his bike with his friends.

Then war broke out in Europe and his German immigrant family began to have problems. Just because his grandparents had come from Germany, and because the family still spoke German, sang German songs, and ate German food, Ted was picked on and bullied. The experience was one he would never forget and it would influence him a great deal in his adult life.

One of the things that made him happy was drawing. He was often drawing animals and made-up creatures and even won a prize for his art. There was one problem though, and that was what Ted drew did not conform to the "rules" of how things should be done. His art was different, and different was not acceptable to many people. Still, Ted kept on drawing and always had the tendency to bend the rules to suit him. It was because of this that Ted came to understand that he couldn?t live the dreams that other people had for him. Instead he had to find out how he could make his way in the world doing what he loved to do; that is writing poetry and drawing odd pictures.

Thus it was that Ted took the plunge and began to make a name for himself as a cartoonist. A fan letter from a little boy started him thinking about creating drawings and poems for young people.

This delightful book is beautifully illustrated, written with enthusiasm, and with a clear fondness for the wonderful "Dr. Seuss." The reader will come to understand what made Ted Geisel become the author/illustrator called Dr. Seuss.

At the back of the book the reader will find a complete biography of Ted Geisel and also a list of all the books he created.