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Theodor 'Dr. Seuss' Geisel Dies

Cambridge Saddened by Death of Children's Book Author

By Sara A. Bibel

Dr. Seuss, the Pulitzer prize-winning author of children's books, died Tuesday night after a long illness.

The 87-year-old wrote children's favorites such as Green Eggs and Ham How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat. Seuss--whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel--died at home with his family.

Seuss wrote and illustrated 47 books and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his contribution to children's literature.

The Cambridge community was greatly saddened by his death, with shock akin to that of Sam-I-Am discovering that he liked green eggs and ham.

"I'm really crushed," said Donna R. Henry '92. "I was looking at by Seuss the other day in the Coop. Now I think I'll buy it."

"I don't think anyone's too old for Dr. Seuss," Henry said.

Graduate School of Education (GSE) student Joann Stemmermann said Seuss's death is of great significance in the field of children's literature.

"[Seuss's death] is the ending of an era," Stemmermann said. "Someone else will have to pick up where he left off."

But some students said Seuss had lived a long life, and that his death was inevitable.

"He was a great children's writer, but they all go sometime," said Sara L. Algots, a student at the GSE.

Members of the Boston chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility praised Seuss for his talent at tackling difficult topics in a way that entertains and is understandable to his young readers.

The organization presented Seuss with its first-ever award for children's literature last year.

"He has a unique capacity to write about complex issues in a way that children can understand," said Rachel Polinar, a member of the chapter.

"His characters are those that any child, regardless of gender or ethnic background, can relate to because he doesn't write about boys or girls, he writes about creatures," she said.

Polinar pointed to The Sneetches as an example of Seuss's ability to address adult issues. In this case, the story dealt with the topic of prejudice.

Polinar also applauded Seuss for his artful writing style. Polinar said his rhyming stories encouraged children to use language.

Confidence Builder

Polinar recalled reading a Dr. Seuss story to a group of children who did not speak English very well. "The rhyming [of the story] gave them the confidence to talk," she said.

"They got so caught up in the rhyming words of the story that they spoke in rhymes for hours," she continued. "Seuss was so interested in helping children become literate."

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