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Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat [Hardcover]

Caroline M. Smith

List Price: CDN$ 75.00
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Book Description

Nov. 13 2012
An exuberant and beautifully produced book that juxtaposes the secret art of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel--the most beloved children’s author and illustrator of all time) with his iconic children's art.

This comprehensive look at the breadth of art that Theodor Geisel created over his lifetime is an eye-opening peek behind the public persona into the real story of the man who was Dr. Seuss.

 Illustrator by day, surrealist by night, Ted Geisel created a body of previously little-known work during his leisure hours that he called his “Midnight Paintings,” and which is now known as “The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss.” This irrepressible and soulful collection redefines Ted Geisel as an iconic American artist. For sixty years, his “Secret Art” allowed Geisel to expand his artistic boundaries without the confines and pressures of commercial deadlines and influences. These paintings afforded the peaceful distraction that he craved, and through this work, the tenets of surrealism—surprise and juxtaposition—energized his sensibilities.


This volume exuberantly juxtaposes Geisel’s “Midnight Paintings” with his best-loved children’s books because this was how Dr. Seuss constructed his creative life—his days devoted to literature for children, his nights to letting his mind and palette wander to even stranger shores. Inevitably, Geisel created images in his private artworks that would find their way into his literary projects. Though he fiercely protected his “Secret Art” from criticism during his lifetime, his intention all along was for these works to be seen when he was gone.


It is downright absurd to make an art book on Dr. Seuss that attempts a straight chronology on the life and work of this multitalented author, illustrator, painter, sculptor, political cartoonist, adman, doodler, practical joker, and Cat Behind the Hat. Chronology is, in this case, an elusive term. His life meanders between so many facets of artistic impulses, with images cross-pollinating over years and even decades, that the chronological line of his life is as dippy and curved as the architectural elements of a house in Who-ville.

Therefore, this book is “chronological-ish.” That is to say, some things come at the right time and some at the wrong time. But just as Dr. Seuss taught us to look at life “through the wrong end of a telescope,” the iconic artwork packed into these pages helps us understand that it isn’t always a straight line from here to there that matters . . . but rather the fun of the journey that really counts.


Chapters include:


As Early as It Gets

Dr. Seuss and His Midnight Paintings


Very Early

Advertising and Editorial Work


Pretty Early

Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy 


Still Early

Secrets of the Deep


Less Early

The War Years


No Longer Early

The Post-War Years


La Jolla Birdwomen
A Little Later
The Cat Behind the Hat
Even Later
The Grinch
A Smidge Later Than That
Happy Birthday To You!
Somewhat Later Still
Green Eggs and Ham
Significantly Later
Seussian Abstractions
As Late as it Gets
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!



This book is published by Chase Art Companies and distributed by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Frequently Bought Together

Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat + The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (Nov. 13 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449432603
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449432607
  • Product Dimensions: 31.2 x 24.9 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #286,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Chase Art Companies:                       

Beyond the familiar faces featured in Dr. Seuss’s children’s books, Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) created a separate body of paintings and sculptures, which have rarely been seen by the public. Since 1997 Chase Art Companies has worked to bring this collection of artworks into the public view. Reproductions of those images, as well as limited editions derived from his original book illustrations, are exhibited in galleries and museums around the world alongside the works of Rembrandt, Picasso, Miró, and Warhol. To learn more about The Art of Dr. Seuss please visit www.DrSeussArt.com.


Lionheart Books is a packager located in Atlanta. Headed by former Turner publisher Michael Reagan, Lionheart has produced such New York Times best-sellers as The Complete Far Side and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An account of Dr. Seuss Nov. 29 2012
By wogan - Published on Amazon.com
This is a big, heavy coffee table book showing the public and the private art of Theodore Geisel - Dr. Seuss. The art is fascinating, ranging from advertisements that he did, to book illustrations and the `Midnight paintings' that he did not want shown to the public until after his death.

There are descriptions of events in his life and his work. They include the beginnings of Horton, calendars and many advertisements that he illustrated. The pictures are all well done and clear, many of them cover a whole page or even extending onto the next page. Each work has the medium it was done on and its title; although I wish they would have included the year it was made. The book is in mostly chronological order. Photos of Theodore Geisel are included. His work shows, in an interesting way, his social conscience.

This is a well done book, although one should be aware that it was published previously as `Secrets of the Deep' and it is sold as a very costly limited edition, but if you search you can find the regular book at a fraction of the limited edition's cost.
It is an interesting compilation of Seuss' work and life that fans of his and those of art would enjoy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality prints, fascinating info Dec 6 2013
By Deborah Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This has lovely illustrations and a lot of fascinating information about a side of Dr. Seuss that we don't see in his children's books. In fact, we'd love to find a print of one of the works we found inside it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Nov. 26 2013
By Stephen T. Hopkins - Published on Amazon.com
There are several great reasons to buy Caroline Smith’s Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat. First of all, this is a beautiful book. The illustrations are finely printed and are beautiful to see. Second, if the only image you have of Dr. Seuss comes from The Cat in the Hat, you are in for a treat. While many of the images from Ted Geisel’s children’s books were familiar to me, I especially enjoyed seeing the midnight paintings, his ads and the political cartoons he drew. Finally, any reader who likes to learn more about a creative individual will discover in this finely written book a comprehensive perspective on Ted Geisel. Treat yourself to this expensive book with a value that far exceeds its cost.

Rating: Four-star (I like it)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An art book with some unnecessary text Nov. 20 2013
By Dan'l Danehy-Oakes - Published on Amazon.com
Subtitled, "The Art of Dr. Seuss," this is more-or-less a restrospective of Seuss's entire career, but it focuses strongly on what the Doctor called his "Midnight Paintings," i.e., things not intended for publication in his lifetime. These range from very Seuss-y Seusses to some wild abstracts and surreal paintings ... but always with his sense of humor and delight in what he's doing.

There's text but it doesn't get in the way, and a couple of short essays by Seuss himself, including one on how the original Cat came to be written. There are sketches showing how some of his most famous books developed. And through it all there is Seussery.

I like it, but that is only to be expected, as I regard Dr. Seuss as the children's entertainer (author, artist, moviemaker...) of the twentieth century.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, fun and informative! Nov. 19 2012
By Scave31 - Published on Amazon.com
Part biography, part art book, "Dr. Seuss, The Cat Behind the Hat" is a great peek into the many facets of Theodor Geisel, the artist and writer who touched so many lives, children's and adult's alike, and continues to touch them today, 20 years after his death. I learned a lot about the man...his need for privacy and why he keep much of his art out of the public eye. His art and writings, even that directed at children, reflected so much of his world view, his desire for fairness and equality for all people. I loved some of the stories behind how he created his art and why he wrote the books he wrote. His wit and humor stood out, even in the ads he wrote and illustrated to pay the bills during the Depression years. I loved seeing how some of the characters which came to be prominent in his children's books were present years earlier in his "midnight paintings" otherwise known as "the secret art of Seuss." Some of that art includes wacky taxidermy that will really tickle the reader, a book that featured the Seuss Navy for the 1936 National Boat Show, and many of his wonderful political cartoons.

I read this book in e-book form and found the art beautiful to look at, so I imagine the printed version will be stunning. Colorful, imaginative, and informative, The Cat Behind the Hat, was a smile-inducing, thoughtful, and a few times, when being reminded of especially good memories I have of Dr. Seuss's books, a bit tearful for me to read. I especially loved the section that discussed his foray into children's books, which came much later in his life. Oh, the places Dr. Seuss went...this book takes a reader there and lets them share a bit in the life that touched so many of us.

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