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The Boy on Fairfield Street [Hardcover]

Kathleen Krull , Steve Johnson , Lou Fancher
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Library Binding CDN $25.80  
Hardcover, Jan. 13 2004 --  
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Book Description

Jan. 13 2004
Award-winning author Kathleen Krull zeros in on the formative first 22 years of the life of Ted Geisel. This is the first picture book biography of Dr. Seuss, written especially for his young fans who want to know what made him tick. The animals in the zoo that his father ran and his fondness for drawing them, the injustices he suffered as the child of German immigrants, and his inherent sense of humor all fed into the imagination of this boy. He was a square peg in a round hole until he found that he could make a living doing exactly what he pleased—doodling and writing funny things about the world as he saw it.

The last section of the book outlines the important events in his adult life. In addition to the evocative paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, the book is profusely decorated with art from Dr. Seuss books.

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Product Description

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. Before Geisel became Dr. Seuss, he was a boy who "feasted on books and was wild about animals." This introductory sentence begins a delightful picture-book biography about Geisel that chronicles how he became an innovative writer and illustrator beloved by readers young and old. Born in 1904 to a mother who enjoyed reading and a father who worked at the zoo in Springfield, Massachusetts, Geisel spent his days doodling, hanging out with friends, and generally fooling around. Yet there were also some difficult moments. His German heritage made him a target for teasing at the advent of World War I; he was also a rule breaker and was told by his teacher that he would never get anywhere with his art. The book ends when Geisel, already a published cartoonist, is 22, living in Greenwich Village, and looking forward to a bright future. An extended author's note details how Geisel became Dr. Seuss and discusses a number of his works. Krull's pithy text is extended by full-page paintings that glow with the memory of yesteryear and capture the mix of humor and poignancy that comes with trying to fit in. Spot art from Geisel's own books enlivens the text pages. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Kathleen Krull is the author of Harcourt’s popular “Lives of . . .” series and the award-winning Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman. The author lives in San Diego, CA.

Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher illustrated New York’s Bravest, My Many Colored Days, and other distinguished picture books. They live in Minneapolis, MN.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Seuss-on! Feb. 7 2004
Format:Hardcover
A great biography for the under-12 crowd, The Boy on Fairfield Street is beautifully illustrated and tenderly written. From Ted's experiences with bullies to a humiliating experience with former President Theodore Roosevelt, Krull has shown the reader Ted's common failings as well as his extraordinary perseverance. Disappointing, however, is the short-stop ending just after Ted moves to New York at 22, before any of his famous children's books were written. There is an additional four page narrative but it is not fully illustrated as the rest of the story is and may leave some children cold unless they have help to get through it. Overall, a wonderful book that is just perfect for a celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2 or a celebration of this year's Seussentennial.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Children will Love this book! April 9 2004
Format:Hardcover
Do you know a child who feels out of step with the rest of their class? How about one that seems to annoy their teacher because they see the world differently? This biography was made for them!
Dr. Suess seemed to frustrate his teachers as his drawings were so different from all the other children in his class - in this book, readers will learn that he reveled in his uniqueness and embraced his unusual view of the world. As a result, he was able to find success as a cartoonist -- though it did take time.
The biography isn't just for little kids, but could be gifted to any "child" who needs to feel proud of their uniqueness.
Do you hear a drum beat that no one else can hear? Be glad you do -- you might grow up to be as successful as Dr. Suess.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Hardcover
It's hard to know where to place this biography of Ted Geisel: Boy On Fairfield Street reads with the action and drama of fiction, yet is a bona-fide account of how Geisel grew up to become Dr. Seuss. Paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher accompany a lively discussion of how Geisel got his ideas. Good reading skills or parental assistance required for this in-depth biographical survey.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Children will Love this book! April 9 2004
By L. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Do you know a child who feels out of step with the rest of their class? How about one that seems to annoy their teacher because they see the world differently? This biography was made for them!
Dr. Suess seemed to frustrate his teachers as his drawings were so different from all the other children in his class - in this book, readers will learn that he reveled in his uniqueness and embraced his unusual view of the world. As a result, he was able to find success as a cartoonist -- though it did take time.
The biography isn't just for little kids, but could be gifted to any "child" who needs to feel proud of their uniqueness.
Do you hear a drum beat that no one else can hear? Be glad you do -- you might grow up to be as successful as Dr. Suess.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seuss-on! Feb. 7 2004
By Jessica Ferguson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A great biography for the under-12 crowd, The Boy on Fairfield Street is beautifully illustrated and tenderly written. From Ted's experiences with bullies to a humiliating experience with former President Theodore Roosevelt, Krull has shown the reader Ted's common failings as well as his extraordinary perseverance. Disappointing, however, is the short-stop ending just after Ted moves to New York at 22, before any of his famous children's books were written. There is an additional four page narrative but it is not fully illustrated as the rest of the story is and may leave some children cold unless they have help to get through it. Overall, a wonderful book that is just perfect for a celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2 or a celebration of this year's Seussentennial.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading skills or parental assistance required June 12 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's hard to know where to place this biography of Ted Geisel: Boy On Fairfield Street reads with the action and drama of fiction, yet is a bona-fide account of how Geisel grew up to become Dr. Seuss. Paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher accompany a lively discussion of how Geisel got his ideas. Good reading skills or parental assistance required for this in-depth biographical survey.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An American Icon March 2 2006
By LonestarReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a wonderful biography to share with children and adults. A poll of any group of readers about their favorite books will ALWAYS come up with Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat. Ted Geisel's work is loved.

Kathleen Krull describes the events in his early life that became part of his work and interests later. His lifelong love of animals, his shyness, his sense of justice and fairplay were outgrowths of his boyhood on Fairfield Street in Springfield, MA.

Geisel's boyhood was filled with fun and adventure but he was always slightly out of step with the rest of the world. He was a kid who preferred drawing crazy animals to studying. As the son of German immigrants, he was mocked and bullied. He had a three-legged dog. He wrote and drew under pseudonyms.

The book follows his childhood and college days and ends with Ted striking out on his own, as an illustrator and cartoonist in Greenwich Village.

The paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher seem to just glow and invite the reader to keep turning the pages.

I read this book to many classes as it was a Bluebonnet title but this is not a book you can just breeze though. There is much to discuss and digest. Without fail, the kids are outraged when Ted is shorted his medal for selling war bonds in an embarrassing presentation by former President Theodore Roosevelt. They are thrilled when Ted draws on the walls of his room and does NOT get in trouble. They examined the illustrations closely. I shared the book with at least 10 classes before I noticed (thanks to a sharp-eyed student) Ted's three legged dog is featured on the cover of the book. The kids also enjoyed picking out the tiny Seuss images on the corners of the pages.

There is a comprehensive "rest of the story" at the end of the book with details about his later life.

This is a lovely tribute to an American icon.

If you know kids who are fans of books by Theodore Le Sieg (The Eye Book, The Foot Book, Ten Apples Up on Top, Wacky Wednesday) have them spell Le Sieg's name backwards after you finish this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We need more books like this. April 5 2008
By M. Andrade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am an elementary school teacher in Santa Maria. Every year I am in charge of the Read Across America Day at our school. This book was the best book to read on this day! The teachers and kids enjoyed it. I would like to have gotten one for every teacher, maybe next year.
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