A Poem by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

"A Short Condensed Poem in Praise of Reader's Digest Condensed Books"

By Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

It has often been said
There's so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That's why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader's relief is.

And that's why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)

Today is the 111th anniversary of the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the US, many elementary schools will be celebrating the literary oeuvre of a man who wrote mainly nonsense. Though his storylines often lacked obvious purpose, he created characters that have engaged his readers for decades and led to a colorful silliness being passed on through several generations.

What American child has not read (or heard read) Green Eggs and Ham or would not recognize even the jaunty red and white striped hat of the cat in the hat? Or One Fish, Two Fish? A significant percentage of high school graduations, at least in the season when I went to a number of them, seemed to reference Oh, the Places You'll Go! Additionally, many of the scholarly tomes that I read, which otherwise lack any sort of a sense of humor, cite The Lorax as a viable inspiration for environmental ethics.

In any case, I offer this poem, which was printed on the dust jacket of Reader's Digest Condensed Books, for your entertainment in honor of Geisel's birthday.