THE ANNOTATED CAT: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats Published in Conjunction with The Cat in the Hat’s 50th Birthday


Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats



Introduction and Annotations by Philip Nel



Published in Conjunction with The Cat in the Hat’s 50th Birthday Celebration: 2007


The Cat in the Hat is one of today’s most iconic and beloved children’s book classics. Written fifty years ago in the era of “Dick and Jane,” Seuss’s unique and creative book revolutionized the children’s publishing world and forever changed the landscape of children’s literature in America. In Philip Nel’s THE ANNOTATED CAT: Under the Hat of Seuss and His Cats (Random House / on sale January 9, 2007 / $30.00 / 978-0-375-83369-4) readers get an in-depth look at the making of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back . Written by one of the world’s foremost Seuss scholars, THE ANNOTATED CAT offers readers a deeper and more complex appreciation of these two remarkable books and the man who wrote them.

In the mid 1950’s, many Americans were asking themselves: Why can’t Johnny read? In a Life magazine article, Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Hersey maintained that American children couldn’t read because their classroom primers were boring and “antiseptic”, and he challenged Dr. Seuss to write a story “first graders wouldn’t be able to put down.” And that’s just what Dr. Seuss did. In 1957, Random House published The Cat in the Hat and it revolutionized the way children learn to read.

In a November 1964 McCall’s interview, Seuss said that with The Cat in the Hat, he wanted to write a book that did not include any of the “old dull stuff like ‘Dick has a ball. Dick likes the ball. The ball is red, red, red.’” Just as the Cat arrives to rescue Sally and her brother from boredom when it was “Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball,” Seuss rescued American children from their boring Dick and Jane primers.

In addition to the complete text and art of both books, THE ANNOTATED CAT includes:

    An introduction by the author
  • Two original essays and a magazine story by Seuss
  • Draft material, including sketches
  • Archival photographs
  • Page-by-page annotations of both classics


Whether you dip, dally, or delve into THE ANNOTATED CAT you’ll discover:

  • Dr. Seuss wrote the book with a vocabulary of only 236 words!
  • When he began writing The Cat in the Hat, Seuss thought he could knock it off in a week or so…it took him a year and half.
  • Numerous anecdotes from Seuss himself about his philosophy of writing for children, how he came up with the book’s title, and even how the Cat’s tidying-up machine works.
  • The books operate on many levels: They teach reading, but they also teach about poetry, politics, ethics, comics, history and even con-artistry.


Random House Books for Young Readers is an imprint of the Random House Children’s Books division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG. Visit us on the Web at www.randomhouse.com/kids.