First Edition Dr. Seuss

Our first edition copy.

Our first edition copy.

One of the perks of owning a used and collectible bookstore is having the opportunity to interact with great books. Historically important books, books that inspire nostalgic wonder, visually stunning books… books that have a meaning beyond what lies between their covers. Today I’ll feature just one of these, recently acquired: a first edition of Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.

As we all know by now, Seuss went on to become one of the most popular and influential children’s authors of all time. His illustrations and his trademark style of verse are instantly recognizable, as are many of the creatures and contraptions from his stories. The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, Horton – these are all household names. And to think that it all started with one 32-page long book…

What many don’t know is that this book was not an instant hit. It was rejected for publication by dozens of publishers (the exact count is different depending who you ask). Seuss almost incinerated the manuscript.

The significance of this book (and other Seuss titles) has not gone unnoticed in the collecting world. First edition copies in the (scarce) original dust jacket often have asking prices in the mid-four-figure range. There is a bibliography entirely dedicated to identification of Seuss first editions — Younger & Hirsch’s ‘First Editions of Dr. Seuss Books: A Guide to Identification’ (which, by the way, is extremely detailed and helpful – I signed copy of it has a permanent spot in my reference library).

This story in particular is a great example of the power of the imagination. The story follows a young boy named Marco, and his fantastical depiction of a series of events taking place on Mulberry Street (named for a real street located near Seuss’s boyhood home in Springfield, Massachusetts). Seuss’s colorful illustrations draw us into a world that exists only in the mind of an imaginative, imaginary child. But the book allows that unreal world to live forever, because we can each remember it in our own way, and take it with us through our own lives, returning to it when we return to memories of our own childhoods. It is truly an amazing achievement, and a reminder of how powerful books can be.

View our online listing for this title here:

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street

or better yet, stop by the shop to see it!

Jonathan Smalter, Bookseller
President, Yesterday’s Muse Books
Vice President, IOBA
Sellers of fine books in all categories, with specialties in:
Castles & Military Fortifications; Dystopian Literature
32 W Main St Ste 1
Webster, NY 14580
Phone: (585) 265-9295

Published in: on June 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM  Leave a Comment  
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