Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat

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Andrews McMeel Publishing, Nov 13, 2012 - Art - 320 pages
17 Reviews
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.

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Review: Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

This was a really interesting book, the pictures were wonderful, and the man was fascinating. Made you feel happy when you read it, just like the kids books. Read full review

Review: Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat

User Review  - Jessica Bingham - Goodreads

Amazing book! His paintings and sculptures are beautiful! Read full review

About the author (2012)

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.

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