|SEUSS, Dr. The Cat in the
Hat. New York: Random House, (1957). Tall octavo, original pictorial
unglazed boards, original pictorial dust jacket. $8500.
First edition, first issue (with
unlaminated boards) in rare first issue dust jacket (with
"200/200" price). The Cat in the Hat marks a turning
point in early children's readers, introducing a new genre of
educational primers that were fun and exciting as well as instructive to
Dr. Seuss's " next career turning point was in response to Rudolf Flesch’s book and John Hersey’s article, both entitled
' Why Johnny Can’t Read'; the premise for both article and book was that children’s books were boring. Hersey was outraged with the current primers, calling them
'antiseptic' and the children in them 'unnaturally clean.' He called for illustrations
'that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the
words,' and concluded that the work of artists like Geisel and Walt Disney would be more appropriate.
So in an unusual act of sharing an author, Houghton Mifflin and Random House asked Ted to write a children’s primer using 220 new-reader vocabulary words; the end result was
The Cat in the Hat. Houghton Mifflin reserved textbook rights and Random House reserved retail-trade rights. While schools were hesitant to adopt it as an official primer, children and parents swarmed for copies.
Though Ted’s road to children’s books had many twists and turns, The Cat in the Hat catapulted him from pioneer in children’s literature to definitive children’s book author-illustrator, a position he has held unofficially for many decades
since" (Seussville.com; Dr. Seuss Enterprises).
The Cat in the Hat, in fact,
was so successful that Random House created a special publishing
division, "Beginner Books," with The Cat in the Hat as the
logo and Dr. Suess as president. Book near-fine with light rubbing to
edges, rare dust jacket extremely bright and fresh with light rubbing to
spine ends and rear panel, and mild crease and small closed tear to
front panel. An exceptionally well-preserved copy of a book that is
usually found in poor condition.